by Pat Freeman
The last thirty years, in this country we have seen a collapse of respected leadership among us. Our neighborhoods, which were once self-sufficient economically, have grown dependent on foreign investment as a way of generating economic growth. There was a time when it was not unusual to see businesses operating, and maintaining themselves in our community. Respect for one another permeated our actions, and our thoughts, which would galvanize against the evil of injustice. It appears to me that a sense of integrity has been lost in the meeting room and replaced with back-room negotiations that sell to the masses the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our organizations have become major contributors to mandate reciprocity of one another rather than major donors to causes, and groups, which were founded on the basic principals of standing up for the oppressed. Instead, we have allowed the outside world into our deliberations an abandoned those very principles of moral balance and integrity. This is why there are no united fronts on issues which we once had during the 60’s and 70’s at a time when justice for all was a way of life, and not a luxury. The greatest issue in this nation today is the disenfranchisement of the rights of ordinary citizens by organized wealthy political contributors who use their financial leverage to gain appointments to boards, committees, and authorities. Once gaining these positions they then manipulate policies in their favor, which in many times conflicts with those we have elected to represent us. This has become the strategy of wealthy investors who now target regions and set their sites on maintaining, and creating more wealth by tax dollars, programs, and subsidies into their coffers. My question is why has there not been a unified effort from so-called people of leadership against this practice? The purchase of leadership is one reason why you here none of your traditional organizations even mention this issue, and if you check closely most of them are accepting money from manipulative individuals who use foundations as a modern technique to launder money to organizations, or causes for strategic influence over the masses. Forgotten in these techniques of corruption are those trapped in the grips of poverty? These individuals are not Republican or Democrat for they are looking for the side that will due their bidding and help them influence socio- economic policy.
In closing it is time for all of our leaders and citizens to make a principle stand against the disenfranchisement of democracy, and the political process by the creation of appointed authorities, committees, and boards. These appointed entities are filled with payback appointments, which have been manipulated by wealthy political contributors who now wield more power than elected officials, and circumvent the democratic authority of our elected representatives. Here in the City of Buffalo the elected body of the Buffalo Common Council has unanimously voted on a resolution supporting granting a land option to the Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex for the purpose of developing a world class stadium and entertainment cultural complex on the outer harbor land site. The GBSEC when submitting their proposal for this 9-12 month option also offered $500,000 in their proposal to the current deed holders the appointed Niagara Frontier Transit Authority. The appointed chairman and Executive Director of this Authority immediately rejected this proposal without it being deliberated on its benefits for the Western New York community stating that they are dedicated to maintaining public access. This act by an appointed authority is the perfect example of an erosion of democracy before our very eyes. How can the elected body of all of the City of Buffalo unanimously pass a policy on a piece of property that lies in the City of Buffalo, and it’s rejected by a group of appointees who were selected, not elected?
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