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WBEN Commentary & Opinion

Thoughts from WBEN/WGR/WWKB Operations Manager Tim Wenger
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Posts from June 2013

Can't We Have an Adult Conversation?
When the deal was announced Thursday afternoon between New York State and the Seneca Indian Nation,  we immediately made some calls to change the direction of "Buffalo's Early News" for Friday morning. 

I personally made the call to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster's mobile phone and got his voicemail.  I asked if he would come into our studios at 7am Friday and join John and Susan.  Mayor Dyster accepted the offer and called our newsroom to confirm.  After calling Mayor Dyster, like any good journalist, I thought it would be a good idea to have some native input on the show.  I called John Kane who hosts a show on WWKB Radio and asked if he would come in studio as well.  He agreed.  Now the first question some would ask is, "did either of them know the other would be here".  They were booked separately and both were good enough to agree to come in.

Shortly after the interview began, Mayor Dyster became visibly upset at John Kane's thoughts on the deal and his opinion that the Seneca's got the short end of the stick.  When John Kane said he felt Governor Cuomo and Mayor Dyster owed the Seneca's an apology, Mayor Dyster jumped in and said he would leave if "this keeps up".   So he walked out.

Really Mayor?  Let me repeat the title MAYOR. 

If you're charged with being the elected leader of a city I think you should be comfortable enough with your beliefs, thoughts and positions to hear from someone who may disagree and have an adult conversation about those differences.  It's been a long and divisive road to this deal and obviously there will be some who don't like how it ended.  As the leader of the city, I think it's a mandatory trait to be able to address those differences with something more than "blessed are the peacemakers" and "let it go".  The Mayor told the audience "this is not why I came in here".   Apparently the Mayor expected to come in and sit in the glow of praise for the deal.  There are two sides, sometimes more, to every story and it's only right to allow those differences to be aired and let each individual decide.

In the end, the deal is done and has been at least ceremoniously signed.  I don't have a strong opinion on who won or who lost in this agreement.  And if it really is a good deal, no one lost. 

But I do have a strong opinion on how Mayor Dyster walked out of an interview and took the spotlight away from the issue and put it on his sophomoric reaction to being challenged by John Kane.   John Kane never raised his voice and presented his ideas in a professional and mature manner.  The Mayor took the low road and walked out, leaving the remainder of the interview to Kane alone.

John Kane says the Mayor owes the Seneca Nation an apology.  I think the Mayor owes his constituents an apology for walking out and not standing up to someone who disagrees with him.
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