One storm’s avalanche of worry
Albany’s hierarchy can be frustrating, especially when it comes to the weather worries that spanned from Long Island to Western New York earlier this week. Conditions, as evidenced by major lake-effect snow events, are rarely the same in one region to the next.
So distressed was state Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the potential impact of winter storm Stella on the metropolitan New York area, he brought Department of Transportation workers downstate — from here and other parts of upstate — to help.
By Wednesday, Cuomo held a press conference in Binghamton noting that region was likely hit the hardest.
“Here in Binghamton and Broome will be 100 additional large plows on the way, there are 100 additional National Guard on their way, so that will then free up the city and the county and backfill them and actually add to their capacity, which will allow the travel ban in the county to be lifted to just a weather advisory with the additional resources coming in,” he said.
Ironically, some of those displaced workers may have left the Binghamton area to assist with efforts in the Big Apple.
But while Binghamton was digging out, others here were just downright frustrated. Schools were closed for Tuesday on Monday night when there was barely a dusting of snow on the ground. Cuomo’s call for a State of Emergency for all 62 counties basically was an order to superintendents — and municipalities — to shut all unnecessary services.
One of our OBSERVER reporters made a call to the National Weather Service when closings began to ramp up despite the minor cause for alarm. The meteorologist then went on a tirade of how this is Western New York, we can deal with what was coming. There was no need to close anything.
Even Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz got in on the action, noting the emergency was unnecessary. “Our department of public works eats these types of snow storms for breakfast,” he Tweeted on Tuesday.
It did worsen later Tuesday, but it was nothing most of us could not handle. Schools, which closed for two days, might have been impacted the most by the governor’s action.
But that is the price they must pay. Most of our small districts with less than 700 students, remain in operation thanks to 65 percent to 75 percent of their hefty budgets being paid for by state aid, which gets endorsed by our governor.
If they have a problem with his edict, maybe they should start refusing Albany’s financial help in making ends meet.
You cannot have it both ways. If you are gladly taking funding from the state capital — for a fiscally failing district — then you need to heed the governor, even when he may be overreacting.
John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to email@example.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.