In My Opinion

November 7, 2012

In My Opinion: Public involvement needed to fulfill vision

Our community recently completed the fourth Vision2Action forum. Its conclusion reminded me of how our democratic process depends on an engaged community.

At the end of this political season, it brings to mind a myriad of reasons why these forums are so important for our community. Let’s reflect on the origin.

The concept began over lunch six years ago. Conversation centered on apparent inefficiencies of government, school systems and taxes. We needed to make changes, but decisions could not be made on opinions or assumptions — we needed facts.

The Development Corp. and SUNY Plattsburgh professor Colin Read started collecting data about our local demographics and trends. This effort confirmed our concerns and forced us to conclude that unless we changed these trends, we would fall off our own financial and community cliff.

Armed with these facts, this group began to organize the first of three Vision 2040 conferences. The challenge was to ask attendees how they envisioned the community in 2040, a year when very few of them would be here, so their comments would have no effect on the vision the attendees would have.

The hundreds invited to these three conferences were community members from all walks of life.

At the first session, Colin Read presented a most sobering fact about our state and our region: The current demographic of the area indicates a static if not decreasing birth rate, a ballooning rate of college-age students, an immediate decline of the working age 24 to 60 (earners) and a huge increase in the Baby Boomer population as they reached retirement.

The results were typical of a declining economy, where the size of the remaining earning group is insufficient to generate the taxes necessary to support the increasing social and economic demands generated by increasing retirements. This trend would accelerate the rate of citizens departing the area.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
In My Opinion
  • In My Opinion Follow Vt. lead on prescription drugs

    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently called attention to a national crisis when he dedicated his entire State of the State message to address what he called Vermont's "full-blown heroin crisis," writes John Coppola of New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Inc.

    March 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Rail companies must take action

    I write to commend emergency response officials in Essex County for taking a proactive approach to the increasing number of freight trains carrying crude oil through our communities on the Canadian Pacific line, as described in the Feb, 23 article, "Essex County developing disaster-response plans as rail traffic grows," writes Rep. Bill Owens.

    March 4, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Communal energy conservation urged

    Recently, several articles appeared in the Press-Republican about the City of Plattsburgh's electric rates and energy policies, writes SUNY Plattsburgh assistant professor Curt Gervich.

    March 3, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Support gave boost to broadcasting

    As many of you know, this is my 40th and final year of broadcasting Plattsburgh State Cardinal Hockey, writes WIRY broadcaster Ducky Drake.

    February 20, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Prison closures will increase danger

    In January, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision released its annual report on the state of New York's prisons, writes NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe.

    February 18, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Everyone must commit to end smoking

    Smoking-related illnesses will cause 5.6 million children alive today to die prematurely unless smoking rates drop, the latest Surgeon General's Report says, write no-smoking advocates Glenn Pareira and Kendra Gertsch.

    February 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: The right approach to youth sports

    Another youth basketball season is upon us, writes Town of Ellenburg Youth Director Chris Brooks. Local counties do a great job of organizing these leagues for our children to be able to participate and learn skills at a young age.

    January 8, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Fair evacuation plan needs review

    A year has come and gone with another great professional job done by our Clinton County Fair management, putting on its best yet entertainment.

    January 7, 2014

  • In My Opinion: New care models for aging population

    Our communities are experiencing a growing percentage of older residents, who are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to health-care decisions, according to the administrators of local nursing homes.

    December 24, 2013

  • In My Opinion: Respect diversity of gender November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States -- a time to celebrate the diversity of gender that many Americans, and especially many New Yorkers, share.

    November 25, 2013