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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Economic Spat...

A new report on upstate economic prospects labels the political economy of upstate as "an 18th century system of government":
Upstate cities will have a hard time shaking their economic doldrums if they don't abandon their "18th century system of government" in favor of regionalization, according to a report released Thursday by David Rusk, an urban policy expert.
Rusk wants to see more "regional goverments" that would replace the current cities/towns as centers of power, in order to rememdy the problems he perceives with having many municipal districts - rigid boundaries and little centralized planning. Of course, the same argument could be made about regional governments, or state goverments for that matter.

Whatever the merits of his argument (and I see both pros and cons), it doesn't ever get you much mileage to tell people they are backwards.

Luckily, Malta supervisor David Meager strikes back with equally little tact:
David Meager, the Town of Malta's longtime supervisor, for instance, called Rusk's recommendations "socialist propaganda."
I won't go that far or be that impolite, but i certainly can sympathize with Meager's point of view on this one:
"It's important for local communities to have a say in their economic development endeavors and what businesses are coming to their communities. The idea of towns that are successful giving up control of their own destiny so some regional authority can mandate growth in the cities is a repugnant concept to me, and I think it's certainly contrary to the views of my citizens who want to be able to control what happens in their town," Meager said.

Well, at least we got this important debate off on the right foot. A self-appointed policy expert told us we were living in a different century, and one of our local leaders responded by calling him a socialist. It's better comedy than politics.
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