Originally Posted by jbertol2
Good infrastructure. Roads are in good condition. I can attest to this, as I've been all over Western and Central NY. No, they're not perfect. But significant decay has been a rare observation in my travels.
Don't get me wrong here. I don't mean to make upstate out to be heaven. But I believe that the many people who make it out to be hell are way off base. This area has many great assets, and I truly think that people will begin to value them more and more as they are exposed to the lifestyle of the sunbelt cities.
I agree with a lot of what you say--and yes, there is great potential here.
the problem is, that when people think of "infrastructure" they usually limit that theory to a common form of it--roads, bridges, transportation, water..basically public works. Yes..you are right...all of these items are well run.
However, on another level of "infrastructure"--a sort of blending of Barthes Foucault and Gramsci, Infrastructure
can be considered a miriad of differing things, like the relationships beteween production.
Q.1.) In these relationships you have things such as social existence
of the population --what are the living conditions like for even the poorest working families in the community?
Q.2.) How is the economic infrastructure
of the community? Are there enough lower, middle and higher jobs for
everyone.. or are the lower-middle and lower classes fighting it out for what's left in a darkening economy?
(PLease folks--don't rant that I'm smashing classes or being an elitist-- by definition, the middle class in the US often ranked at about the 100K level, depending on the area of the US you're looking at, the average educational level, and the official cenus line for "poverty"... No one ever likes to hear that) the jobs I'm talking about are UNDER the 50K level (with working 2 adults in a home, making that much each, that would take the family into "the middle class". Sad to say, some K-12 teachers don't make this much. ... The next time you feel like blaming teachers for schools, recall that they're in an honorable profession, doing thankless work, for nearly NO money!!!)
Q.3.) What's the ideological life
of the community like? Is there a vibrant art community? Is the public educational level in each little community of the whole on par with better public schools? Do people speak out when injustice or inequality are pointed out? Is the community as a whole striving for a well-rounded community and willing to do a fearless look in their own backyard (and outside it as well)?
Q. 4.) What are the channels of communication
between different groups like in the community? Are there groups which are severly underrepresented in "voice" within the community? Do differing social, religious and ethnic communities interact on a regular basis?
These are the above aspects that I see lacking in CNY.
Ans. 1.) Social Existence
: There is poverty here like I've never seen it, and violence statistics to boot. NYSCASA (NY State Coalition Against Sexual Assault) ranked Onondaga County as having the highest reported incidents of rape in the state--higher than any in NYC! And the really odd thing--this statistic isn't confined to inner city. Onondaga County is large, and a lot of these reported incidents come from the 'burbs.
Ans. 2) Economic Infrastructure
- they're trying, yes, they're trying. But the jobs aren't here. Over and over I've watched politicians and community leaders speak to the brightest and finest that Syracuse and surrounding communities are turning out, and they *practically beg them*: "Don't leave after you graduate! I watch the stony faces of young people who can't be convinced, and even worse--some who almost laugh and say "Are you kidding? I'd love to stay...but where could I work? I've got to eat!"
Ans.3) Ideological life of the community
- The arts are very needed here, and there's not enough. Further, because of the pricing of most art venues, it's not accessible to a lot of people. yes, yes, you can get $15 Symphony tickets...but if you're a poor kid in a rural or inner city area...Just how are you ever going to get to these places to have your horizins broadened? But these kids have a lot more to worry about..
As for schools... I'm only going to say one word: SHEA. Schools can be closed down, not because they're in disrepair, but because of TEST SCORES!!! That's because of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Friends call it "No Teacher left Unscathed"--in essence it's a big federal stick that comes out and beats down the schools that are in trouble...not that such a response helps...but we've let the school get to this point. The responsibility isn't on the students, the teachers, the adminitration or even the parents. It's on US. THIS IS OUR COMMUNITY. When the social infrastructures aren't working it's OUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Ans. 4) Channels of Communication-
This is the worst aspect. The segregation between groups (social, religious, ethnic) is horrible. Perhaps the ONLY asect in which CNY seems to be keeping up with the times is in the LGBT forum--politicians, local govt and various LGBT groups (SAGE, Stonewall, Empire Pride, to mention only a few) have formed strong coalitions and have good communication. Ther are alliances which cross over invisible boundaries...after a while, there are no "boundaries"... But in terms of race relations? Ooooooooohhhhh, this is (shaking her head) the saddest of all. The place where it could probably happen would be through religion, but the churches here do not seem as ecumenical as they present themselves.
I'm can't name off the solutions...that's complex stuff. I do know, however, that by pointing out a few things, (and btw, admitting there actually IS a problem here and there) that CNY, and specifically Syracuse, can become a place that people are envious of. That others know as a place of forward thinking, well run, vibrant, and strong in *all* aspects of infrastructue (not just roads!) I would love to take a vacation, wear a Syracuse shirt and have people walk up and say "CNY? Now THAT's the place to live!"