4/28/2005

Revitalize Buffalo...Today for Tomorrow!

*New*
Alan over at Buffalo Pundit writes about the meeting, too...

Tonite at the Delaware Park Casino, Amy Maxwell and Megan Weaver, two of Buffalo's most inspiring über-community leaders and organizers of Revitalize Buffalo, led a group of about 100 people who gathered to continue charting the course of Buffalo's broad based cultural and economic revitalization.

The meeting began with a fascinating round where everyone had an opportunity to introduce themselves. We were reminded by another über-community activist, Harvey Garrett, that we can't talk our way out of this mess that we find ourselves in. He said he would stay involved with the organization as long as there were concrete results being produced. Amy Maxwell reviewed a number of accomplishments that the organization has just completed. We broke into small working groups after the meeting was over and discussed a wide range of issues.

I led a small group after the meeting ended about Buffalo's east-side, historic property and the problems presented by abandonded, boarded, derelict and vacant houses. We've decided to meet, photo-document and set up small tours so people can become more familiar with this, the other-side, of Main Street.

Tonite I met an inspiring group of people and learned a few things about this community, too. A block away, Jennifer runs the Bristol Home. Make sure to check it out. I drive and walk by it everyday and first learned about it tonite...duh! Two other people, Michelle and Carey, in my working group, just started a business researching and documenting the architectural history of property here in Buffalo. I'll make sure to spread the good word as I learn more about their business.

Another Buffalo Blogger and Attorney, Alan Bedenko, was at my table tonite. He runs the phenomenally successful, Buffalo Pundit, which I now have good reason to link to. Judy Einach, who is running for Mayor with the Primary Challenge endorsement, did a fantastic job of being in two places at once and was at the Casino tonite talking with people as they first arrived. Check out her website Judy4Mayor.org to learn more about her positions and strategy for winning the Mayor's Office in November.

12 comments:

Amy Maxwell said...

I went online this morning to check out your blog and I have a few things
I wanted to share with you. I do appreciate that you wanted to stress the
fact that there were quite a few people there. However saying there were
250 people there when clearly there were closer to 100 people is a gross
misrepresentation. Also, it should be noted that Judy Einach was there to
meet me, not there to meet people in the group. And she left almost as
quickly as she arrived. As I mentioned during the meeting last night, we
are not just nonpartisan; we are apolitical and it's very important for
people to know that. Getting involved with politicians on any level as a
group gets too sticky, so we aren't going to do that. Not to say that
individuals from the group can't support a candidate one way or another,
but as Revitalize Buffalo, we won't support candidates for any political
office. We're happy to sit down and talk with them...as citizens
concerned about Buffalo and the region.

fix buffalo said...

Made the number change...I've heard from others in attendance already who said it felt like there were twice as many people in the room...so much energy. I really appreciate the "no-endorsement" and "a-political" orientation of your organization, Amy. I think it will really help Buffalo move forward. Talk to you soon...

Amy Maxwell said...

Thanks for making the number change...how about changing the part about Judy Einach? I mean yes she was there, but her talking to people was merely coincidental and if you note she was there, you need to note that probable mayoral candidate Steve Calvaneso was also there for part of the meeting as well.

Jen(nifer) said...

Did someone say that Revitilize Buffalo was supporting a certain candidate? I am confused...I thought this post was just talking about people at a meeting for a group that he happens to be a member of...not endorsing anyone...

bella200 said...

I meant to be a part of this meeting myself but I had another meeting to attend. It doesn't make any difference whether there were 100 or 200 people; the important fact is there were more than the usuual 10 or 20 other groups turn out who want to do what is needed to restore our city. If a political candidate was there, that speaks well of both the group that organized the event and the candidate. It would be dishonest if the blogger met the candidate and mentioned other people he met, not to mention that candidate as well. A mention does not constitute an endorsement. I am so glad to hear about the Bristol Home. Years ago our friend's mother happily resided there. So I for one am grateful to have read about who you saw at the meeting.

Megan Weaver said...

