Weekly Feature

2017-12-07 / Editorial

Governor should not have final say on center

Less than 12 hours after last week’s edition of The West Seneca Bee went to press reporting that a bill that could potentially save the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center was on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, the governor vetoed the bill.

This vote means the governor is turning a blind eye to the more than 16,000 signatures petitioning for the merger of the children’s center with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center to cease, and has prompted members of both the Senate and Assembly to call for a special session to override the veto.

Lawmakers have shown a unified front on this issue since the start and have agreed that although the effort is nearly impossible, they will work to undo the injustice Cuomo has enacted.

In the time since the children’s center was removed from the state budget, West Seneca Bee editors and others from our news group have published more than 70 articles and editorial columns dating back to 2013, not including letters to the editor, Bee Heard calls or columns submitted by district representatives.

Hundreds of hours have been dedicated to public hearings, community forums and patient and professional testimony on the subject of keeping the center a separate facility in West Seneca for the purpose of healing children with severe mental health issues and who are struggling with trauma.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised by supporters of the center in an attempt to keep the center operational without the support of the Legislature.

Nearly every avenue has been traversed by elected officials who are trying desperately to represent the interest of the people who put them in power. Sadly, the governor does not feel the same need.

Cuomo has turned his back on those who need a voice the most — young children facing demons few can see, who are haunted by the prospect of having their future taken away from them if the two facilities are to merge.

Services will be available to these children, but not at the same caliber, consistency or quality that they have come to know and expect.

If this merger goes through and the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center closes in West Seneca, Andrew Cuomo will face a difficult campaign season as he runs for re-election in 2018, and even worse, a legacy of causing harm to innocent children he could have saved.

Return to top