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Influence Survey: An Anonymous Response

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 one of our anonymous respondents has to say:

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

— Stephanie Simeon, Executive Director at Heart of the City Neighborhoods. I can’t count the number of people, especially young professional women, who rely on Stephanie’s example, advice, and encouragement. Stephanie is ego-less, and a quickly becoming a leader of leaders.

— Barbara Rowe and Peter Sowiski, who, in addition to being inspiring artists and local business owners, are quietly transforming their Niagara Street neighborhood into an exciting place to visit, work, and live. While organizing their neighbors and government reps to get involved in upper Niagara Street’s revitalization, they also invest their own money and sweat-equity, and take risks before asking anyone else to do so.

— Prish Moran because she can’t meet a person without making them feel a part of something larger. She has a great way of making connections.She values young people and artists, and it’s great. Oh, and she has brought a lot of life to two city corners in need of it.

— Justin Booth, whose mission is really very simple: paint some damn bike lanes. He has encountered tremendous resistance to his cause but he always handles it with grace and tact. And he’s been successful to boot. He is the go-to person for bike/ped transportation and City, County, and State transportation officials rely on his expertise and vision.

— Erin Heaney and the rest of the team at the Clean Air Coalition. In a few short years they’ve brought attention to several major health WNY crises, and they’ve brought powerful people in government and business to the table with empowered, battle-ready citizens.

— The Block Club kids. I’m not friends with any of them personally and was fairly skeptical about that magazine when it first came out but now I find myself interested in their work and admiring their style.

— Partnership for the Public Good

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

— Mayor Byron Brown and his deputy, Steve Casey. They aren’t the first but they may be the worst in Buffalo’s long history of “Us vs. Them” politics.

— Projects like the Peace Bridge expansion or natural gas drilling of the Marcellus Shale, which prioritize short-term financial gains and political capital over long-term public health and community livelihood.

— Governor 1%

— unaccountable public authorities

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

— Sarah Bishop and the movement for local, living economies

— Partnership for the Public Good