Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sticking a Finger in Your Eye . . .

And Twisting It!

That is what a lot of local Republicans must be feeling today after reading of Congressman Richard Hanna's comments at an Equal Rights Amendment rally in the Huff Po article: Richard Hanna, GOP Congressman, Tells Women To Give Their Money To Democrats. 
"I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault," he told the crowd of mostly women. "I'll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side -- my side -- has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can't succeed without your help."
"Precarious times for women?" Women aspire to the highest office in the land and head some of the nation's largest corporations.  Some would say these are the best of times for women.  .

"So many of your rights are under assault?"  Exactly which "rights," Mr. Hanna? Please be specific.

"You need to remind people that you vote" ... Really? In this day and age of minute-to-minute polling that slices and dices voting data among gender, age, racial, ethnic, sexual and political orientations?   

There are reasons why after 40 years the Equal Rights Amendment still has not been ratified by the required 38 states not the least of which are (1) it is not needed and (2) it will be used to distort rational decision making by elevating gender over other considerations.  But this post is about Mr. Hanna and not the ERA.  
When HuffPost asked Hanna after the rally whether he was bucking his party by encouraging women to give their money to "the other side," he said that he wasn't.
"I'm trying to help [the GOP]," he said. "I think it's the appropriate thing to do."
Mr. Hanna, you were nominated for your office by local Republicans as their standard-bearer with the full knowledge that you were an independent thinker and would not always "tow the party line." However, your nomination and election should not be confused with a willingness to be lectured by you as to what Party members should believe. 

You were elected to represent the people of this district in Congress, not to "help" the Republican Party.  Telling women to support Democrats is not "appropriate" because it undermines the Republican Party and many of your supporters rather than "help" them.  If you undermine your supporters, why should they continue to support you?

Mr. Hanna, you may have just lost Utica-Rome's seat in Congress to someone from Binghamton.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Not Buying It . . .

Officials: More money needed to protect Griffiss assets 
“New York needs to come to the table and they need to do it in a big way,” U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, said. “The governor has committed $500,000? I don’t think that’s near enough.”
Just exactly what will this money be buying?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Monument to Ourselves . . .

. . . does not solve our regional economic problems. . .  and could exacerbate them. . . . Thoughts that crossed my mind when perusing "Grant will help build One World Garden in Utica"
in the OD.

Rust to Green Utica announced Wednesday the receipt of a $48,475 grant to design a community green space called One World Garden on Park Avenue behind the Stanley Center for the Arts. . . . .

The grant was awarded by the Baltimore-based TKF Foundation through its Open Spaces, Sacred Places program to celebrate and better understand Utica’s changing blend of people created by its long-settled immigrants and its more recent influx of refugees, according to a news release . . .
When you can't solve problems you can always honor yourself or one of your friends, right?  Don't get me wrong.  Utica has a story to tell -- a proud story -- of people of many cultures coming to this place with barely the clothes on their back but ultimately finding the American Dream. . . . Of a community willing to embrace people different from themselves and becoming all the richer for it.  But what more celebration do we need than the variety of names in the phone book, the restaurants and grocers catering to unique palates,  the different hued faces, tongues, and modes of dress on our streets?  Utica is a living celebration of itself, and Uticans don't need to be told of where they've come from. 

Uticans also don't need another public space to take care of , especially now when the city can barely afford to keep police on its streets.  In addition, this is prime downtown land we're talking of.  It needs to be placed into productive TAX GENERATING use if Utica is to ever grow itself back into a city capable of sustaining itself.  A park prevents that from ever happening.

While the Rust2Green folks need to be commended for their efforts, they need to apply their considerable knowledge and collective intellect to analyze why that parcel of prime land has not attracted private development thus far, and then work to identify and solve the problems that they find.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Regional Obligations in New Hartford . . .

Last night the New Hartford Town board considered zoning changes to the New Hartford Business Park (NHBP) to permit small businesses, retail, offices, and restaurants. The members of the public in attendance were overwhelming opposed to the changes. 

While this blogger is disappointed that the Town Board voted to allow mixed development along Seneca Turnpike (Rt. 5) (the last thing NH needs is more congestion in that area) , the board wisely tabled changing the zoning of the bulk of the project area. 

Ultimately, the Board needs to reject this zoning change.

New Hartford owes its attractiveness for development to a regional infrastructure that has been paid for mostly by people residing outside the Town.  It has a public water system.  It has a sewage collection and treatment system.  It has a system of state and county highways.  New Hartford could never have afforded these on its own -- and town development would never have occurred without them.

Since New Hartford's "success"  is largely the product of a regional effort, it is only fitting that the Town uses its regional assets for the regional good.  Back in 1999, Town leaders tried to do just that when establishing the NHBP zone.

When the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the NHBP zone was issued in 1999, the zone was promoted as a site for industrial use, for "new high-technology industries" intended to "meet the economic needs of the entire region . . ."
It was recognized that the region had a shortage of high quality industrial sites that were large enough to meet the requirements of modern industries. The entire region supported New Hartford's efforts because the lack of such sites was a hindrance to the region moving forward economically.

What has happened to NHBP since could kindly be described as a "drift" from its original purpose.   (Unkindly, some may describe it as a "bait and switch.")  Offices seemed to become the primary use rather than ancillary as intended.  Then a hotel . . . and now the current proposal. 

While ridiculous state and national policies have put a damper on industrial development, it is not going to last forever.  Leaders will eventually realize that the public still needs "things,"   that the "things"  need to be made somewhere, and that an inability to make certain "things"  here poses a national security risk.  Will this region be ready?

The region, which has given so much to New Hartford,  cannot afford to lose NHBP as an industrial development site. New Hartford  needs to return to its original vision . . . for everyone's benefit.