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Credit: City of Rochester


During a visit to Rochester earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo made a couple comments that cannot go unchecked. He told the Democrat and Chronicle:

“Things haven’t look this good in Rochester in decades and decades and decades…Are we bumping up against nirvana? No. But are we better off now than we were four years ago? Yes.”

Is Rochester is better off than it has been in decades? There’s a lot of evidence to the contrary.

According to the New York State Labor Department, the Rochester area hit its peak jobs number in 2000, with 529,800 non-farm jobs. Last year, there were 514,500 jobs.

Unemployment was 3.7 percent in 1990, 3.6 percent in 2000 and 7.1 percent in 2013.

But perhaps the most telling statistic is that there were 522,800 people in the local labor force last year. That’s the lowest number of people since before 1990.

In 2000, the median household income in Monroe County was $44,891. In 2012, it was $52,700. If the median household income had kept pace with inflation, the 2012 earnings would have been $59,853.

Are we better off than we were four years ago? The area was already starting to recover jobs lost during the recession when Cuomo was elected. But during his tenure, our economy was called out as the second-slowest growing in the entire country. Meantime, poverty is up and income inequality has grown.

There are reasons to be optimistic about the future, as well as our area’s tremendous potential. But the governor must have been wearing rose-colored glasses during his visit.

Links of the Day:


– The state spent $37.5 million of Hurricane Sandy relief money on advertisements!

– State Senator George Maziarz is in trouble.

– Child migrants have been coming along to America since Ellis Island.

– Cellphone bans have not made us better drivers.

– Eight charts explain the return of school segregation.

– Teacher tenure also protects good teachers.

– Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets in Chicago. (Same operator as in Rochester.)

– “The fear of predators is part of what’s making kids fat, by keeping them inside, sedentary, and near the fridge.”

– Here are nine outcomes of human cloning.


Tweet of the Day:


5 Responses to Rose-Colored Glasses

  1. July 19, 2014 at 1:55 pm RaChaCha responds:

    To say “things haven’t looked this good in Rochester in decades” is shockingly and insultingly naive. Even as recently as the Johnson administration, Rochester was much better situated due to its pre-Kodak-collapse industrial tax base. Rochester had at least enough tax base for basic things like a capital budget adequate for a regular street reconstruction program. And to afford basic services like sidewalk plowing (while I understand that’s still going on, I can’t imagine the City would start a service like that in its present fiscal condition). And to have the capacity to implement initiatives like NET & NBN. Compared to those days, the present City of Rochester is beggared, and more dependent on Albany and Washington than ever before. But maybe that does — in a perverse way — look good to the guy with whom Rochester has to make nice to stay afloat.

  2. July 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm Biker Bob responds:

    I”m 57 and Rochester and this whole country has NEVER been in worse shape than it is right now. Nuff said.

  3. July 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm Orielly responds:

    People need to wake up!
    We are the highest tax area in the country.

    DO you really think there is not enough money to repair the roads and maintain the bridges? There’s not enough money to keep the canal open?

    Come on, there is plenty of money, our politicians choose to use it elsewhere and then have the audacity to say they have no money to fix bridges… IS there any thing more important to us than a safe bridge to travel on?

    Don’t let them get away with it.

  4. August 16, 2014 at 12:53 am D. Lake responds:

    Cuomo is in an election year, what do you expect him to say. Rochester is hurting big time but we won’t get much love from Cuomo because Rochester has a strong conservative contingent who won’t support him and are divisively vocal about it. I’ve never seen this county/city so divided by politics and if we don’t work as a team it will only get worse. Your income statistics don’t show the reality as the wealthy are doing quite well here but the wages for entry to mid-level jobs is seriously low. As an example: a job I worked at 25 years ago pays less now for the same job within the same company and that’s not even taking into account inflation. Sadly we have a large group of uneducated semi-retirees who earned ridiculously high wages years ago at Kodak, Xerox, Rochester Products, etc. that have no compassion for the kids who work for a tenth of what they earned (taking into account inflation). Those same people were great when they were making $28 per hour on an assembly line. But now they whine because they have to pay their own health insurance and Obamacare forces the kids to pay a large chunk of those ageing peoples premiums. Surely you see this in your industry too Rachael? Work that was once done by three in the media business (Ex. WHEC Reporter has no crew) is done by one and the pay is pitifully low for the technical proficiency needed to do the job. So how does a city stay great when there is no consideration for the kids starting out, a large population of working poor, and the upper 2% control a corrupt system that’s rigged in their favor? Let’s ask Detroit! I hope Duffy comes back to run for the county position next year. He’s one of the few who has vision and the strength of character to break the status quo here in Rochester. With the right leadership our city could someday be great again.

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