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War and Peace Bridge0421wklyrejected

Striking Back

Tired of Truck Commerce Propagandists in sheep’s clothing peddling their poison as progress; advancing their interests while ignoring or denying the real toll they have on the health and welfare of affected citizens?

So are we. 

And that’s what prompted a rapid response from real authorities on the subject of Peace Bridge expansion; those who know true progress includes us all–not the select few.

Residents near bridge must be top priority

Stopping the Spin

Thousands of West Side residents’ lives (and deaths) are tied to truck commerce on the Peace Bridge. It’s time to put the health and welfare of our region’s poorest residents at the forefront of this discussion.

The salvo fired against ‘Poseurs for Progress at the Peace Bridge’: first this letter in the Buffalo News from Joseph Gardella, SUNY Distinguished Professor and John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry, University at Buffalo, SUNY; as well as Director, Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP) with Buffalo Public Schools.0421wklytruth

Here it is in full:
W.T. “Bill” McKibben’s Viewpoints article, “Time to call a truce: Let’s resolve issues so Peace Bridge can continue to play leading role in our region’s economy,” has no real proposals to achieve the goal set in the headline. He begins by making unsubstantiated claims about the economic impacts of increased truck traffic. He has no qualifications for what he then recites: a set of exaggerated claims from a flawed 2012 State Department of Transportation report on science and health impacts.

The unsigned report was not peer-reviewed and is not, as McKibben described it, a study. The report provides no new data. Instead, it selectively cherry-picked information to support a chosen conclusion that there are no health impacts, or that health impacts will disappear in the future. Nowhere in the report is any reference to the environmental justice implications of the Peace Bridge environmental health impacts, the focus of federal consideration recently reported in The News. The report has been discredited by all involved scientists and medical professionals in the area, including Dr. Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, whose federally funded and peer-reviewed papers were misrepresented in the report.

McKibben is not calling for a truce, he’s calling for one part of the community to surrender.

If we are to have an honest conversation to “resolve issues” from the impact of Peace Bridge renovation and expansion of trucking through neighborhoods that bear the brunt of associated health problems, then we must propose efforts to protect the neighboring residents. There are simple steps that have been avoided by state agencies, some elected leaders and the Peace Bridge Authority. Acknowledge the reality of financial, environmental and health impacts. Consult and work with the affected community to develop a plan to protect them.

‘Study’ was meant to disguise asthma problems caused by Peace Bridge traffic

Stopping the Spin (Part II)

Another flank defended in the counter attack with this Buffalo News op-editorial from yet another informed authority, William L. Scheider, PhD., environmental health scientist and educator.021_wklybridge

Again, here is is in its entirety:
The Peace Bridge article in the April 13 Viewpoints section calls to mind the archer who claimed a bull’s-eye, but shot the arrow first and then painted a target around it. The “study” referred to was not a study, but a selective compilation of information designed to obscure the impact of Peace Bridge traffic, especially diesel trucks, on the health of residents in nearby neighborhoods.
Scientific studies conducted by local asthma doctor and researcher Dr. Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa build a strong case for a link between Peace Bridge traffic and asthma prevalence on the Lower West Side. A survey of 2,000 randomly selected households found that the odds of having at least one person with asthma per household on Buffalo’s West Side was 2.57 times that of Buffalo’s East Side. This relationship persisted even after taking into account race, household triggers of asthma and socioeconomic factors. Another study of emergency room utilization and hospital discharges due to asthma found that “current traffic levels not only contribute to asthma and other respiratory disease exacerbation but may also contribute to high asthma prevalence on Buffalo’s West Side in comparison with other Buffalo communities.”

A comprehensive study of vehicle emissions funded by the Health Effects Institute concluded that, “The Peace Bridge plaza and the adjacent neighborhood represent a classic mobile-source hot spot.” Although an HEI review panel challenged this conclusion by comparing Buffalo’s West Side with cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Houston, doing so is like saying a person who drinks a quart of whiskey every day does not have a drinking problem because there are people who drink two quarts a day.

The article cites economic benefits of truck traffic. This cuts to the core of the Peace Bridge issue: Benefits arising from the bridge and proposed plaza expansion accrue to people who live far from the Lower West Side, while residents of the area suffer the health risks and lower quality of life from bridge traffic. Gaining a voice for residents in the plaza planning process has been an uphill battle, and residents’ concerns are usually dismissed or ignored.0421wklydiesel

Viable alternatives include diverting some truck traffic to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and enhancing traffic flow by increasing the number of customs inspectors, as well as pre-inspection on the Canadian side. Also, effects of emissions can be cut by enforcing no-idling laws and establishing “green barriers” to prevent pollution from migrating into neighborhoods.

The state agencies that released the so-called study are charged with serving the public. It is time for them to undertake this role rather than serving as handmaidens for the few who would profit from an ill-conceived project.

Need we say more?

Yes, unfortunately; and we will.

Watchdog says Masiello’s lobbying work conflicts with role on Peace Bridge Authority

Watchdog group critical of Peace Bridge ties; Caught in a truth? 

Is one of the governor’s appointees caught in a conflict of interest?  As reported in this Buffalo Newsarticle, a nonprofit government watchdog agency thinks so. 0421wklyfingers

What else would you call it when a principal in the firm representingthe primary bridge and infrastructure lobby in the region is also a Public Bridge Authority Member–multitasking?

Masiello denies the charge, blaming  his overly cautious attorney for over-reportinghis involvement in bridge construction lobbying efforts to the state. 

In his defense, Masiello represents so many construction and aligned firms that if a few of them fall through the cracks to perform work on the Peace Bridge, what’s the harm?

To his credit, Masiello, as a remedy, pledges his firm [will] readdress how it reports its [future] lobbying activities. 

Conflict resolved.

Bailing on us0421wklygrisanti

This Weekly Reader is distributed to hundreds of journalists, elected and appointed officials, and interested residents everywhere.

Occasionally, one of them un-subscribes. It’s natural for that to happen. But when the person un-subscribing is our own State Senator, what does that say about his concern for the opinions (and plight) of his own constituents?

Senator Mark J. Grisanti (grisanti@nysenate.gov) has un-subscribed–his selected reason for doing so:“no longer interested”

It works both ways, Senator.

Golombek ‘seriously’ eyeing State Senate race

Run, Joe, Run!0421wklyjoekathy

Right on cue comes this Buffalo News report that Buffalo Common Councilmember and Peace Bridge neighborhood champion Joseph Golombek Jr. is “seriously looking”at Grisanti’s seat.

Whatever Mr. Golombek decides, we are forever grateful for his belief in us, his unwavering principles, and independent opinions.


Also See: Weekly Reader April 14th – http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=e5cc146e8a830072a1198c874&id=508c8bd21b&e=6e566b8bd6