Best of WNY 2011: It's the people IV
Most colorful WNYer, 2009–2010
Ah, the anger. The orange and blackened anger. To put it lightly, Paladino’s failed 2010 gubernatorial bid was a colorful thing. Our hometown boy made all the wrong kinds of headlines, threatening reporters, spewing hate speech, and forwarding some e-mails that weren’t exactly work-appropriate. Some of that negative energy was directed in the right place—our pathetically inefficient state government. But in the end, while Carl was definitely mad as hell, his campaign left him looking mad out of touch.
Favorite local scandal
Given all the horrible stuff that happens in the world, when something like the Lee scandal hits, it’s almost a relief—a hard news story that’s just so silly, it can’t help but make you smile. We’re not saying that the resignation of a U.S. Representative doesn’t merit larger discussions (e.g., Does an unfaithful spouse make for a bad politician?), but for now we’re going to embrace the opportunity to tell bad jokes about it. To wit: Chris Lee’s the kind of politician who would do anything for his constituents—if you asked, he’d give you the shirt off his back.
Most influential local citizen
This historian, author, entrepreneur, and urban planning activist has been a tireless advocate for Buffalo for almost 40 years. Goldman’s renovation of the Calumet Building served as a catalyst for the cultural, physical, and economic revitalization of the Chippewa District. Applying that same formula elsewhere, the Allen Street Hardware Café has become a cultural institution in less than a decade. We look forward to Goldman’s current projects, the Black Rock Kitchen & Bar (forthcoming) and his Imagining Buffalo’s Waterfront project. Thank you, Mark, for your can-do, collaborative approach to reshaping our community.
Best activist group
Their Net Zero house—which produces just as much energy as it consumes—is ready to open this summer, and that is just one of the many projects of the People United for Sustainable Housing. In recent years, the group’s most prominent initiative has been to hold energy giant National Fuel accountable for how energy costs impact Buffalo’s most struggling neighborhoods. Keep on pushing, PUSH!
Best-dressed local personality (male)
Mayor Byron Brown
When we interviewed the mayor in 2006 he said he bought his suits at Get Dressed. That may have changed, but wherever he gets them, he wears them well. Many politicians favor the rumpled look; we don’t know why and we don’t like it. At least in terms of his natty appearance, our mayor represents us well.
Best-dressed local personality (female)
Her ensembles at the Arties are as big a highlight of the WNY theater season as her performances throughout the rest of the year. Can anyone else rock a gown quite as well as the divine LL? We think not. And those of us who have caught her offstage are equally impressed. Then again, Ludwig could probably make a sweatsuit look like haute couture.