Thanks for the comments - I'd like RB to be known as an organization that attracts a large number of involved people - but I'd rather our progress be represented accurately - and I want to be noticed for that number then, not prematurely.

thanks!

David Goehrig said...

As one of a number of entrepeneurs to attend the meeting last night, I saw some good things and some not so good things. I think the inflated turnout due to the UB student population will ultimately prove to be little boon. Maybe a handful will get involved, maybe not. In the end the numbers don't matter. What really impressed me more were the number of small business men who attended. While artists and teachers always seem to take center stage, these are people who build the city day by day, and who took time out to see what more they can do. Creating business, generating growth, investing capital into the city is vital to revitalizing the area. In my own struggles, I'm trying to bring 22 new jobs and $2-5 million in investment to the area in the next few years. But I did not get the feeling that RB in its very grass roots impatience and constant call to action has a place for me. I don't feel RB will be able to successfully capitalize upon the business involvement if the focus remains exclusively on a-political immediate activities, without taking a more long term view. I've contributed heavily to the development of Linux and the Free Software Movement, I know that individuals taking charge of their own destinies and scratching their own itch results in the most successful projects. But there are a range of levels of involvement that can be sustained, and must be catered to, for a community to grow and succeed as an organism. I left with the sense that a great opportunity to get some real work done and dialogue started was actually lost, when the doers who kept silent all evening left.

fix buffalo said...

David...I've heard the same thing from a number of other biz-people who attended, too. Perhaps we'll hear from RB regarding some more concrete proposals in the very near future. I'll keep track of things as I see them right here. Your comments about the UB students are probably correct.

Bella200...thanks, I'm not objective by any measure and most often I rely on others to be able to arrive at their own opinions...ah, thinking for ourselves!

Jennifer...bingo!

Anonymous said...

Here is a question to consider when formulating a revitalization plan: Do you hold the highest respect for the oppinions of
1)People who live there now.
2)People who have lived there before and why did they leave.
3)People who are interested in returning.
OR
People who do not fall into any of the above catagories, yet insist in formulating strong ideas based on hearsay, propaganda, and a desire to just 'be involved'?

I am sorry to inform some well intentioned 'do gooders', that unless they take into consideration the individuals who actually have something to lose when a neighborhood declines, their true intentions become apparent. Urban revitalization shouldn't be the hot new charity for neo-yuppies searching for a sense of purpose! All human beings act on their self intrests, and in this situation, the intrests of homeowners and residents should be served, NOT the grandiose egos of 'altruistic cannibals' feeding off the cause of architectural preservation.

Megan Weaver said...

Could you elaborate on the 'neo yuppies/grandiose egos' concept?

fix buffalo said...

To "Here is a question to consider"...if 1000 people move down-town to cool lofts spaces and 10,000 people leave Buffalo, where's the trend? I got involved in blogging my neighborhood in large part because of my concern with my own property values. I've seen positive changes in-linking people together here in the 'hood to get things done.

Judy Einach said...

It was not my intention to become a bone of contention, even slightly, when I came to RB meeting. I planned on coming just to listen, and originally I planned to stay the whole time. Unfortunately another meeting came up that I was required to attend. I couldn't get out of it. It also began at 7. I wrote an email to Amy, asked for a few minutes of her time, which she gave me. We set a meeting time to get together so she could bring me current on issues and perspectives coming up at RB meetings. She informed me the group would make no endorsements, but I never asked for one. I didn't come to seek an endorsement. Before I left, I spoke with a few people who came early to the meeting and were sitting inside. Outside I spoke with people who were coming in. I spent about a half hour talking with folks. I heard great ideas. I wanted to stay and hear more. I didn't care that I was late for the meeting I had to attend. I'm glad another candidate showed up. I have no idea what that person's motives were for coming. Mine was to listen and to meet people. I was very impressed by the quality of ideas and the passion for the City that I heard. From my perspective, being a candidate isn't all about spouting my point of view. In fact, it's more about listening to other people's points of view and integrating what I hear into my own thinking about how to make City govt work for us. I hope I will be welcome at future meeting.
Judy