Tag Archives: upstate New York

Census 2010, The NY Results

24 Mar


We’ll have some analysis up tomorrow morning after we’ve had time to comb through the data, but I wanted to post a link to the full statewide results for your perusal.


These numbers are fascinating for many reasons as they influence everything from political redistricting formulas to rates media outlets can charge for advertising.

The long and short of it?  The numbers are predictably terrible for Buffalo, pretty bad for Erie County, mediocre for Rochester and Monroe County and generally not-so-good for all of New York State.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers and the percentage change between 2000 and 2010:

  • Erie County’s population decreased by 31,225 people or 3.2 percent
  • The City of Buffalo’s population decreased by 31,338 people or 10.7 percent
  • Niagara County’s population decreased by 3,377 people or 1.53 percent
  • Cattaraugus County’s population decreased by 3,638 people or 4.3 percent
  • Chautauqua County’s population decreased by 4,842 people or 3.5 percent

I think you get the idea, lots of people moved.

Here is a sampling of the responses we’ve received via email from various planning groups and politicians:

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown:

All upstate cities have lost population, Buffalo is still the second largest city in New York. That’s why I’ve focused such attention on making Buffalo competitive.

Lou Jean Fleron, Cornell University ILR School and co-director of the Partnership for the Public Good:

It’s important that we don’t use population figures to measure the health and success of our city. For our 93 partner organizations, the key question is not how many people live here, but what is the quality of life for those who do

So, the early noise out of the gate is that it’s quality, not quantity that matters. Alrighty then.  However, I would like to note that population loss isn’t necessarily an “upstate” problem.  Counties in the eastern and central portions of upstate remained relatively static or grew while Western New York hemorrhaged people.  You’ll notice that as you go over the data…interesting, eh?

More tomorrow.

A Senator from Upstate

5 Oct


Above is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand‘s campaign’s second ad of the season.  As the first upstate Senator in nearly 40 years, she’s pretty in-tune with the mass volume of economic fail that’s befallen areas north of Poughkeepsie and west of the Hudson in the past several decades.

While in Congress, Gillibrand helped pass new tax deductions that allow middle class families to deduct up to $1,000 in property taxes and sponsored legislation to allow families to deduct 100 percent of their property taxes. She has continued this work in the US Senate.

Senator Gillibrand has made job creation or number one priority, launching an innovation agenda to foster new new high tech opportunities and passing legislation that will help small businesses gain access to the loans they need to grow. This year, Senator Gillibrand wrote the Upstate Works Act, new legislation (S.3787) to provide targeted support for a broad range of sector’s in the economy in – providing new capital for small business, retooling New York’s manufacturers to produce clean, domestic energy, providing tax credits for family farms to diversify their production, and creating new worker training opportunities for students and working adults to prepare for the jobs of the future.

And to stop the outsourcing that has devastated Upstate New York’s economy for decades, Senator Gillibrand voted in August to end tax subsidies for corporations that ship American jobs overseas and reward companies that create jobs right here at home.

Cuomo’s Property Tax Cap

29 Jul


This is not dissimilar from Republican New Jersey Governor Christie’s tax cap plan, which just passed a few weeks ago.

(Reposted from yesterday because evidently I forgot to include the video’s embed code).

New York State’s Republican Nomenklatura & Carl Paladino

4 Jun

In the news yesterday was the inevitable announcement from Carl Paladino that he would pay upwards of $500,000 to petition his way onto the Republican ballot. Obviously, since Paladino has absolutely no political machine, movement, or wellspring of grassroots support anywhere outside of the immediate Erie County area, he will have to pay canvassers to stand around shopping centers and get paid for each probably-invalid signature from Democrats, Republicans, the unenrolled, and unregistered passers-by.

Who knows, they might even get a few valid signatures.

Chances are that Lazio’s camp is going to comb through those petitions with extreme prejudice and take Paladino to court over the whole thing. Internecine warfare is often the most entertaining.

The Times-Union’s Capitol Confidential has a post up that’s worth a read because it gauges not only the Republican machine’s reaction to Paladino and predicts his chances of getting on the ballot, but also because it identifies a class of people within the Republican establishment in New York that pretends it doesn’t exist. The Republican nomenklatura, if you will.

So if Paladino gets on the ballot, does he actually have a chance of knocking off Lazio?

It depends on if he can get past what former GOP Assemblyman Anthony Casale, from Herkimer and Otsego counties, terms the “professional voters.”

Upstate, those are the Republican office holders, their friends and families who work in government. They range from village mayors to county highway workers and even school teachers. They tend to be mainstream Republicans and will likely stick with Lazio.

