Standing outside a former Buffalo drug house, Amherst's Republican Rep. Bill Paxon today promised pending legislation in Washington, D.C., would empower local communities to help win the war on drugs.
Paxon gathered at Mills and Sycamore streets with Rep. J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., chief sponsor of the legislation, and Deputy State Attorney General William Flynn to blast what they said is the Clinton administration's failure at combating drugs and to draw attention to the proposed changes in drug laws.
"Washington does not have the solutions. The solutions are in the local communities, and Amherst's needs are different than those in Buffalo," said Paxon.
The proposed legislation would provide direct infusions of federal cash to local community groups and police battling drugs, establish annual, incremental goals of cutting drug use in half by 2001. They also would give the nation's drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, greater flexibility to unify anti-drug strategies among different government agencies.
"We lose 20,000 people a year to drugs on street corners much like this," Hastert said. "This bill gives tools to the drug czar to make him accountable, and we're going to get bang for the buck from him because if you can't do the job, we'll get someone who can."
Salvatore Incardona, owner of the former drug house, removed the tenants three months ago after police told him people were using the location for drug-related activity.
"It's good to get money, but that isn't the answer. People in the neighborhood, landlords, Mayor Masiello and (Fillmore) Councilman (David A.) Franczyk need to get together to find out the real truth and come to a solution," Incardona said.
He said that he was glad to cooperate with authorities but that he has been left with a boarded-up, vacant building that youths are breaking into.
"They've stolen the plumbing fixtures, rugs and hot water heater," he said.
Blame for the drug trade in that section of the city was placed with the Mills Street Gang, according to area residents who listened to Paxon.
Hastert said, "Drugs stop when the community says no."
Paxon, in pounding Clinton's efforts to halt drug use, said:
"He recently spoke to young Americans on MTV for an hour, and not once did he mention drugs, and that's unthinkable."