Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Governor Pataki, may I buy you a map?

A lot has happened in the last eight years.

In 1994 I was a junior in college in Ohio. (I was one of those who fled but returned)

I was majoring in Political Science and spent my free time talking about politics with the seven other Democrats at my university.

I was gainfully employed as a dishwasher in a family restaurant.

I had just met my wife-to-be a year earlier.

I was an assistant residence director (a rule enforcer, believe it or not).

And Mario Cuomo was governor of New York.

Now, I was never a big Cuomo fan, mind you, although my dad liked him just fine.

In the eight years since, I got married, had two beautiful daughters and have had several jobs.

The restaurant that I worked at burned down and has since been converted into a fitness center.
I flipped burgers for three years (and ate far too many as my weight has gone from 180 to two hundred something).

Ran for office.

Twice.

Got crushed.

Yup, both times.

Sold Kirbys (literally door to door).

Sold office products.

Worked as a stringer for a large daily.

Got a full-time gig at a very small paper.

Lost my dad and moved back to New York.

Got a job at the Union-Sun & Journal (in circulation).

A good job opened up in the newsroom circa July 2000. I (somewhat reluctantly) took it.

Quickly I was reminded why I went to college in Ohio.

Despite six years of new political leadership under Gov. George Pataki, New York was in worse shape than when I left.

The governor started making frequent trips to Niagara Falls, and talk of a casino as a real, genuine, we're-not-kidding-this-time thing started to emerge.

Well, that's great for Niagara Falls, but what about Lockport?

I was having discussions at the time with a gentleman who told me that the governor would be coming to Lockport to unveil the greatest Christmas present we've ever seen.

It was going to be like Frankenmuth, Mich., only bigger. And better.

But then the announcement was moved back.

And delayed.

And ...

Well, anyone who had heard about the Christmas wonderplan should know that it's just one of many dreams that will go unfulfilled.

Now, I don't know who killed Christmas. I'm sure it wasn't the governor, although it could have been.

All I know is that I'm still asking the question.

What about Lockport?

I understand that a certain state senator's office has compiled a list of presents that Gov. Pataki has doled out to the Lockports (city and town) and they exceed $40 million.

That's nothing to scoff at, that's for sure.

But forgive me for not being overcome with joy that the money we pay in taxes actually came back to us as services.

Maybe the governor could have taken $1.29 of that $40 million and bought a map that told him how to get to Lockport.

Because in all the time that Pataki has been in office, he has never before visited Lockport.

But he's here today.

At least, he's supposed to be.

All things in a governor's schedule are tentative.

But the schedule said something like this: "Lockport. Train stop. Remind voters that McCall and Golisano are both liars."

Well, thanks, George.

Glad to see you care.

Don't let the door hit you in the caboose on the way out.

And we'll see you again in eight years.