Dog and pony

Melissa Stagnaro

I’ll be honest, I never heard of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation before I received the invitation to attend its president and CEO’s presentation at Commerce Chenango last week. Matthew Driscoll, who served two terms as mayor of Syracuse before being appointed as head of the agency, was tapped by Governor Andrew Cuomo to visit Chenango as part of our esteemed gov’s People First Tour.

How or why exactly Driscoll was selected to visit our county is an unknown. Perhaps it was because, given his Onondaga roots, he could actually find us on the map.

Driscoll himself seemed a nice enough man. He was kind enough to speak with me at length after the presentation, despite a line of questioning that he probably would have liked to avoid. And I mean him no offense by my next comments. But I have to call it like I see it, and the presentation itself was nothing more than a dog and pony show. Our governor, sending out his minions to effectively “sell” his legislative agenda.

I’m not saying Cuomo’s priorities are out of line. In fact, I support most of what he’s trying to accomplish. I’m a proponent of ethics reform and a staunch advocate for marriage equality. Heck, I’m even for a tax cap – as long as the mandate relief being promised is delivered at or before the policy is put in place. But I resent the governor sending out a representative from an obscure agency (no offense!) to deliver his message. And what I resent even more is the fact that, while at the podium, Driscoll entertained no questions. It was this, more than anything else, which seemed to bother those in the crowd.

I know we have elected officials – like Assemblymen Crouch and Lopez, and Senators Libous and Seward – in Albany advocating on our behalf. (You’ll notice I left Assemblyman Finch off the list. He lost my respect the day I had to convince one of his aides that Bowman Lake State Park was in his district.) But I can’t help thinking that Chenango County and Rodney Dangerfield have something in common.

Neither can get any respect.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.