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PAUL GLOVER ESSAYS: community control of food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, education, finance.

Here's Why
Ithaca, New York

by Paul Glover

Are you considering doing business in Ithaca, New York?  Not only is Ithaca located in the rust belt of notorious New York state, with high taxes, high utility rates and over-regulation, but it has the following special distinctions: Environmentalists here have stopped construction of four-lane highways essential to moving goods and workers.  Ithaca is the only metropolis in this state isolated from the four-lane network.  Bicyclists clog the streets during rush hour "mass bike rides" to protest automobiles!

Desperate for room to move through this narrow valley, business interests were able only to gain modest enlargement of the main arterial, whose "design year" (when traffic is expected to clog again) is only ten years away.

Take to the air?  There is only one airline at the airport, and the only courier service recently pulled out.

Might you want to manufacture something 'someone could regard as harmful?  You might want to speak with Therm, which manufactures jet engine components, about the damage to reputation they endure from constant picketing, prayer vigils, and bad press.  Self-appointed environmental "activists" will snoop around your property looking for toxic discharge.

You might want to interview other local industries about public attacks on their racial hiring policies.  African-Americans are virtually excluded from employment in industry and government, and are scarcely visible, even in retail.  This creates explosive social conditions.

Ithaca has the highest crime rate in New York State, outside New York City.

You might want to ask M & T Bank about the welcome it received in 1994, when its racial lending policies were a matter of public debate.  "Socially Responsible Investing" is quite the rage too, with Cornell now being subject to a critical review of its portfolio.

You might want to ask Wal-Mart, Taco Bell and McDonald's why they have either closed or not opened stores here.  The renegade population prefers home-grown shopping, and has been quite hostile to several chains.

Nearly every store selling something "objectionable" has been picketed. 
Even one of the local shops was shut down after two weeks of picketing for "unfair labor practices." 

Try to fire someone-- there is an army of slackers demanding higher wages.  Since Tompkins County's rate of unemployment is the lowest in New York State, try to HIRE someone!  Unruly smart-aleck student "workers" are backed by the Tompkins-Cortland Labor Coalition.  The Human Rights Commission is ready to defend the defenseless. 

Who are these Ithacans?  They are "knee-jerk obstructionists," according to Mayor Alan Cohen, and they've made life miserable for a generation of respectable people.

They have physically destroyed a bank (1972), sabotaged construction sites and billboards, smashed laboratories at Cornell, stolen military documents.
They have combined into dozens of "activist" 'organizations.  For such restlessness Ithaca was honored by the leftist publication Utne Reader as "America's Most Enlightened City." 

Perhaps the police could control this?  Ask cops what they think of the Police Community Review Board, which arrests officers for "abuses."  During the Persian Gulf war, radical judges refused to prosecute radicals who took over the IRS office (the IRS office has since moved away to Syracuse, for your convenience).

Perhaps public officials could exert a stabilizing influence?  Today, every City Council member is a radical disguised as a "democrat."  The winner of the 1988 Democratic primary was Jesse Jackson.  The socialist mayor for eight years was narrowly defeated by a Perot fanatic, because the socialist was not considered radical enough!  Even Ralph Nader did very well here in 1996.  The Tompkins County Board of Supervisors has burdened business with the highest sales tax in the region: 8%. 

Perhaps the bureaucrats could calm things down.  But like everything else, red tape is redder in this town, and planners steer construction and consultancy contracts to a handful of buddies.

These people are so contrary that they have set up their own independent bank, independent markets and unions, and even print their own money!

Maybe you could handle all this. You'd like raise your family in a small, wholesome city.  But were you to visit the downtown Commons with your children, you'd be subjected to curses and abuse.  Try to relax at home, and find your kids tuning in raw pornography on the local cable channel.
Send your kids to public school and they'd come home preaching love for nature.  One of the high schools, in fact, allows its students to set policy and define the curriculum.

