Secesh talk has made it as far as Rochester’s WHAM-TV this week. In a daring break for freedom, conservative talk show host Bill Nojay makes a proposal:
Most people in New York City don’t pay property taxes because they’re renters. Therefore, the crushing burden of property taxes that we feel in upstate is not felt in New York City,” Nojay says. One longstanding proposal that conservatives like Nojay want to revive is the plan to take New York state and split it in two. New York would be comprised of New York City and Long Island with upstate becoming the 51st state under the name “West New York.”
It’s details like this that make me doubtful that “Upstate New York” has a future as a coherent entity unto itself: the proposed name West New York — proposed, naturally, by a Western New Yorker. It’s an inappropriate appellation for a theoretical post-Empire State, a name that surely has no resonance whatsoever to anyone from, say, Watertown, Binghamton or the Catskills. It’s the sort of idea that still betrays how the rest of the state is still split into petty political fiefs. It is not ready for primetime.
I used to think that Upstate New York had a future as a region, but my feelings on that have evolved over the past few years. I find myself increasingly inclined to give up on the idea of any sort of coherent political union across that wide of an area. Central New York’s future is Central New York’s, and I’m beginning to think more and more that it lies along a north-south axis, rather than on the old east-west one (although I can see its relationship with the Mohawk Valley continuing). CNY is not a bad place to be when it comes to communicating with other regions of the state, country and continent.
And I don’t think much of Richard Florida’s “TorBuffChester” concept either – if we’re shopping for buzzwords, I’m still more impressed with “Atlantica” even though environmentalists and labor advocates have raised valid alarms. In fact, the already-joined battle over the future of the Canadian Maritime/New England/Upstate corridor shows that this area has the possibility of someday being a true pressure point (or flash point) of political and economic development. We here in CNY need to be paying more attention to these developments. Meanwhile, TorrBuffChester is just academic concept that is producing no light and no heat, merely the hope for a “new brand.” And in times like these when many are coming to believe that we are facing an economic reordering not seen in generations, we need more than simple rebranding.
Possibly this is me declaring my allegiance to the Judean People’s Front over the People’s Front of Judea, but… well… if I don’t want my region’s future defined by New York City and Wall Street, I’m not so sure I want it defined by Buffalo and Rochester politicians either.