What is the County Legislature?

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the March 29, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Every so often we hear reports on the evening news about the County Legislature or the County Executive doing this or that. Most of us just continue eating our dinner and wait for the sports. On the other hand, we listen intently to the network news whenever the anchor discusses matters from Washington D.C.

Why is it that we show less concern with the legislative body which has a more immediate impact on our everyday lives? Continue Reading “What is the County Legislature?”

The Apolitical Blues

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(Apologies to Little Feat)

[This Commentary originally appeared in the February 22, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259“Politics must be avoided. Politics leads to trouble. Politics remains the domain of the greedy deceivers who can’t make it in the private sector. Politics should be shunned by all proper people.”

So go the thoughts of the typical citizen towards the professional which includes our government leaders. Where does this conviction originate? Why do most people view the political world with such disdain and mistrust? Why do honorable persons circumvent a discussion at the first Continue Reading “The Apolitical Blues”

Japan Inc. Buys the Moon

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the February 1, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

 

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Born in the 1960s, I might be called an Apollo Child. The term, of course, has nothing to do with any astrological myth. It aptly describes that first generation which fully expected to read of space travel as history, not as science fiction.

The intricacies and loftiness of heavenly flight glorify the post war success of America. NASA drove into our psyche the thirst for reaching ever upward. No problem – no matter how complex, no matter how new, no matter how large – lacked a solution.

Please don’t misjudge this zest for youthful idealism. While one can almost always solve a problem, one must recognize all solutions have a cost. Sometimes we simply cannot Continue Reading “Japan Inc. Buys the Moon”

Extreme Centrism

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Warning: If you’re a Republican or Democrat you probably won’t like this essay. If you’re a self-described “centrist” you’ll downright hate it.

On December 13, 2010, hoping to offer a “third way,” a group (ironically) labeling itself the “No Labels” held its inaugural convention in New York City. Call it the 1131328_99750835_road_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300blue-blooded elitists’ Cocktail Party response to the red-blooded Cletus-ts’ Tea Party. Unlike the out-from-nowhere built-from-the-group-up political force of 2010, however, this group appears willing to use the power of publicity to build an organization from the top-down (at least according to the New York Times).

Unfortunately, after featuring an “A” list of political names, the initially favorable publicity fell away when it was discovered the “No Labels” party apparently not only Continue Reading “Extreme Centrism”

A New Metric for Elected Officials

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Quick, off the top of your head, what is the fourth (soon to be third) largest city in New York State? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not Syracuse.

FortuneCover1951.07_Made_in_Buffalo_300G. Scott Thomas wrote a story (“Buffalo slips to 70th in city population,” Business First, November 22, 2010) that both concisely states the problem and suggests the single most important metric we should hold elected officials accountable for.

But first, the story, and how it defines the problem.

Some, as the Business First article intimates, say Buffalo hit its highpoint in 1900 when it ranked as the 8th largest city in the nation. This figure, however, misleads. The nation had not yet quite filled itself out and some of the western cities were just getting started. These western cities had natural growth advantages and one could argue the 1900 ranking placed Buffalo too high.

The more accurate apex would be July 1951, when Fortune magazine featured “Made Continue Reading “A New Metric for Elected Officials”

New York Governor’s Race: A Corleone Election

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OK, I just watched the debate. Rather, I just listened to the debate. Here’s what I’m convinced of: With all due respect to the minor party candidates, it’s pretty 1947 ink blue family carclear the matter of who will serve as New York State’s next governor comes down to a choice of these two characters:

Sonny Corleone
– or –
Michael Corleone

I guess that would make the sum total of all the candidates Fredo “You’re dead to me” Corleone.

But about the two main characters, the metaphor is so juicy we’ve got to wonder if Coppola isn’t in the wings writing the script. On one hand there’s the crude hot-headed thug whose wild passion constantly gets him in trouble but, in the end, probably will Continue Reading “New York Governor’s Race: A Corleone Election”

Is Social Media the Key to a Better Government, a Better New York and a Better Western New York?

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I’ve been meaning to write this for a while – maybe years – but I’ve been too afraid. I’ve been too afraid people would see the idea as crazy. I’ve been too afraid people 15141_3708_ethernet_router_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300would fail to believe the problem exists. I’ve been too afraid people would read politics instead of common sense. In a phrase, I’ve been too afraid.

And, I admit, I’m still a little afraid. With today’s culture in the noose of political correctness, it seems any misplaced modifier has the power to send one to ruin. Ruin, I am told, is not a very good place to visit, let alone live in. Perhaps it’s because it rains there every day.

Whatever the case, on the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia. Well, maybe not the City of Brotherly Love, for it has become the City of the Blogger Levy. According to the Continue Reading “Is Social Media the Key to a Better Government, a Better New York and a Better Western New York?”

Civil War and the World Economy

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the June 29, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Surprisingly, my immediate reaction to the Chinese student demonstration this past spring had me questioning their tactics. I feared, in their quest to move things more quickly, the young protesters would spark a hardliner response. Ironically, their daring deeds would lead to one giant panda step backward.

Change, it seems, occurs most easily if done from within. Unfortunately, neither the students of Tiananmen Square nor their Continue Reading “Civil War and the World Economy”

Chaos and Opportunity on Capitol Hill

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the June 15, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259A few weeks ago many of you read about Pete Rose and Jim Wright on this very same page. Well, folks, I admit to you now, the closest I ever got to correctly predicting the future was when I played the role of the Soothsayer in our eight-grade production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. (Remember him? He only had two lines, both identical: “Caesar, beware the Ides of March!”)

OK, so I was wrong about Wright (the jury’s still out on Rose). Boy, was I wrong! I was Continue Reading “Chaos and Opportunity on Capitol Hill”

3 Reasons to Never Resort to a Panel of Experts

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I sat in on a lecture at a prestigious enclave recently. The guest speaker enthralled the audience with an exciting and informative lecture. As with all good speakers, he left the audience wanting by giving them a question to ponder. One by one the members of the audience – all certified experts in the subject matter – rose to offer commentary and ideas. More of an outsider, and certainly without the credentials of all 1259922_90458881_light_switch_panel_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300others, I mulled over my own thoughts. A mortal fear the esteemed scholars would laugh me out of the room should I ask a stupid question kept me at bay. Here’s what I did instead.

I listened.

Set aside your first thought (i.e., “there are no ‘stupid’ questions” – we’ll get to this later) and instead focus on the opportunity provided by foregoing my own ego and simply listening to these intellectual chieftains. In my sedentary yet attentive state, a profound idea stuck me.  It exposes a problem that represents the biggest sin every policy maker Continue Reading “3 Reasons to Never Resort to a Panel of Experts”