A blog dedicated to the local government, development, and future prospects of the town of Geddes and the Fairmount area.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

One community, many pieces

The Utica Observer-Dispatch has published a wide-ranging interview with influential pollster John Zogby about upstate New York's bleary vision and its strengths. Some of the topics he brings up have to do a lot with how we think about the shared spaces of the Solvay-Geddes and Fairmount areas. Zogby says:

We really have an outmoded system of government. If you look closely at the maps of Upstate New York or really the Northeast you can see the horse and buggy lines, where they were drawn 150 to 200 years ago. I love to tell this story: My mom — I grew up in East, way East Utica, near Proctor Park — from her driveway to Route 5, to the sign that says 'Welcome to Little Falls', is 18 miles on the nose. You've just passed through six school districts and seven police departments in 18 miles. How do you create a vision?

The Solvay, Geddes and Fairmount areas seem like a historical, economic and demographic unit, and writing and thinking about them in tandem seems natural. However, just within this small area, we're dealing with at least three municipal governments -- four, if you wander too far up Onondaga Road! We take little notice of these borders as we cross over them multiple times daily to work, shop and play, but although they're invisible, they're there and they affect all development decisions that are made. How can area residents, local businesses and developers best work with these governments and each other to create an overall vision for Syracuse's mature western suburbs?


Blogger York Staters said...

I find this to be a good point, that the communities here are so fractured. How many Upstate New Yorkers really understand the difference between a village, a hamlet, a town, a school district, a city, a county, a library district and a fire district? If our communities are to be reborn, it seems that some sort of sense needs to be made out of this mess of local government. When people don't understand their local government, it is used as a tool by the greedy, power-hungry and unscrupulous against them. But at the same time, how can we make a sensible system without further centralizing power in Albany (or even worse: Washington)?

11:24 PM

Blogger baloghblog said...

I consider myself fairly educated in politics, but I don't even know the difference (other than it has to do with population levels).

The last thing I think that we would need would be a transfer of local power to the state level. I think that we can figure it out ourselves. I just find it amazing the number of people that get fired up about national issues, that have little to no effect over their daily lives, and will go out and protest, or call their US representative, but then feel too intimidated (indifferent?) to call their local rep, when they have a problem in their neighborhood. Or, how few people go to local elections, when there is more at stake in their daily lives.

Also, I have to admit, I know more about the federal officials stances on issues than I know about the local officials that I voted for in the last election!

7:48 AM

Anonymous NYCO said...

See this Wikipedia entry for a discussion of political divisions in New York State (including the definition of "hamlet").


8:39 AM

Anonymous NYCO said...

Whoops, sorry the URL got cut off.

In two parts, it is:


8:42 AM

Blogger York Staters said...

Isn't wikipedia the greatest project on the internet today? In honesty, that was the same article I learned exactly what the differences between the various political boundaries in NY represent. It doesn't have to be this way, over in Connecticut the county barely exists and all school/fire/library/sewer/etc districts line up with the town boundaries.
I think this problem is part of a general trend of centralization and globalization that is homogenizing not only our communities, but the entire world.

12:06 PM

Blogger baloghblog said...

NYCO, you're great with maps, any chance you could post a map of the area with the boundaries of our towns, villages and hamlets?

(I am a visual learner)

That link to wikipedia on the subject is great. A map to go with it would be wonderful.

3:47 PM


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