Saturday, March 15, 2008

Short takes ...

Florida for sale ... Apologies for going missing the last week or so. Did I miss anything? But more on that in a moment. I just returned from the Tampa-St. Pete area where I travelled to watch the Cazenovia Wildcats baseball team open its season against other northern college teams that, for the most part, hadn't even gotten out of doors until their trip south. My son, Tim, is in his third year as a pitcher on the Wildcats and it's always a joy to watch him and his buddies play. While in the Bay Area, I was surprised to learn that it is one of the regions in the U.S. most adversely affected by the current mortgage crisis. There are almost as many "for sale" signs as palm trees; the real estate market is struggling as badly as the now 2-6 Wildcats! Coming from a northeastern city that's had decades of economic and public relations problems, I assumed that Florida and other tourist destinations were booming. But, not so. In my view -- and I am far from an economist -- if beautiful Tampa Bay is in trouble, we all are. President Bush: It's a recession. Really! Read a book. State of chaos ... Like all New Yorkers, I was stunned and disappointed in the way Eliot Spitzer went from being a political VIP to a punchline for late night comedians. Who am I kidding: Everyone had a Spitzer joke by the end of the week. Anyway, the Schenectady Daily Gazette ran two thoughtful pieces on today's op-ed page. Froma Harrop reminded us that Spitzer -- for all his faults -- did get some things done ("Let's not forget all the good that Spitzer did"). Harrop focused on Spitzer's accomplishments as attorney general -- "Spitzer offended a lot of people who needed offending. And he fought for the unconnected at a time when our so-called leaders in Washington could not care less. for that, Spitzer deserves a parting salute: He was on patrol when almost no one else was." I would add that, as governor, Spitzer also spearheaded an historic investment in public education, recognized higher ed as a vital component in upstate's revitalization -- and was creative in how he supported that -- and, though I'm no fan of his property tax cap -- was serious about lessening the tax load for most New Yorkers. Not a bad record, though it won't be how he'll be remembered. Meanwhile, the always insightful E.J. Dionne looked at Spitzer's successor ("Don't underestimate Gov. Paterson") and gave us all hope that we'll soon have a true public servant who can bring us all together and move us past this national embarrassment: "Spitzer turned Albany upside down. Paterson will try to change it from the inside out. New Yorkers may welcome a governor who is less adventurous, as least in certain respects." I think I'm safe in saying, we're all hoping that's the case. Good luck Gov. Paterson.


Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to excuse Spitzer for what he had done to his family and to the State of NY. Explaining all my reasons would just be a repeat of what so many have already said.

I will be honest though. I recall how he fought AOL for underhanded business practices.

Being that I am a person with computers as a hobby I had many friends call me asking for help trying to cancel the internet service provider AOL and they couldn't. They were billed over and over again after cancellation and never got their money back until Spitzer went after AOL.

Sounds like a small thing but many of these folks who I became aware of are on fixed incomes and $25+ a month is a lot when you are living on social security and or pensions.

Anonymous said...

Frank our hopes that Patterson would have a higher moral code is dashed.

As a leader I hope he will do better.