Your own home is not safe: there are frequent angry marches of "underpaid" union employees through Cayuga Heights, our loveliest district.
So maybe you'd escape to the countryside for a rest.  Surrounded by wild soggy forests full of mosquitos and rabid raccoons, your family is likely to bump into gangs of nudists in state parks.

This is a country backwater, remote from serious culture.  Like to dress well?  This is the land of slobs.  Suits and ties are openly laughed at. 

Take solace in religion?  Listen to pagan drums sounding from the hills. 

There's still the cheerful sun, though, 51 days yearly-- fewer days than Seattle.
This friendly warning is provided by
Free Enterprise Alliance of Ithaca.
The following article was intended to discourage hordes from suburbanizing Ithaca's surrounding farmland.

Ithaca Welcomes Escapees
from Dangerous Big Cities

by Paul Glover, 14850 Magazine, March 1993

Wealthy people fed up with New York City are going to relocation seminars and being told that Ithaca, New York is one of the ten best cities to move to.  We're proud to say that's true, if you like living in a dank swamp on an earthquake fault surrounded by forests full of rabid raccoons and mosquitos.  The sun shines here once monthly, for a couple hours.  Ithaca offers floods, ice storms, slush, insufferable humidity and temperatures either too hot or too cold.

The roads to Ithaca are some of the most tortured and dangerous in the state.  Traffic and parking, squeezed onto narrow streets, are as impossible as in any big city.  When you get here you'll find highly educated people selling hamburgers, and babysitting to survive.  You'll either work for poverty-level wages at the university or start your own business in an already overcrowded market.

Ithaca offers the highest crime rate in New York state outside New York City.  Famous murders of suburbanites are common.  Your kids can watch drug deals in the public plaza, which has all the charm of  prison yard.  Punks and gangs curse at respectable people.  Drunken college students are always driving onto lawns.  Big city street lunatics have gotten here before you, and are waiting for your handouts.

The police don't bother anyone because they've been handcuffed by ultraliberal government.  The socialist mayor and New Age/feminist city council don't allow crimes to be punished.  Half of council is controlled by the eco-radical Green Party, so nothing gets built and dead trees area not removed until they fall over and kill people.  Tough unions have got industry running scared.  Teachers are always on strike.

Ithaca's culture is deadly, too.  New movies get here three months late, and steep hills block all but one TV channel.  There's no theatre, historic buildings are torn down for office space, half the stores on main street are boarded up.  Nothing happens after 10pm; there's a curfew after midnight.

We're a nice place to visit, though.  Our fall foliage and waterfalls are very pretty, and we have Moosewood restaurant.  Please come spend your tourist dollars.  But remember, Ithaca is already full of people who tried to escape big cities, who are now trying to escape this little one.

There are a lot of business people who actually want do do well by doing good, and they'll be welcomed and supported here.  Ithaca's a beautiful place to relocate, if you're here to contribute rather than exploit.  Otherwise we're a tough town.  Glover points to pickets of military contractors, and the closing of several chains.  He continues, "This campaign announces our determination to put an end to City Hall's destructive tradition of importing capital to provide dull jobs in big box factories on wetlands-- whose anti-union companies virtually exclude minorities.  Such development actually costs the City more than it brings in, when you consider expenses of new road and infrastructure building and maintenance, greater traffic, extra police time."
He concludes, "It is City Hall alone which benefits by an indiscriminately expanded tax base.  Staff salaries rise, and they can move to suburbs, beyond the mess they've made."
"There are thousands of jobs here generated by small local-serving and export businesses, based on our local creativity, and our enthusiasm for the region."

Among the opponents of conventional industrialization and suburbanization are those who built AFCU, GreenStar, Farmer's Market, Sciencenter, Ithaca HOURS, Daycare, Eco-Village, etc.

Higher taxes: if development and expanded tax base made this city richer, your taxes would go down.  But they don't.  City Hall thinks you're stupid.
More paving in floodplain: damage to flooding, plants, animals, migratory birds.
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