If Gov. Eliot Spitzer wanted to play politics last Thursday, he failed miserably. That's because his ham-handed handling of a stop to unload goodies for the area annoyed both parties, and came across as cheap electioneering.
If Gov. Eliot Spitzer wanted to play politics last Thursday, he failed miserably.
That's because his ham-handed handling of a stop to unload goodies for the area annoyed both parties, and came across as cheap electioneering.
Make no mistake - funding for improvements is necessary for growth. But when providing such incentives, Spitzer fails to understanding that to move the state forward, you have to be inclusive.
Spitzer came to town to announce the state would provide $6.4 million in funding to Utica and Rome for projects scheduled to be completed in the next three years. He said the funding is just the beginning of efforts to revitalize the Mohawk Valley and upstate.
In a separate news conference, the governor discussed the Hinckley water crisis.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, a Republican, was rightfully irritated by late invitations he received to both events. He had been invited just two days before to the funding announce¬ment, and learned only by reading the Thursday morning newspaper that Spitzer also planned to discuss Hinckley while he was here.
Certainly Picente, as county executive, should have been made aware of both discussions well in advance. At first glance, it could appear a political snub by the Democratic governor, but Tim Julian, Utica's mayor and also a Republican, said he had known about the governor's planned visit for three weeks.
State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, also hadn't been made aware of Spitzer's Hinckley discussion. He should have, especially give the fact that Hinckley Reser¬voir is in his district.
Other political players ques¬tioned the timing of Spitzer's visit. Leon Koziol, Democratic candi¬date for county executive, took issue with the timing - 13 days before the election - and said he really didn't know what to make of it.
Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, D-Rome, chose not to comment.
Bruised egos, political innuendo, one upmanship, missed invitations - call it what you will. The fact is that economic development, as well as critical issues such as drink¬ing water, transcend politics and personalities. Homeowners trying to eke out a living in a depressed area, don't care about political protocol. They care about jobs, putting food on the table and clothes on kids' backs, paying college tuition, and otherwise finding a future for their families.
What Spitzer - and all elected leaders - need to realize is that if we're going to rebuild our own community and make it part of a rejuvenated upstate, it has to be done through a cooperative effort by all people at all levels. The struggling taxpayers of this state don't care who does it. They do care that it gets done.