2009 Forum Series

Partnership for the Public Good

2009 Tuesday Forum Series

Forums take place from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Cornell ILR School,

237 Main St. (Main-Seneca Building)

Suite 1200

PPG Tuesday Forums are open to the public and free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required.  Register by emailing ppgbuffalo@gmail.com at least three days before the event.

February 17 Restoring Fairness to New York’s Taxes

Moderator: William O’Connell, Homeless Alliance of WNY.

March 17 Subsidy Reform

Moderator: Allison Duwe, Coalition for Economic Justice

April 21 Green Collar Jobs

Moderator: Aaron Bartley, People United for Sustainable Housing

May 19 Real Welfare Reform: The Role of Education

Moderator: William O’Connell, Homeless Alliance of WNY

June 16 The Role of Hip Hop Culture in Working with Youth

Moderator: Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Ujima Company

July 21 Regional Efficiencies: Planning Board, Assessment Merger, and Other Real Options

Moderator: Anthony Armstrong, LISC-Buffalo

August 18 Erie Canal Redevelopment: How Will the Community Benefit?

Moderator: Allison Duwe, Coalition for Economic Justice

September 15 Collective Bargaining with Municipal Unions

Moderator: Lou Jean Fleron, Cornell University ILR School

October 20 Investing in Public Transit

Moderator: Anthony Armstrong, LISC-Buffalo

November 17 Block by Block Revitalization

Moderator: Aaron Bartley, People United for Sustainable Housing

December 15 Limited English Proficiency Rights: What the Law Requires

Moderator: Sam Magavern, University at Buffalo Law School

4 responses to “2009 Forum Series

  1. joe schmidbauer

    I recently attended a forum presented by the Partnership for the Public Good on Subsidy Reform. I am writing as a long time supporter of Coalition for Economic Justice to express my disappointment and anger over the structure and content of the forum.

    I was shocked that former Deputy County Executive Bruce Fisher and Jim Allen, the former head of the Amherst IDA were on the panel to discuss subsidy (IDA) reform. Allen and Fischer went unchallenged in their presentation of revisionist history and dominated the panel discussion by making self-serving false references to their past record of government reform and economic development. Their presence and presentation is enough for me to question the intent of this forum and the integrity of the Partnership for the Public Good.

    Jim Allen as executive director of the Amherst IDA was the supreme predator and raider of local businesses from Buffalo and other communities. Allen drove the hardest pro-sprawl policy in the state of New York. Allen and the Amherst IDA policies became the poster child for uncontrolled subsidies, to the point that New York State Assembly called for IDA reform. The tax crisis now being experienced in Amherst is a direct result of Allen’s subsidy policies.

    Deputy County Executive Mr. Fisher is the creator of the famous green budget vs. the red budget crisis that resulted in the near collapse of Erie county government. It was a politically created economic crisis that reads like a chapter out Ms. Klein’s Shock Doctrine. The republican agenda of cutting of libraries, seniors’ services, transportation, and breaking unions all become manifested and resulted in a control board appointed by a republican governor. The crisis (championed by Mr. Fischer) lead to the creation of the “private-public partnership” that has resulted in a $400,000,000 public investment of ECMC into being privatized as well as the closing of ECMC clinics on the eastside.

    Mr. James Heaney made some effort through his work at the Buffalo News, to try to balance the historic role of IDA and subsidies in WNY and role of the elites. He was all but ignored. This brings me to the question, is PPG so ignorant and lacking in understanding of what has transpired in this community over the past thirty years?

    Neither of these men has demonstrated in their public life that they have anything real or honest to say about reform. They have much to say about failed economic development based on “tax (cuts) reform,” corporate welfare, private-public partnerships, cutting social programs, and running government like a (for) business.

    They both have been working hard to distant themselves from their past record in public service and rehabilitate their reputations. This forum seemed to have served that function.

    The most troubling aspect of this forum was the unquestioning acceptance of the Reaganite economic models as reform on the part of the panelists and many of the attendees. The privatization of social capital for private job creation was consistently referenced without any regard to social investment and social pay back. The public university (which is in a budgetary crisis because of under public investment) was seen as a private resource to exploit. The very foundation of the past twenty-five years of “economic development model” is based on extraction of social investment and social capital through privatization, de-regulation and appropriation. The present economic crisis is a direct outgrowth of these economic policies. Clearly the city of Buffalo and the region has been a victim of these policies.

    There was a disappointing lack of discussion of the diverse economic models that are developing around the country and the world. The panel had an apologetic attitude that the naming, names and understanding of past policies (making people and institutions accountable) were obstacles to local economic recovery and reform.

    There was nothing visionary or progressive about this forum.

    I think PPG desperately needs to reflect on its intent and purpose as a “progressive” think tank. Its mission is progressive but at present it clearly lacks the intellectual capital to look at the power structure and power relations that dominant this community (both on the macro level as well as the micro) to develop a serious critique and analysis for local change. A major obstacle is that the historic record is seen through the perceptive of the corporate elites and their allies who dominant this community and the local media (including Artvoice).

    The progressive (people’s) record that stands in opposition has not been constructed and written. It is a narrative when written that will lay out the directions for social action and change.

    P. S.

    I having been a supporter of CEJ since its founding I found it painful that CEJ was a sponsor. It reflected institutional memory loss as to the root cause for its creation. The Coalition of Economic Justice was founded by Rev. Beck as a religious- community based response to Trico moving to Mexico and the massive economic disinvestment that followed corporate welfare and IDAs.

    js

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