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Exactly where does upstate begin?

Am I the only one who thinks our first-term Democratic governor is ... uhmmm how shall I put this ... a bit geographically challenged? Is it me, or does his interpretation of where the northern portion of our state begins and the southern portion ends leave a lot to be desired? Sure, Gov. Spitzer grew up in the Bronx. Sure, Yonkers could be considered upstate from there. But should it be called upstate? Nope. No more than Albany, Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse should be. Places like Massena, Malone, Plattsburgh, Ogdensburg and yes, even here where I sit in little ol Elizabethtown are upstate. The others are midstate at best. Never before has the definition of upstate become more unclear than under our current administration in Albany. Take, for example, the fact our native New York City governor chose to give the first ever state of the upstate speech at Buffalo State College. Buffalo? I am no student of latitudinal distance, but from where I sit Buffalo isnt a whole lot further north than where Spitzer delivered his state of the state speech in Albany. It may even be a shade further south. And guess what? The $1 billion Spitzer promised to pour into upstate communities during his state of the upstate speech is earmarked nearly entirely you guessed it to upstate locations like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. The three of us have a real problem with that, Sen. Betty Little said last Friday during a legislative breakfast in Plattsburgh. Little was referring to fellow upstate legislators Teresa Sayward and Janet Duprey, who were also on hand for the breakfast meeting. Addressing a crowd of more than 200 area businesspeople, Little said Spitzer isnt the only downstate politician who views Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse as upstate. I guess anything north of Yonkers is upstate, she quipped. So why do state politicians insist on drawing the upstate line well below the blue line? The answer is woefully easy to answer. Its because our communities are not among the population centers of the state. Even Plattsburgh at 19,298 residents pales in comparison to a Buffalo (292,648) or a Rochester (219,773). In fact, only 120,000 people in total call the 12 counties of the Adirondacks home. And that, my friends, is why upstate keeps creeping closer and closer to Pennsylvania. I like to call it the power outage philosophy. Take care of your areas of critical mass first and youll enjoy re-election for years to come and a nice fat pension. Ok. So maybe I combined a couple philosophies there. But you get my drift. So, if we cannot be upstaters, perhaps we should think up a new designation to set us apart. That way, the governor would at least know life exists north of Rochester. Maybe the highlanders. Or the justbelowMontrealers. North Countryites would be an obvious one, or we could keep it simple and go with an aged favorite Adirondackers. Better yet, lets take the Albany approach. Appoint several dozen people with no vested interest to a committee to study it ad nauseum. Then hope people forget about it until the next budget cycle. Like property tax reform.

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