Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Doing" Utica . . .

About a week ago a downstate congressman got local officialdom in a tizzy. . . .
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-Queens, said on WOR radio Monday that he wouldn’t want to take U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat “because I don't do Utica, and that's a qualification for the job,” according to a story in the New York Post.
The OD expressed outrage in an editorial, calling the Congressman's comment "insulting." Senator Griffo expressed outrage in a letter and demanded an apology. Mayor Roefaro was "distressed, disappointed and disgusted" at the comment. Congressman Arcuri said that the comments only reinforce the need for an upstater to be appointed to the US Senate. Many of the reactions suggested that the congressman come to Utica . . . but with the (understandable) outrage, would these be construed as genuine?

Here, indeed, is a "teachable moment" . . .

Instead of all the outrage, maybe a "for real" invitation for an educational visit to Utica is in order. Pay his way here . . . Put him up at the beautifully restored Hotel Utica . . . Let Mayor Roefaro wine and dine him at our great restaurants . . . Take him to a show at the Stanley . . . Take him to M-W-P. Show him our venues for skiing, golf and tennis. Utica has what New York City has in miniature . . . . but more accessible. Congressman Arcuri could explain to his colleague how we are different . . .explain how our cheap power has been sent away from us and what this has done to upstate. Explain how our economy is dependent on manufacturing and how government policies have taken our livelihoods.

Sometimes those who seem most opposed to us, if shown "the light," can be turned into our greatest allies.


Anonymous said...

As a downstater that came up here about 8 years ago... I wish I didn't "do (scr)Utica." This was the worst decision and the biggest waste of my 20's. I don't blame him, and I actually applaud the congressman.
I tried my best to be positive about Utica... but after deceiving myself for about 6 years, my mind finally snapped and I couldn't take it anymore... the last straw was that the majority of my "normal" friends have left, and it's hard to deal with living in a depressed area with nothing to do (besides hiking...yuck... and staring at failed businesses).

So go ahead and wine and dine him... thats what my friends tried to do when I got here, and it only took three years before all the businesses that they brought me to all closed down, and my friends left for more "fun" places.

Greens and Beans said...

Well Strikeslip you have outdone yourself. You have hit the nail on the head.

Our elected officials, who capriciously expressed their “outrage” at Congressman Gary Ackerman’s statement, were obviously over-pandering to their electorate. They should have been exerting the critical thinking needed to address what the underlying meaning of “I don’t do Utica” really is. They should have been asking the critical questions that could have uncovered what could better introduce Utica to our neighbors in New York City. Instead they chose to alienate us further by arrogantly replying to the Congressman’s misguided remark in kind.

As Rome, NY Mayor Jim Brown visited with Mayor Wang Maoshe of Jincheng, China, Utica Mayor David Roefaro and Congressman Michael Arcuri should have followed your suggestion and offered Congressman Ackerman a grand tour of the greater Utica metropolitan area. I’m sure they would have changed his impression of Utica. (http://romesentinel.com/news?newsid=20081118-141257)

Anonymous said...

" I’m sure they would have changed his impression of Utica. "

Tunnel vision is bad.

Perhaps the Utica Chamber of Commerce could put together a tour package of the city's wonderful business and tourist attractions for the Congressman to see. Wait - nevermind. Utica doesn't even have its own Chamber of Commerce. It was stolen. Pitiful.

A trip to Utica would unfortunately backfire and reinforce what Ackerman is thinking. The place looks like a dump. It is what it is. Our failure to recognize this and do something about it is our own fault. At the very least, could we pave the streets and pick up the trash?

Greens and Beans said...

WOW! Job well done Strikeslip!

It looks like Congressman Michael Arcuri and/or his staff is reading this blog. An OD news piece today reports that Queens Congressman Gary Ackerman will visit our area on the behest of Congressman Arcuri. (http://www.uticaod.com/homepage/x415885810/I-dont-do-Utica-congressman-to-visit-city) Kudos to the Congressman and his staff for taking the advice spelled out in this blog. Sometimes a little open mindedness and an extension of the old olive branch can help us all. Perhaps Representative Ackerman could be treated to a dinner of Utica greens and chicken riggies. Then introduce him to a half-moon pastry cookie. I guarantee he’ll return for more.

Anonymous said...

Mr Arcuri's statement on Ackerman, "...the comments only reinforce the need for an upstater to be appointed to the US Senate..." are on point. A US Senator's job in Washington is to represent the state...not simply the largest metro area NYC. I'm certain that Ackerman was using his "...I don't do Utica..." comment as a simple general example of Greater Upstate New York. US Senators that do not manage state issues...issues impacting the entire state that is...simply are guilty of malpractice. OBTW, making a very recent PC visit to the Buffalo area does not make one qualified for office as a US Senator from New York either. At least Ms. Kennedy has lived in New York State for a good share of her life. But I suspect her body-of-knowledge relating to Upstate issue is very weak.
DP of Mohawk