Apathy and Hot Dogs
Damn it, Albany, we have an image problem. No, strike that, we have a problem-problem. It’s not just image, it’s reality. In a recent Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Survey, Albany was rank 7th in the least friendly cities in America. We’re probably unfriendly because this isn’t the greatest place to live. This morning when I was blow-drying my hair I was thinking about Austin (#5 on the Friendliest list). Before they brought in Nano, everyone was talking about how Austin was a model for Albany’s future. I laughed to myself thinking, how could that be? On its current track, there’s no way in hell that will ever happen, and I’ll tell you why, it’s the COMMUNITY that makes Austin such a cool city. The politicians don’t care about us, the Albany taxpayers that keep this city afloat. I wonder if our high taxes are their way of trying to push us out in order to make us solely tax haven for business. I know a lot of really cool people who live in Albany. And there is a lot to love about our fair city. But it’s not enough. High taxes, political corruption, violence and general neglect all plague our city’s future.
Whenever someone comes up with an idea to revitalize Albany it only seems to involve tax breaks for businesses. That’s why I’m so ticked off about the Start-Up NY tax giveaway that just passed. I sat in at an Eagle Hood Neighborhood Association meeting and listened to Pat Fahey try to justify a vote that basically gave away our neighborhood’s backyard to more tax-free businesses. We live in a VERY middle class neighborhood that pays outrageously high taxes to live in this dying city. And we pay those taxes because the politicians have given away over 60% of the property in this town to tax-free business and government entities. Fahey tried to talk about much revenue ONE professor at Nano brought into the community, except for the fact that she couldn’t tell us how many of those professors actually LIVE in Albany. Let me ask you, if you were a PhD professor would you put your kids in a school with a 50% graduation rate? I’ll save you having to think about it. NO. You wouldn’t. You’d move to cookie cutter Clifton Park and put your kids in Shen. Fucking duh. These people aren’t moving to Albany.
Hey, I have an idea, let’s spend those tax dollars from the 40% of citizens footing 100% of Albany’s tax bill on a CONVENTION CENTER. Because, ya know, EVERYONE is itching to have their convention in Albany. We have awesome attractions and can compete with other fantastic cities like New Orleans because we have a totally unique culture of apathy and hot dogs and that’s way cooler than Mardi Gras and po’boys. Jennings must’ve smoked crack with Toronto’s mayor while watching Field of Dreams if he thought that was a good idea. For fuck’s sake.
You know what Albany needs? To support its community of people. To provide a good education to our kids. To create affordable, safe housing. To support SMALL business, I mean like Cheese Traveler and AOA small. To create a thriving haven for artists, musicians, writers and just plain passionate people. These are the things that are at the heart of the greatest cities in this country. And there is a spark of that happening. It’s funny how a little website like All Over Albany has started to build that awesome community. It’s fostered friendships, propped up small businesses, highlighted cool things happening in the region and created a really nice forum full of thoughtful people who want more for this area. So maybe we’re a part of a new beginning in Albany. We need change. We need a better future. We need to get on Conde Nast’s good side ‘cause that shit is downright embarrassing.