No Big Surprise

31 Aug

People out here are sick & tired of Albany.

the poll of 2,492 residents statewide and 362 in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties found the westerners in a far surlier mood than their already fed-up neighbors:

• While 27 percent of voters statewide rated state government as “poor,” that jumped to 45 percent in Western New York.

• When asked about quality of life, 27 percent statewide said it was worse over the past five years, but 42 percent thought so locally.

• Sixty-nine percent of Western New Yorkers say the economy has worsened over the past five years, compared to 40 percent of statewide residents who feel that way.

• A whopping 58 percent of Western New Yorkers rated the state poor on keeping taxes from hurting growth, compared to 36 percent across New York.

But people don’t seem to mind paying the taxes we pay, so long as the money is being spent in as prudent a way as possible. That was what two people on the public payroll said, anyway.

One person says:

“I don’t think I could get out,” she said. “I want to move away from here . . . New York State, I want to say, stinks. That’s putting it mildly.”

Swift says she sees a ray of hope in the possibility of Eliot L. Spitzer becoming governor. As attorney general, he helped her family get money back from a propane price gouger.

“We got our money back,” she said. “I’m going to elect him. I think he’s good.”

*Gasp* that Spitzer – making the state unfriendly for propane gougers.

Our own Geek gets in a plug for his candidate of choice – Suozzi – and adds:

But most importantly, Smith said, he believes Western New York suffers from apathy and that events like Old Home Week are needed to get people here to make them less willing to accept the status quo.

“We need to start to demand better,” he said. “The only thing we demand in Buffalo is average. It’s sad. We need to demand more from our government and our leaders.”

Justin Azzarella, executive director of Forever Elmwood, doesn’t see how anyone would be surprised to hear that Western New Yorkers are unhappier than residents of other parts of the state.

The Power Authority relicensing agreement and toll barriers on the Thruway have left many here jaded, he said.

“They’re not satisfied with the product,” Azzarella said of what state government has provided for this region in return for all of the tax revenue Western New York generates.

But he believes change is coming.

“There’s this new energy of people in the area who say: We don’t want this,” he said. “And we are beginning to have elected officials who are saying the same thing.”

All I really want in Albany is a functioning democracy. Allow debate, take power away from the three-men-in-a-room, set controls, limits, and stricter regulations on lobbyists to ensure that, e.g., Joe Bruno’s son can’t lobby the Senate. Get that going, and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

Incidentally, Chris Byrd makes an excellent point, discussing Geek’s distaste for Spitzer:

This on one hand is a fair assessment of where Spitzer is in the eyes of many and a fair assessment of how people in these parts need to start thinking.

On the other hand, it reminds me of complaints we saw about Byron Brown last year before being elected, but a lot of the same folks who critcized Byron last year are slowly turning into believers.

Last year, I thought Byron Brown was teh suck, but have come around to thinking he’s a pretty damn good Mayor. Point taken.

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