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Of bridges and campaign promises

Here we go again. After months of speculation about a bridge design that would be recommended by a design jury, a concept appeared to satisfy most of those involved -- but then the federal government said that the favored bridge would not get its approval. The soaring cable-stayed bridge favored by the bridge jury was, in the opinion of the Federal Highway Administration, a potential threat to migratory birds flying along the Niagara River and to the terns that nest on an outer breakwater in the Buffalo Harbor.
So much for the many months of deliberations by the 32 jury members who recommended the concept from about three dozen ideas initially looked at in 2005.

Now the big question is how we proceed from here. Eventually, and hopefully sooner, a final decision is to be made that will meet with the approval of the oversight federal agency.

The FHA said its ruling still left the bridge authority with three options previously studied by the design jury. Now, at least, the design jury that will be studying its next recommendation is aware of what will meet federal standards. It is most unfortunate that it did not have that information months ago.

The highway administration has suggested that the original bridge design jury be reconvened for its views of what should be done next to expedite what has already been an overly long decision process.

I, and I am certain many others, just want a final decision on what kind of bridge should be built. We are anxious for some final and well accepted decisions to be made shortly, without any further prolonged delays.

Having expressed my opinion on one long-festering sore in the community, I want to briefly allude to some other areas that greatly annoy me and many other observers of the local political process.

Most of my readers, I am certain, would agree with me that those aspiring to political office should be more truthful in their advertising. I have been tracking their print and TV ads carefully for months now and have not found one candidate who will admit that he or she cannot single-handedly accomplish what he or she promises in his or her propaganda.

The fact is that no legislature candidates can deliver on their promises without support from the legislative bodies to which they are elected. One vote will never do the trick. It takes a body of support to make any significant change in taxes, or other significant moves.

Why can't these candidates admit that they will be advocates for this or that instead of saying that a vote for them will result in the changes they support? It is a simple thing to do and it is the honest approach. Truth in advertising does not seem to be in vogue these days.

Most noticeably, candidates for the state Assembly and/or the state Senate make brash promises that they will not be able to deliver on their own. I would rather support an honest candidate who would admit that he or she would support a particular policy and give his or her reasons for that position.

I am not a newcomer to the world of politics, having been involved for many years in endorsements as the editor of The Buffalo News. I have never run for public office nor have I ever registered for any political party. However, having said that, I admit to a partiality for an honest, above-board approach by all the candidates for political office, no matter which party the candidate swears allegiance to. I am still naive enough to adhere to the premise that honesty is the best policy for any candidate for any public office. Those who make pledges in their campaigns for office but fail to deliver when elected should be punished at the next election cycle, and fall by the wayside.

Murray B. Light is the former editor of The Buffalo News

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