Consolidation: “We Shall Not Be Moved”

Bully “an aggressive person who intimidates or mistreats weaker people”;

Bully Pulpit, platform a position of prominent authority that gives the holder a wide audience, e.g. a political office.

Sometimes bullying takes form in aggressive measurable actions that people can easily recognize and witness, then there’s the kind of psychological “bullying” that’s tantamount to shoving a policy down the communities gullet. The elation over the award of $500 million dollars in a competitive search for “the best regional plan” has been replaced with shock and awe.

Syracuse-Onondaga has received a poke to the ribs, a wink of an eye and the use of the bully pulpit to force a structural relationship. It’s as if we’re in a lost episode of,  The Beverly Hillbillies where Syracuse got Onondaga Mae Pregnant and they’ s got to get married. Everything short of a shotgun, oh wait; “click”, ammunition is being loaded.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

According to reports, if our community rejects the Consensus Commissions’ options for consolidation, Governor Andrew Cuomo has let it been known that the $500 million dollar economic development package may be in jeopardy of being yanked.

Yanking funds punishes this region for not agreeing to a consolidation plan proposed by many of the areas financial stakeholders. Poor people have been used as chum to bate funds, once funds and jobs materialize those whose poverty attracted these funds never see the fruition of any tangible economic opportunities.

While the period for discussion has been extended from its original March 16th deadline into May, there’s a sense of urgency from those who are in favor of this Syracuse- Onondaga union.

click on image to enlarge

click on image to enlarge

The fruits of regionalization would be our collective economic development strength. It’s not just the $200 in annual savings to homeowners. The new region would have the ability to attract businesses that have avoided the area in the past. Promises are made to locate jobs within 5 miles of the areas most underemployed areas, such as the city of Syracuse.

With an African-American community ensconced in poverty, a five mile journey without a car or dependable public transportation might as well be a five hundred mile excursion.  There are no rock solid promises or deals that mandate placement of these government funded, new industries within city limits. The record of locating new living wage employment within the city has produced abysmal results for the African-American and Hispanic communities.  Why should we trust big government now?

The economic carnage has practically devoured African-American and Hispanic population of the city of Syracuse.  Burdened with the reality of deeply embedded economic development problems, CenterState CEO took the lead in this quest to save Central New York.

Map of Syracuse's extreme poverty

Map of Syracuse’s extreme poverty

We’ve watched for over 20 years various members of the African-American community ask CenterState CEO for some type of support for minority initiatives. Anemic efforts were made by CenterState CEO, until there was a pot of $500 million dollar gold at the end of the development rainbow. Now, all the things that were previously not done with the African-American community are now under the jurisdiction of CenterState CEO.

Upon examination this wedding cake is half-baked; the frosting on this celebratory wedding cake is uneven.

What happens to a city that is on the verge of becoming diverse enough to elect majority African- American and Hispanic representatives? As we are statistically moved into the county, the African American community could disappear politically. The city of Syracuse is reduced to becoming regional political after-birth appended to a much larger, more affluent base.

Perhaps the real winners would be the citizens of Syracuse and Onondaga County by rejecting this shotgun wedding sending a message to Albany, the Onondaga County Executive and CenterState CEO that, “we shall not be moved.”