December 1, 2013

Local activists the best at getting things done

My friend and colleague, Paul Grasso, elucidated eloquently about how communities thrive. He noted that there is a greater sense of community in our region now than perhaps at any other time in recent memory. I cannot agree more.

There must be something in the water. I could not count on two hands the number of new initiatives and new people that have come together to improve our collective lot.

These efforts include Vision 2040 and its successor, Vision2Action, the Saranac River Trail, new efforts in the creation of county-wide recreational opportunities, the fishing tournaments, First Weekends, the Arts Council and the Strand Theater, the Zombie Walk, Rotagallery and numerous other initiatives and activities that draw our community closer.

Most of these ideas were mere dreams half a dozen years ago. All of these initiatives are already wonderful works in progress. And each of these efforts make our community more attractive to those with tourist eyes or those who may contemplate moving here.

What is happening now that was not in 2007? Much has changed in half a dozen years.

In 2007, we received our first warnings of economic doom. Few heeded these warnings, and the messengers were treated like the host who takes the punchbowl away just as the party gets going.

Then, the bottom fell out of an economy that had soared to great heights but with no visible means of support. There were plenty of people to blame, from banks too big to fail to the 1 percent, from local and state politicians who made promises to employee groups that were simply unsustainable, and from an inept and infighting Congress to a newly elected president.

Well, those banks and insurance companies too big to fail were bailed out. And, we bailed out states under the pretence of fiscal stimulus. In retrospect, these policies, and a set of knee-jerk regulatory changes, failed to either rid us of the recession or prevent another one from happening in the future.

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