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Skyline - featured 220X165Rochester is being left out in the cold.

Governor Andrew Cuomo went to Onondaga County on Wednesday to award $100 million in state money for waterfront development, which includes a $50 million performing arts center.

As Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and even Utica get millions of dollars from the state, Rochester doesn’t even get a mention in the State of the State Address.

As Greater Rochester Enterprise’s Mark Peterson said, “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Could it be that the governor is not happy with his number two, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who secretly applied to the top job at Rochester Business Alliance? Could it be our local elected officials are doing a poor job? What is it?

Keep in mind Rochester gets less state aid per capita that its Upstate counterparts. It’s also forced to give the City School District $119 million a year, more than Syracuse and Buffalo give their schools.

Let’s talk about a┬átheater.

Syracuse gets money for a theater while our last two mayors haven’t been interested in such a project. “If the Rochester Broadway Theater League can raise money first, then we’ll help,” said Duffy and Tom Richards. That kind of attitude won’t get anything built. In order to build something with public and private dollars, you have to have an elected official as a champion. Mayor Lovely Warren has promised to be that champion for a performing arts center at Midtown. If she wants a theater downtown, she’ll get her state money for a theater downtown. RBTL’s current partner, Scott Congel at Medley Centre, does not have anyone fighting for him in Albany.

I like the idea of a downtown Rochester theater a lot better than the taxpayer-backed sports stadium projects for the Bills and SU. A theater would require less public money. Theater patrons spend substantial money in the community, at hotels and restaurants. The arts create a vibrancy in a community that sporting events do not.

Whatever dream project Rochester decides it wants, it seems now is the time to go after it, while Cuomo is in a generous mood.

Assuming he’s not mad at us.


It’s been quite a week in Albany. A second major corruption scandal erupted. First, State Senator Malcolm Smith was arrested for allegedly trying to rig the New York City mayoral election. Then Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was arrested, accused of accepting bribes. A third sate lawmaker resigned and revealed he’d been cooperating with authorities.

Meanwhile, Rochester area state lawmakers insist they’ve never encountered corruption.

Twitter had fun with the scandal. Here’s how the day played out.


Links of the Day:

– Does Albany’s location lead to more corruption? A Harvard researcher, using mathematical formulas, found more corruption in capitals located some distance from major population centers. New York State is mentioned often.

The Daily News reports on the findings:

Lest you think that this is just a matter of corruption, the paper also notes, “We find that states with isolated capital cities also seem to spend relatively less on things like education, public welfare, and health care, and more on administrative expenditures… This seems to suggest that low accountability and corruption induced by isolation do have an impact in terms of government performance and priorities.”

Media matters too, Campante finds. The more isolated the capital, the lower the level of scrutiny (although I’m sure my colleagues in the political press corps here in New York would beg to differ).

The Joe Bruno scandal got less attention in the media than a similar scandal in Massachusetts, the authors found.

– Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. In an important and disturbing story, the Times-Picayune describes a for-profit prison system that treats inmates like commodities:

The hidden engine behind the state’s well-oiled prison machine is cold, hard cash. A majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant influx of human beings or a $182 million industry will go bankrupt.


If the inmate count dips, sheriffs bleed money. Their constituents lose jobs. The prison lobby ensures this does not happen by thwarting nearly every reform that could result in fewer people behind bars.

Baltimore has truly stunning murals painted on building walls. Rochester is getting more of its own murals this summer.

A Syracuse woman left $50,000 in her will to care for her cats.

– Remember the $800 toilet seats? Now there are $17,000 drip plans.

The ancient Olympic games involved a lot of mud, sex and music.