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Sabre Sling Blade

by on May 22, 2012

A long offseason leaves ample time to sod the lawn. It would be preferable for the Buffalo Sabres to be in the midst of trying to win 16 games instead of attending to yard work, but at least they’ll have nice landscaping outside their barn when they try to get to the elimination stage again next year.

The team’s grass will be greener thanks to the club’s remarkably charitable owner. He’s demonstrating why you should never send a government to accomplish something that you would like done well, or even at all:

The City of Buffalo’s Canalside area will have another “front door” thanks to the contribution of Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.

With blue skies and the bustling waterfront as the backdrop, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced today that Pegula and the Sabres will spend $120,000 to install 90,000 square feet of new sod to three parcels of city-owned property in the Canalside area adjacent to First Niagara Center. Work to clean and clear the land has already started, with the new sod expected to be down within the next few weeks.

The franchise presumably get first picnic spot rights if Sabretooth wants to gnaw on rib bones with Eddie Shack and Daren Puppa. Even though they don’t own it, downtown’s most prominent athletic tenant treats the ground far better than the government has:

“This will add to the beauty of a developing area of the downtown waterfront,” stated Brown. “It also shows that the Sabres want to make a difference not only in sports, but in the Buffalo community in general.”

Noting the cranes already doing construction work on the old Aud site and Donovan Building, Brown explained how this contribution from the Sabres is just another step in developing a world-class waterfront in downtown Buffalo.

And the development is only decades behind schedule. The remedy for endless frittering of your tax contributions is to hope that nice rich private sports franchise owners write big numbers on donated checks:

“This kind of contribution is only going to encourage other private sector organizations to step forward.”

Hmmm, that’s dangerously close to sounding like an expectation. What’s odd is how Brown is typically impotent as opposed to being autocratic, which makes his sudden bossy tone even more jarring. Businesses will “step forward” at their convenience. Unlike the kindly Sabres, perhaps some entrepreneurs remain wary that impolite Occupiers will be allowed to turn city-beautifying work into a trampled living space.

Then again, sanctimonious hippies will never go near this environmentally pleasant spot with the belief that it was funded with Pegula’s evil death blood Earth-punching fracking money. The presumed dearth of human filth would make the area even more appealing to use. Conversely, cleanly reasonable people appreciate how drilling for natural gas enables civilization, not to mention a nicer city thanks to the generosity of the chief driller.

The Sabres must avoid the type of mistake embodied by signing the worthless Ville Leino through making sure to not reward nonchalant incompetence. There’s a fine line between altruism and compensating for a bungling government that wasted what it took. City Hall goes offside, and the franchise must nearly pull a groin compensating.

It’s quite nice of the team to make the area more appealing by replacing gravel-strewn desolate lots with lots of green. But they shouldn’t have to have paid for the sprucing, as the space’s presently woeful condition serves as another example of getting nothing for tax dollars. All the money sunk into various governments provides less of a value than an eight-dollar lager at a hockey contest.

Buffalo is blessed with a pro hockey side who is doing the job that elected leaders cannot. The latter should just sell the land to private stewards with a sense of community responsibility.

But that wise move would require our perpetually disappointing politicians to admit their failures, not to mention assume that they’re capable of a sudden surge of common sense. Even a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2007 has infinitely better management. Now, if the Sabres volunteer to fund tearing down the blasted Skyway, the season ticket waiting list would appreciatively grow to virtually indefinite length.

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