OK, so maybe we’re so down that we’re seeing “miracles” everywhere, but I wasn’t the only one pleasantly surprised by Joanie Mahoney’s abruptly announced decision to flush the Armory Square sewage treatment plant, which hit the news on Saturday. A rare headline that makes you feel like it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood and that maybe wonderful things can happen after all. More reaction at Sean Kirst’s blog.
Would the Midland sewage plant (and the uprooting of an entire neighborhood) have been similarly stopped if Mahoney had been county exec when the decision was made? Well, I wouldn’t go that far with the optimism over a new vision for Central New York. One can retroactively, uselessly wish that that would have happened, but we’ll never know.
The Armory Square news was a surprise, but in a way, not a surprise. In covering the NYRI controversy, I once wildly speculated that New York Republicans, desperately searching for political traction, might delve deeper into green issues that the hidebound New York Democratic establishment wouldn’t touch. True, it’s been a fad for upstate Republicans to greenwash everything they do these days — every big groundbreaking involves the cutting of a green ribbon, and every tax break is written down in the ledgers in emerald ink. But there’s been less enthusiasm for allowing scientists and environmentalists to say anything. I think Mahoney really does care about doing things differently, but tying green innovation to the concerns of small business owners (bars and shops in Armory Square) also could be a way of getting back to small-business-friendly Republican values with a new twist.
Will other Republicans get on board, or will Mahoney be painted as a lone ranger? Joanie, don’t look back – “something may be gaining on you.”