Over at NYCO’s Blog, the “mack daddy” of CNY blogs opines on the top N.Y. State stories of the year, gives links for similar lists from bloggers in Buffalo and the Adirondacks–and basically throws down the gauntlet for us local folks to come up with the Syracuse list. Here goes:
1) Matt Driscoll’s shameful end-run around the Common Council veto of the Destiny mall project. While former Development Commissioner Sciscioli likened it to a fistfight between Jefferson and Hamilton, Post-Standard humor columnist Jeff Kramer had the right adjective: “Nixonian”.
2) U.S. Rep. Jim Walsh lost the vote in the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County–but still kept his seat. Was he gracious in near-defeat? No, he whined about the city’s ingratitude after all he’d done for us poor slobs.
3) Sewage had another big year in 2006. Hidden cost overruns at the Midland Ave. plant project proved neighborhood activists correct–underground storage of storm discharges (and ultimate piping to the Metro facility) was a cheaper alternative–too bad no one listened when County Executive Nick Pirro lied. Opposition to another facility in Armory Square has seemingly disappeared in the face of continued County intransigence. The only successful battle was the final victory over sewage seepage at Fowler High School’s cafeteria–it only took 15 years to fix that problem.
4) Destiny honcho Bob Congel wins a lawsuit against his own tenants at the Carousel Mall, effectively taking back the lease rights he had freely negotiated years earlier. I thought that business-folks held the philosophy of contracts to be sacred? As BlogJosh has pointed out, what self-respecting business owner would want to sign a lease with this bozo now?
5) Eli Hadad–developer, slumlord, mobster–was run out of town on a rail, leaving a trail of decaying buildings, angry tenants and red-faced politicians who had seen him as a savior not too long ago.
6) However, real development downtown is coming in on Hadad’s heels: the 40 Below folks are actually doing something–fixing up the old Wilson Building to serve as a gateway between Salina St. and Armory Square, O’Brien & Gere announced plans to move their headquarters downtown and Centro unveiled plans for a new bus terminal at the corners of Salina, Adams and Warren St.
7) The battle over the the Project Labor Agreement for the biggest public works project this town has ever seen: the rehabbing of every city school district building. Still under the radar, but union folks and builders groups are pouring money into media and consultants. One to watch in 2007.
8) There’s no freakin’ parking downtown–politicians have to come up with deals for businesses threatening to leave without more spots for their downtown workers, tenants in the hot market-rate loft apartments in places like Armory and Hanover Squares collect traffic tickets for illegal overnight parking.
9) No one won in the case of the tragic death of state trooper Craig Todeschini in the high speed chase of motorcyclist James Carncross. The motorcyclist was speeding, the trooper didn’t follow proper procedures for high speed chases, D.A. Fitzpatrick was again a raving, red-faced, vein-bulging, spittle- flecked ASSHOLE. Speed kills.
10) Person Of The Year: S.U. Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “They like us, they really like us!” Town/gown relations are at an all-time high. The Warehouse building downtown, the entrepreneurship center on the Southside, the work of the community geographer. The Connective Corridor is on the drawing board (with a potential ally in the fight to tear down Rt. 81 in the city). Now if she would just change the name to the Ernie Davis Dome. . .