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The State of the City Address

I attended Mayor Byron Brown’s State of the City speech yesterday, and I thought it was reasonably good, as these things go. Whenever I hear the mayor speak, I am reminded how much better a face he puts on Buffalo than did Tony Masiello. Masiello, whatever his other virtues and failures, was not a great speaker. The first time I attended a Buffalo mayor’s State of the City address, Masiello opened by saying, “You know, I travel all round this country representing this city” and shoulders sagged despondently throughout the Harbour Club.

Brown, by comparison, makes us look good, so long as you don’t look too closely. I note that he is still claiming $4.3 billion in investment in the City of Buffalo, despite that April Buffalo News piece by Jim Heaney that deflated that number substantially. (I can’t find the link, but Heaney winnowed out the chaff and came up with $1.5 billion, of which $1 billion is publicly subsidized.) That $4.3 billion is puffery, and I wish he’d just be proud of the projects that are actually underway or completed, whether with public or private money, rather than include stalled and tentative products among his boasts. And I wish he wouldn’t claim so much of the credit for reaching a settlement on the Hickory Woods disaster, and for reclaiming the Broadway Market from its dysfunctional board. But I guess this was essentially a campaign speech, a running start at the coming Democratic primary against South District Councilmember Mickey Kearns, so what the hell.

I do grant the mayor this: His pride in running tight budgets is justified. The control board has helped his administration in this regard, but I don’t mind if the mayor crows about running regular surpluses and stashing money away in his rainy day fund. He should crow.

His closing left me curious:

“And to those who try to impede our progress, we will not be turned back, we will not be stopped, we will not be discouraged in our mission to keep moving our great city forward.”

To whom is this directed? Does the mayor believe that there is someone trying to sabotage the City of Buffalo? Is there someone he suspects of wishing our city ill? Is he talking about his political opponents?

ADDENDUM: I sat through the speech with attorney Peter Reese, who has a problem with the State of the City speech being a fundraiser for a private nonprofit that’s run out of City Hall. Reese was less satisfied with Brown’s speech than I. In response to Brown’s job-creation promises, especially those tied to the UB 2020 plans and investment in the medical corridor, Reese said, “I’m wondering if he lives in the same city as I do.”

You can get an official copy of Mayor Brown’s speech by clicking here.

  • Peter A Reese

    A whole room full of suits, everyone a patronage receiver or seeker! No wonder there is never any progress in Buffalo! Happy days are here again! No crime. Incredible progress. Balanced budgets. Promises of so many high paying jobs we will be short of people to fill them! Just like we have been hearing for the last forty years. No wonder the speech sounded so familiar. Must be boilerplate from the chamber of commerce (Partnership). But if you don’t have a job now, forget it. These new jobs are for young PhDs and MBAs who will be moving here from California. And of course they will live at Spaulding Lake. I wonder if anyone ever thought of using our economic development tax dollars to help people who live here now?

  • WNYmind

    I can’t wait to go to Bass Pro and buy a new fishing pole. I will drive out to Spaulding Lake and fish for some dinner. Maybe I’ll run into some of those MBAs from California and ask them why they moved to Buffalo and how they like paying the higher taxes here.

    I am kidding obviously. There are no MBAs in Buffalo from California, or anywhere else worth living in. It’s more likely the MBAs will be from UB or some other rustbelt school. I am pretty sure they will tell me that they are in Buffalo because they love the Bills, wings, or have a sick relative they want to be near.

    Oh who am I kidding. I won’t run into any new MBAs out at Spaulding Lake, or any other place in Buffalo. MBAs are usually too smart and in too high demand to live in a place like Buffalo. I will probably run into a pizza store owner or a lawyer who opted to pursue a career in local politics over actually practicing the law out there.

    I may also run into someone who lives in one of the mobile home parks near Spaulding lake. You know, one of those people who left Buffalo for a better life and better quality housing. I will shake their hands and offer my praise for making the right choice.

  • Sean Danvers

    Boy, racist shitbag Joe Mascia being praised by nutcase drunk Matthew Ricchiazzi. Tick tick tick Artvoice, your credibility is approaching cockroach excrement levels.