How pathetic are New York's economic-development efforts? Well, state officials were just caught illustrating the programs' "success" with a photo of seven huge construction cranes ... in South Africa.
The Associated Press discovered the misleading picture in the Empire State Development's first annual report, released this month. Not only was the pic of a scene in Cape Town, it was from 2010, the year before Gov. Cuomo took office.
At a minimum, the glitch speaks volumes about the competence of the hacks running Cuomo's economic-development show.
Worse, it raises the suspicion that relevant photos would underwhelm: After all, several of the projects Cuomo's built now sit half- or even totally empty.
The report's words were plenty misleading, too. It bragged, for example, that New York's "economy has steadily expanded since 2010," citing unemployment that fell to below 5 percent in 2017, down from 9 percent in 2010.
Except that the state's joblessness rate often lags the nation's. It was 4.6 percent here in December and 4.7 percent in November, for example, compared to just 4.1 percent nationwide for both months.
And while the city's economy has been strong, western and northern New York are dying, with young people moving away (or giving up on looking for work) because jobs are so scarce.
The report boasts that Cuomo's Buffalo Billion is creating "an environment conducive to private investment and job growth in Western New York." But the truth is that the $1.5 billion spent on the program has arguably led to more corruption than jobs: As two New York Federal Reserve analysts noted last October, "job growth slowed to a crawl in Buffalo" in early 2016, and Rochester actually lost jobs.
Fact is, for all the billions in taxpayer dollars Cuomo spends on "development," New York's economy — particularly upstate — is severely underperforming.
For that, thank his high taxes, heavy regulation, fracking ban and energy policies that drive up costs for businesses and residents.
A fake photo is the least of it.
— The New York Post
If ever we needed Mister Rogers, it's now.
And, happily, we'll get him. Well, sort of.
Fred Rogers, that affable TV personality whose love for children was certainly a reciprocal deal, died in 2003. Children's TV hasn't been the same since.
But this year is the 50th anniversary of this friendly neighbor's first TV appearance, and it's being celebrated with a PBS special next month, a new postage stamp, a feature-length documentary coming out this summer and plans for a TriStar Pictures production, "You Are My Friend." And who better than the versatile Tom Hanks to portray the beloved icon.
Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, produced the pioneering TV program at a Pittsburgh PBS station in 1966. It went national two years later. Few can forget that opening scene where he made a gentle entrance into his TV home, removes his jacket and changes into a mom-made zip-up cardigan sweater — one now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution — before taking off his shoes and slipping into a pair of sneakers, all while singing the theme song, "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." Rogers composed it — and all the music on the show — himself.
"No one has come along like him," actor John Lithgow said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "Everything is based on high stimulation. He really was exactly the opposite. He had such a sense of children's' developmental needs. And I think that's under assault these days."
That's especially important in today's world.
But it's not so simple anymore. Parents today often struggle with ways to explain what's happening in our broken world, and despite our best attempts to shield and protect little people some of the terrors we face, it's sometimes unavoidable. Kids not only say the darndest things, as the late Art Linkletter said, but they also hear the darndest things. And they ask the darndest things.
One can only surmise how Fred Rogers would address the tough issues and put them in pint-size context. But he would do it. There was no one like him.
— The Utica Observer-Dispatch
School resource officers can play a vital role in a school district in addition to providing an additional layer of safety for school children and staff.
Knowing this, it's difficult to dismiss a suggestion by the New York State Sheriffs' Association to provide at least one state-funded school resource officer in every grade and high school throughout the state. The association's proposal, though, needs some work before it can be seriously considered.
Assuming a $50,000 salary, it would cost roughly $237 million to place one state-funded school resource officer in every one of the state's 4,750 public schools. Add the state's 2,000 private schools means adding another $100 million to the program. That's a huge financial commitment that the state may not be able to make — which is part of the reason the school resource officer program bloomed years ago before fizzling out. As dollars got tight, the funding agencies pulled out and left the financial burden on local school districts to pay.
There is a way to help pay for the positions, but we're not sure if there is political will to do so. Remember, we know that the Panama and Clymer school districts are leaving $1.4 million in savings on the table by not merging. That $1.4 million would pay for a school security officer in nearly every school building in Chautauqua County. We're sure there are similar cost savings possible throughout the state, but again doubt the political will to make such a decision.
Let's also not pretend that simply having a deputy on school grounds is a panacea. There was a deputy on the grounds of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, and 17 children are still dead. If this proposal from the state Sheriff's Association moves forward, the deputies would need to prove they are capable of the type of work necessary. School resource officer positions can't just be for show — the deputies would have to be willing and able to stop an active shooter situation.
— The Jamestown Post-Journal