Buffalo Politicians Intervene on Behalf of Bills

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Buffalo Politicians Intervene on Behalf of Bills

Unhappy with what they've heard from owner Ralph Wilson, Western New York politicians rally to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

At least they're making a good show of it.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) has asked the NFL to amend its constitution to allow either total or partial community ownership of the Bills, basing this loosely on the current Green Bay Packers ownership structure.

Higgins released a copy of the letter he sent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in which he outlined two possible solutions.

If full community ownership were to be impossible, the league could allow the Bills to be owned under a hybrid approach, with a majority "traditional" owner and a minority stake held by community shareholders, according to Higgins' proposal.

"We need some help from the current (Bills) ownership," Higgins told the Buffalo News.  "And we need some help from the league to create a framework to keep the Bills here for the next generation."

The NFL, however, had nothing to say…well, almost nothing.

"We received the congressman's letter, and Commissioner Goodell will respond to it as soon as possible," replied NFL spokesman Greg Aiello via e-mail.

Meanwhile, Erie County Executive Chris Collins suggested that a very expensive new stadium, possibly on the waterfront, would be an issue in any future negotiations with the Bills.

Collins, however, was careful to specify the significance of this.

"It's not whether I think we need a new stadium," he told reporters, refusing to say if he backed such a venture.  "The stadium is a what-if, if it's on the table, and where we would put it if it is," he said.

Finally, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown chimed in, releasing a letter to Wilson expressing his disappointment with regard to Wilson's characterization of Buffalo’s gradually dying economically.

"I think you should see the evidence of this progress for yourself and then realize that the city of Buffalo is not stagnant or at death's door," Brown wrote.

Just what is this evidence to be considered?  The mayor didn't say.

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