Niagara Gazette

January 31, 2013

GUEST VIEW: First responders should be priority in Lewiston

By Paulette Glasgow
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Priorities — we all have them, and we all have to make them. We make them for our family and community. The decision to choose one priority over another can be difficult but the decision should always be based on what is right and beneficial. It should be a priority that will serve the greater good and not based on self-serving reasons.

During their time in public office, elected officials are not only asked to establish but make priorities. The priorities are found in the oath they take and the laws they must follow. Woven within those priorities is a central theme, and it ís to ensure that the health, safety and general welfare of the community and its residents are protected.

So, when the Lewiston supervisor makes the “hair brained,” his words not mine, decision to use $9 million in public money to build a recreation center rather than a much asked for public safety facility for our first responders, I wonder how he establishes his priorities. Also, I wonder with Lewiston getting over a million dollars a year for the last few years, why our first responders have had to wait for such a facility when those same millions are being spent in a wasteful way.

For years, our first responders have asked for such a facility and because elected officials didn’t have the financial means to grant their wish the building of such a facility was placed on the future to-do list. But, through the signing of the relicensing agreement, Lewiston does have the financial means to build such a facility and has either wasted it on land not owned by Lewiston residents or about to be used on a facility not needed to ensure the health, safety and general welfare of the community. Oh, the supervisor will be quick to respond that such a facility will be useful should we have a major flood. Unfortunately, there’s one thing wrong with that reasoning, unless you place this 140,000 square foot facility on very high stilts, a ridiculous idea, or build a very large moat around the facility, an absurd idea, anyone within such a facility, should we have a major flood, will be impacted. But, if the money were used to build a training facility to instruct our first responders on what to do during a major flood lives would be saved and the greater good served.

So why do we need such a facility rather than a first responder training facility? According to a mystery committee, a recreation facility “fulfills a longstanding need to the northern region of Western New York.” Its supporters “attest that a senior facility is exactly what the doctor ordered” because our seniors have nowhere to go at night. Oh really? These statements determine what little understanding or knowledge anyone on this committee has with regard to establishing priorities or the lifestyle of our seniors. First, seniors don’t go out at night because they don’t want to go out at night, and nothing you build, whatever the cost, will cause them to go out. Further, to consider building a senior facility without input from the senior director and ALL our seniors demonstrates our seniors aren’t your priority but merely a hook in order to sell your idea. It shows the height of arrogance you will go in order to achieve what you want. Next, as far as fulfilling a longstanding need, one would think that a training facility that enables our first responders to save lives would fulfill a longstanding need. Finally, as far as economic stimulus, wouldn’t you think a state-of-the-art training facility that could be rented out to other first responders would be an economic stimulus to the Lewiston community?

Yes, we do have to make decisions regarding priorities. Sometimes those priorities are needed and sometimes they’re just “hair brain” ideas. I would hope Lewiston’s elected officials would base their priorities on what is beneficial for our community and its citizens by ensuring that the health, safety and general welfare is protected rather than a self-serving idea being pushed at the urgings of a few or special interests.

Paulette Glasgow is a Lewiston resident.