In the current issue of Artvoice, notable locals give their predictions for 2012. I blew the deadline, but I found my predictions from last year, and thought now would be a good time to review them.
In 2011, nothing will change significantly.
• As in every year, Buffalo and Western New York will take two leaps backwards for every tentative step forwards—in all things. Incremental change (or more accurately, window dressing that masquerades as change) will take place here and there as the community’s attention turns to unproductive arguments over the Peace Bridge, the inner and outer harbors, casinos, and other longtime development projects.
• Chris Collins will rudely run roughshod over friend and foe alike in his re-election campaign, and a Democratic challenger will be far more competitive than in 2007. The Legislature will be downsized, and Collins will attempt to dictate the outcome.
• As Carl Paladino’s 15 minutes of fame elongates like Stretch Armstrong’s appendages, he will attempt to generate political buzz every few months by insulting people. A compliant local media will transcribe his every vendetta-fueled outburst and treat it as “news,” whilst asking its readers to weigh in through idiotic online polls. However, without Michael Caputo in charge of messaging, “clever” will be replaced by “disturbing.”
• In late 2011, the Erie County Legislature will again turn into a three-ringed circus whereby local cultural organizations do battle with Republicans over 0.1 percent of the total budget.
• The Statler will become a flashpoint for a civic discussion (re: blood feud) regarding buildings that have outlived their current usefulness, are historically significant, but unreasonably expensive to do anything with. This will become particularly acute when the preservationist conference comes to the renovated-but-still-just-awful Convention Center.
The last two didn’t exactly turn out that way, as Mark Croce pulled together an investment group to save the Statler and begin what appear to be earnest redevelopment efforts, and the 2012 budget didn’t become a circus because Collins lost and let Poloncarz step in with his priorities for funding. The preservationist conference gave Buffalo a boost of self-congratulation, as the local nostalgia industry continues apace.
Other than that, it was pretty damn spot-on.