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Influence Survey: Dana Saylor-Furman on City Living

For this week’s cover story, we polled a number of local folks about positive and negative influences in our region—people, ideas, circumstances. In the days to come, we’ll publish the responses we received in full here. 

Here’s what artist and history researcher Dana Saylor-Furman has to say:

1. What people/ideas/circumstances do you consider positive influences in this region?

PEOPLE: Those who are well-informed about various political and social situations, and who get actively involved, trying to lead by example and ensure true community participation and buy-in. Also, young educated people moving in from outside the area, who know what they want in an urban environment (dense, walkable, intact historic neighborhoods; access to public transportation; living near where they work). IDEAS: Those that interpret and synthesize the successes of other small cities. Those that see our potential and are willing to bet on it. Historic preservation AS economic development and a driver of heritage tourism.

2. What people/ideas/circumstances do you consider negative influences in this region?

PEOPLE: Those who do not live in the City and speak as though they know what’s best for those within its bounds, without getting out of their car and walking around/talking to neighbors. Those who claim to be “all for preservation” though they often don’t take the time to fully educate themselves on the complexities of each situation, and use their position of influence to reinforce age-old stereotypes that continue to hurt our region.

IDEAS: The idea that we, as citizens, do not now, and will never have a voice.

3. What people/ideas/circumstances do you think ought to be more influential in this region?

People of color, and hard-working neighborhood residents who are too busy living paycheck-to-paycheck to pay attention to the complexities of economic development projects, waterfront initiatives, preservation issues, etc. THEY should be the people whose opinions the boards, councils, and authorities listen to. Because they’re the backbone of this city and always have been.


  • I stop at this web site once every few months. I see that’s its still on life support. What is “YAK”? Why is the Oscar Pics a featured story months after its over? I think you should pronouce this zombie web site dead.

  • Know Saint

    Is there still hope for Steve Casey in the future of Artvoice??? Greg Olma, Bruce Fisher and Paul Wolf all had more political patronage jobs than God knows how many politicians, now they are reinvented here as some kind of good government wonks decrying the status quo. Say what? Fisher drove the county into near bankruptcy after blowing close to a BILLION dollars of taxpayer money with his pal Joel Giambra, and the others were not saintly by anyone’s assessment, with Olma filing lawsuit after lawsuit grabbing local government money. Sounds to me like you are all just a bit pissed because the Buffalo News did not send you their questions. Funny.

    • Know Saint

      Sorry, one more thing: Didn’t these three guys already have a chance in high level government positions???? Not to say they can’t try again, but they come off as righteous when in fact they are anything but.