West Seneca, NY (WBEN) Assemblyman Mickey Kearns says he has fans worried about what will happen as the New Stadium Working Group moves forward, and is asking for a more open process.
"This New Stadium Working Group is working behind closed doors without the input of the community and the fans," says Assemblyman Mickey Kearns who has told those who have called him he doesn't know what's going on. Kearns has sent Governor Cuomo a letter asking for the group to abide by the Open Meetings Law, although he concedes the group is not bound by it.
Meantime, Kearns is asking for recommendations from fans on his website on what should be done with the new stadium. "If you buy a ticket, you get a seat at the game. Right now, we're spending $95 million on a new stadium and we don't have a seat at the table because we don't know what's going on. So, we're hoping the process opens up," says Kearns.
Here is Kearns' open letter to Cuomo:
.Dear Governor Cuomo:
You have been a champion of Western New York with the Buffalo Billion and so many of us appreciate your efforts. Although Buffalo has not had a major championship, your support has created a new energy and excitement for a prosperous Western New York future.
The Buffalo Bills, as you know, are an integral part of this community and the WNY psyche. Recently, the Erie County Stadium Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills Inc. appointed members to the New Stadium Working Group, an advisory group tasked with exploring and investigating the construction of a new stadium or substantial renovations of the current Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The creation of the New Stadium Working Group has created uneasiness among the most important supporters of the Bills – the 12th Man. As you know, the 12th Man has been an integral part of the success of the Bills. On December 12, 1992 the Bills honored their 12th Man as the seventh inductee onto the Bills Wall of Fame. The 12th Man pays for the tickets and is given a seat at the stadium or tunes in to a local broadcast. The same 12th man has paid for over $95 million in state and county funds for Ralph Wilson Stadium’s current renovations, but does not have a role in the proceedings or activities of the New Stadium Working Group.
The New Stadium Working Group may not have to abide by the Public Officers Law, but many fans want to play a role in the building of a new stadium. After many calls to my office by concerned fans about the process, I decided to create a link on my Assembly Webpage to give our greatest stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the work of this group and insure public trust throughout this process. In addition any comments or recommendations made by the public I will provide to this honorable committee.
Although the New Stadium Work Group is made up of some of our finest elected officials and leaders in the community, their undisclosed meetings have caused uneasiness, concern and uncertainty that I cannot respond to even though the building we are discussing is located in my Assembly district.
Therefore, I am asking that you consider making these meetings subject to the Open Meetings Law, in order to relieve the stress and concern created by the secretive nature of these proceedings.
Any relevant information I receive at the link on my website I will share with the New Stadium Working Group for their review in the hope that this opens up the process and alleviates the stress of the community.
As President Barack Obama has said, “Public engagement enhances the government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions.” It is my hope that we work to improve the process of the New Stadium Working Group and your participation is vital in this regard.
Very truly yours
Michael P. Kearns
New York Assembly – 142nd District