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WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE SO AFRAID OF CHANGE?

I have always been a proponent of Buffalo. I grew up in Lancaster, spent a few years living in South Buffalo and now live in West Seneca, four minutes away from the city line. Each week I spend over half my time and my money in the city. I love the rich diversity of people and cultures of the city. There is much to do and much to experience in Buffalo.

However, I am beginning to see a disturbing pattern emerge. It seems to me that whenever a unique idea or "vision" is presented to help enhance the area, it is stomped underfoot. Two examples will suffice.

The Peace Bridge debate, although not under jurisdiction of the city itself, seems to be focusing on the mundane rather than the spectacular, which would put this area on the map. And the Buffalo Zoo's plan to relocate has been squelched by a handful of shortsighted nay-sayers who are more concerned about their own little world rather than the community as a whole.

There are many more projects that have fallen by the wayside over the last few years due to lack of vision or fear of the what ifs -- what if it costs too much, what if it doesn't pay off, what if I don't get re-elected.

There seems to be no one left who is willing to take a "leap of faith" when it comes to being innovative. We are all too busy protecting our own turf, looking at what we might lose. And because of that, we all lose. Many people have left Western New York because the future looks dim.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Chicago to take our son to college. Their waterfront is amazing -- it is developing and thriving. There are things to do in the city day and night. It is a city with a vision and a future. It is not afraid of trying something new.

There are many cities around the Great Lakes that have succeeded in reviving themselves. Many living here are tempted to leave because the grass looks greener. I'm afraid that in this case, it probably is.

MARK SCHNITZER

West Seneca

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