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Behind the 'Occupy Buffalo' editorial in today's News

After considerable discussion Monday, The News Editorial Board came to consensus about what we see as the future of the Occupy Buffalo encampment at Niagara Square. In an editorial in today's paper, the board says that it's time for the occupiers to wrap things up, count their effort as a success and move on to other forms of political activism.

Here's the editorial, which gives credit to Mayor Byron Brown for the restraint and cooperation shown to the protesters since they began their effort last October. (The group's city permit expires tomorrow.)

The Editorial Board consists of five people: Publisher Stan Lipsey, Editorial Page Editor John Neville, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Kevin Walter, editorial writer Dawn Bracely and me. To varying degrees, we all agree with at least some of the Occupy Wall Street movement's points. In editorials, the board has often expressed its concern with the decline of the middle class in America, and the growing gap between the very rich and the rest of the country. But, right now, we think the point has been forcefully (and quite peacefully) made in Buffalo. The work ought to continue but in other forms, which the editorial suggests.

We hope our readers understand that, in writing editorials, we are merely presenting a point of view. We don't intend to force it on anyone but to present food for thought. And, in other forms, the paper does its best to highlight a full range of views on the subject.

Some examples are reporter Mark Sommer's front-page story in Monday's News and, separately, his video chat on buffalonews.com with key members of the Occupy Buffalo group. (You can see a replay here.) We also welcome letters to the editor and submissions to our "Another Voice" feature on the editorial page, which often presents the opposing argument to that expressed in a News editorial.

As fervently as we may believe in our stance, it's only one viewpoint. (That's true when we endorse political candidates, too.) There's room for discussion here, and we're glad to be a part of it.

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