Whether they realize it or not, such people work for what has really become a vast welfare state in upstate New York. With the continued loss of factories and farming, the jobs across much of the state are increasingly government funded including hospitals, prisons, schools, state university campuses as well as state and local government. These people — the professional voters – may feel threatened by Paladino with his anti-government stance and promises to drastically cut spending. The reality is, like it or not, that spending typically translates into jobs, patronage or otherwise.

The Republicans like to pretend that it’s only the Democrats who are like that. The Republicans are all about lower taxes, lower spending, no governmental entanglements, trickle-down, etc. The Republican nomenklatura has everything to fear from Paladino’s candidacy, because he doesn’t have to rely on them, and vice-versa. Since Paladino’s governmental entanglements only reach as far as his properties and the tax breaks, cuts, and incentives he has, the nomenklatura’s hypocritical dependence on governmental largesse is at risk of being cut or eliminated.

For any side to pretend that they’re any cleaner than the other is a massive load of horsecrap.

Andrew Cuomo: Democratic Nominee for NY Governor

27 May

At its convention today, the New York State Democratic Committee nominated Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as its candidate for Governor. His nominated was seconded by Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, as well as a former New York City comptroller and a Suffolk County pol.

Cuomo began his remarks by stating that he is a proud Democrat, who believes that government can make lives better. He listed a pantheon of great 20th and 21st century Democrats, pledging to work for social justice and “returning integrity” to government.

Due to our “new economic reality”, Cuomo said that we need to make “government work again” through “balancing the budget without raising taxes”. “New Yorkers can’t afford a tax increase”, he said, adding that he will “make bureaucracy work better”, citing New York’s 1,000 agencies and 10,000 governments and special districts, using a rhythmic patter to list districts ending in, “justincaseyoumissedadistrict”.

He noted that the property tax burden is particularly acute in upstate New York, where property values are lower but take up a greater percentage of that value.

Cuomo stated that the “relationship between the people and their government” cannot be maintained “without trust”, and that the people of New York feel “betrayed”. He pledged to “clean up Albany…with deeds, not words”.

Calling education the “civil rights issue” of our era, Cuomo noted that some schools feature state of the art computers, while others feature state of the art “metal detectors”. He pledged to expand charter schools and make sure the state participates in the “Race to the Top” federal schools funding. He also restated his support for abortion rights, and pledged to bring about marriage equality.

Cuomo said he would bring about fundamental change in Albany by first unifying the Democrats, and then forming “honorable coalitions” with Republicans to get past Albany gridlock. Cuomo has released a 200+ page blueprint for change.

In a shot to the Republicans in general, and tea party in particular, Cuomo said that people in the state are “nervous” and “angry”, and that “activist groups” (using airquotes) would try to exploit that nervousness and pit people against each other; “black against white, rich against poor, upstate against downstate”. Cuomo stated that “we will not tolerate” that sort of division, and that we must be inclusive.

Video highlights to follow.

Real Balkanization

18 Mar

More to the point of the upstate/downstate divide, there is a clamor around here that goes like this: downstate New York is holding upstate New York down/hostage/back and we need to secede from them in order to have more control over our own political, economic, and social destiny.

Because this region is so dramatically different from the New York City area, this clearly resonates with a lot of people. Even downstaters have begun to talk of secession because they’re tired of subsidizing upstate’s ancient, tired, and static economies.

If Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin had had their way, we’d be living in a state called “Buffalo”.

But secession is a drastic remedy to the identified problem.

The notion of “one country, two systems” is not new. Hong Kong is still legally part of the People’s Republic of China, but enjoys a completely different political, economic, and social system…for now. In Switzerland, the cantonal governments are in many ways stronger than the federal government, and each canton is run differently. In Bosnia and Hercegovina, the Republika Srpska was carved out and is run separately and autonomously from the Bosnian/Croat federation, but nominally still a part of the Bosnian nation-state with its capital in Sarajevo.

New York could remain one legal state entity with two autonomous systems, so that the massive political influence that downstate holds would be dulled, and upstate could be free to control its own economic policies and affairs, and thus better compete for business and residents.

Upstate's Permanent Recession

22 Sep

An excerpt from Barack Obama’s speech yesterday in Troy, NY:

And I know that here in Troy, you want and need that chance after so many years of hard times.  Communities like this one were once the heart of America’s manufacturing strength.  But over the last few decades, you’ve borne the brunt of a changing economy which has seen many manufacturing plants close in the face of global competition.  So while all of America has been gripped by the current economic crisis, folks in Troy and upstate New York have been dealing with what amounts to almost a permanent recession for years:  an economic downturn that’s driven more and more young people from their hometowns.

