Former county commissioner Phil Gasteier passed away a couple of weeks ago. Philip Gasteier Jr., a Los Angeles attorney, returned for the funeral. He said his father was always an outsider and that allowed him to speak his mind because he wasn't beholden to anyone.
Unfortunately, to the detriment of our community, there are too many outsiders in Erie County and the insiders are all too satisfied with that status.
The closed stores and factories, neglected homes and the high percentage of rental properties are a reflection of who we are and have been for a long time.
Despite politically correct statements citing continued confidence in the auto industry, the foreclosure listings in the newspaper tell us the grim reality.
We are in the midst of the reindustrialization of the entire planet. Erie County and its cities need to realize quickly our economic development efforts are outdated and out of touch, and fall way short of our needs and potential. Small projects that promote seasonal residents and low paying seasonal jobs will not provide buyers for the stock of unsold homes.
We need a take-charge leader who is politically and business savvy on a state, national and international level and has the ability to negotiate and steer us to opportunities. It might be someone like former Gov. Dick Celeste or current state Sen. Tom Sawyer, who also has served as a Congressman, mayor of Akron, state representative and, recently, member of the state board of education. It might be a retired national or international corporate leader. It might cost us $1 million or more, but in the long run, if it can expedite filling our storefronts, rejuvenate our neighborhoods, brings jobs for our families and give our children hope for a good life in Erie County, It would be a cheap investment.
Wanted: Experienced driver.
Mark R. Norman