The locals covered last night's Ostrowski association meeting, and it seemed like a bitchfest. I wasn't there, so I don't know how accurate my impression is, but it seemed like a bunch of people got together to rail against their pet peeves. What stuck out in my mind was the one guy who was all pissed off and hating on the electronic signs that the Thruway has put up to warn of traffic problems and emergencies. I don't really see that as government waste; I find those to be quite helpful. One helped me avoid traffic on the 33 just this morning, alerting me to trouble at Eggert. The only waste is that they don't use them to give you border crossing times during tourist season. I also disagree strongly - very strongly - with what Channel 4 reported to be freebuffalo's job #1: stopping Bass Pro from coming downtown. Sorry, but Bass Pro is a good thing; an Aud that receives public money to renovate to attract a tenant is better than a mothballed Aud sitting there doing nothing for anyone. We're also getting a new transportation terminus, a parking structure, a museum, a hotel, and an anchor for future downtown development. Not for nothing that a group of investors announced plans in the Cobblestone District just days after the Bass Pro deal was announced. The 300,000 SF Bass Pro in Springfield, MO is that state's largest tourist draw. That's nothing to sneeze at. The Bass Pro in the Aud will be the 3rd largest, and be about 280,000 SF. And there are other Bass Pros in Missouri, including one in Branson. I do agree, however, with Joe Golombek, who's afraid that Bass Pro is cutting a better (sweetheart) deal in Buffalo than it gets elsewhere; payments in lieu of taxes or a ground rent don't seem wholly off-base to me. The other thing that bugs me about Ostrowski and his group is what I perceive to be an underlying hostility; it's not love of Buffalo that's bringing them together, but hatred of taxes and politicians.

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