That’s true for all of upstate, and it’s nice when politicians don’t come to town and pretend that everything’s great.  What’s also significant is that Obama rejects the central tenet of Reaganism, which holds that government is always a problem, and can never be a solution:

I also know that while a lot of people have come here promising better news, that news has been hard to come by, despite the determined efforts of leaders who are here today and many who are not.  Part of the reason is that while people in this city work hard to meet their responsibilities, I have to confess that some in Washington haven’t always lived up to theirs.

For too long, as old divisions and special interests reigned, Washington has shown neither the inclination, nor the ability, to tackle our toughest challenges.  Meanwhile, businesses were saddled with ever-rising health care costs; the economy was weakened by ever-growing dependence on foreign oil; our investment in cutting-edge research declined; our schools fell further short; growth focused on short-term gains and fueled by debt and reckless risk, which led to a cycle of precipitous booms and painful busts.

And meanwhile, too many in Washington stood by and let it happen.  Now, after so many years of failing to act, there are those who now suggest that there’s really not much the government can or should do to make a difference; that what we’ve seen in places like Troy is inevitable; that somehow, the parts of our country that helped us lead in the last century don’t have what it takes to help us lead in this one.  And I’m here to tell you that that is just flat out wrong.  What we have here in this community is talented people, entrepreneurs, world-class learning institutions.  The ingredients are right here for growth and success and a better future.

These young people are testimony to it.  You are proving that right here in the Hudson Valley.  Students here are training full time while working part time at GE Energy in Schenectady, becoming a new generation of American leaders in a new generation of American manufacturing.  IBM is partnered with the University at Albany; their partnership in nanotechnology is helping students train in the industries in which America has the potential to lead.  Rensselaer is partnering not only with this institution but with businesses throughout the Tech Valley.  And early next year, Hudson Valley Community College’s state-of-the-art TEC-SMART training facility is set to open side-by-side with Global Foundry’s coming state-of-the-art semiconductor plant.

So we know that Upstate New York can succeed, just like we know that there are pockets in the Midwest that used to be hubs of manufacturing — they’re now retooling; they’re reinventing themselves.  We know that can happen.  We know that in the global economy — where there’s no room for error and there’s certainly no room for wasted potential — America needs you to succeed.

So as we emerge from this current economic crisis, our great challenge will be to ensure that we don’t just drift into the future, accepting less for our children, accepting less for America.  We have to choose instead what past generations have done:  to shape a brighter future through hard work and innovation.  That’s how we’ll not only recover, but that’s how we’ll also build stronger than before:  strong enough to compete in the global economy; strong enough to avoid the cycles of boom and bust that have wreaked so much havoc; strong enough to create and support the jobs of the future in the industries of the future.

Every industrialized democracy funds research and training to supplement and support private industry and its future innovation – its future viability.  Upstate New York needs some direction and a strategy to rise out of its perpetual recession.  Lots of politicians have come and gone, promising to change things.  Maybe someday the promises will turn into action.

Sam Hoyt on High Speed Rail Part II

10 Mar

We can watch this in the wake of the Governor’s announcement yesterday of a $10.2 billion high speed rail plan for the state of New York, stretching from Niagara Falls, through Buffalo, and out to Albany, from where it will then branch out to Montreal, New York City, and Boston.

I don’t think this is a silver bullet that will suddenly transform upstate New York into a new boom area. If anything might do that, it will be our supply of fresh water. What HSR may do, however, is let people have an alternative method of intercity transportation that is faster than driving, and more convenient than flying. I thought that Roaring Republican here had a couple of good ideas. There is a travelers’ sweet spot there, and with the right system built right, we could very well hit it.

As long as we consider it in those terms, rather than as some silver bullet, the less we risk it being our version of the Simpsons’ monorail, and Buffalo becoming North Haverbrook.


Sam Hoyt on High Speed Rail

9 Mar

This is the first in a set of videos that WNYMedia.net‘s Buffalo Geek and Marc Odien shot last week with Assemblyman Sam Hoyt explaining why high speed rail in New York State will not become Failrail.

Given the massive hassle that air travel has become, traveling at 125 – 150 MPH between, say, downtown Buffalo and 34rd & 7th does make some sense.


Meanwhile, near Utica

3 Feb

We in Buffalo need infomercials like this, please God:

Now THAT’S how you sell leather!

HT Sully