Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why we can't have nice things

I wish I knew why local politicians can't figure out that they're soiling their reputations -- and that of their communities -- over truly insignificant banter.

Continuum Generation in Photonic Crystal Fibre. Photo by
Jean-Christophe, Michel, Delagnes (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 4.0  via Wikimedia Commons
Ongoing disagreements between a low-level state Assemblyman and the leader of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute threaten to erode support for the much-lauded American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics in Rochester, if you listen to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The AIM Photonics Institute, funded with state and federal dollars, may bring thousands of jobs to New York's Finger Lakes Region. But, if you listen to the Governor, the squabble places the project at risk.

I want to believe that greater Rochester has the ability to rise above petty disputes over projects that might strengthen the area's choppy economy. But it took more than 10 years to secure federal funding and a real plan to build a new train station as local leaders argued over whether it should include a bus garage.

And it took several years of notorious Rochester haranguing over a combination transit center/community college/performing arts center before the project was scuttled.

Bickering. Squabbling. Pointless arguments. All working together to create an image of a town where infighting and egos prevent Rochester from growing beyond its limitations.

I don't care for churlishness, especially when it involves grown adults who promised leadership but instead argue like children in a schoolyard. I'm even more embarassed when Governor Cuomo raises attention for such silliness with editors on a statewide media call.

Ask in Albany, Buffalo, or Binghamton: what's Rochester reputation? I suspect I won't hear a positive response.