Friday, September 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities . . .

There is a great article this month in Governing Magazine contrasting Niagara Falls, New York with Niagara Falls, Ontario: How Bureaucracy and Bickering Brought Down Niagara Falls. Anyone from New York who has been out that way recently has envied the gleaming high-rise skyline of the Canadian side above its well-manicured parks and gardens, and wondered why the New York side couldn't look even half as good. Even with a world-class tourist attraction AND a casino, the New York side still looks like a dump.

The explanation for the difference, of course, is the way we govern ourselves in this state. The article explains not only the plight of N'Fls, NY, but Utica, NY as well.

“I sometimes get the feeling,” says one Canadian official who spends a lot of time on the New York side, “that the state plan for economic development in the region is to employ people as economic developers. You’ve got all these people doing economic development, but there’s not a lot of actual development.”

That seems to sum things up here, too. We need competent leadership both locally and in Albany, but don't have it.


Anonymous said...

Great line by the Canadian official. We spend a lot of taxpayer money on economic developers chasing windmills while most of our political leadership blows hot air. The money we spend cannot withstand any cost/benefit ananlysis. Yet one never hears of such an analysis in the media or in legislative chambers. It is all a game funded by our dollars.

Strikeslip said...

Some of the Democratic members in the County Legislature are starting to wake up and ask for more accountability...from EDGE for example. Unfortunately, these people are painted as being uncooperative, even by some other Democrats. We need to keep the people asking the uncomfortable questions in office ... and ADD to them. Think about that when voting tomorrow and in November.

Greens and Beans said...

This blog post just fuels my call for upstate to secede from the New York City controlled New York State Legislature. All of the upstate communities have been fleeced of their resources, including Niagara Falls hydropower, for years. The meager compensation our communities receive for this fleecing is a disgrace. I have attended business meetings in Niagara Falls, Ontario as well as Niagara Falls, New York. I can attest to the fact that Niagara Falls New York resembles war torn Beirut.

In the article Rob Gurwitt made the statement that “Niagara Falls, New York, has lurched through short-sighted, incompetent and sometimes corrupt municipal governance, failed stabs at regionalism, and flailing, inconsistent and outright destructive approaches by various arms of state government.” Petrochemical companies such as DuPont, Occidental, Olin and Hooker were all given cut-rate power rates from the New York State Power Authority. Gurwitt went on to point out that the area has been actually economically handicapped as “The power generated by the state-run New York Power Authority’s plant downstream of the Falls, and much of it—along with most of the revenue it produces—has for decades been sent downstate.” Here in Oneida County we have been fighting this very same issue as we fought NYRI’s attempts to destroy our pristine environment in order to send our hydro power down to the glutinous New York City area. And our power rates would increase to assist them in raping our economy. Our sleeping local politicians came to life only after the citizens united to fight this bogus power transmission corporation.

So what is the answer? Call for a New York State Constitutional convention? Call for the secession from the New York City controlled New York State Legislature? Oust the shady Legislators who are virtually in the pockets of the corrupt Legislative leaderships? The very same local politicians who use their political influence to enrich family members and friends as they profit from surreptitiously granted business contracts. This politically generated and barely legal corruption has gotten too far out of hand. It is time to either vacate the State altogether or stand and fight to rectify this dilapidation of upstate New York.