The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Friday, February 10, 2006



We finally watched Mayor Tutunjian's State of the City Address on that cable access channel. A few observations.

- Public speaking often tops the charts of anxiety studies. It also tops the charts in polls of what people most fear, often beating out death as the number one fear (which must make eulogies a bitch*). Harry is clearly uncomfortable speaking in public. He looked like a fifth grader about to spoil his pantaloons while delivering a book report. He obviously dislikes speaking in public. We don't know if it's because he's bad at it or if he's bad because he doesn't like it.

Harry, from the heart, a few tips:

1. Where's the fire? No pun intended. We're sure that 90% of the people present were there to hear your speech. Slow it down, take your time, have fun with it. Those people weren't there to watch the City Council meeting. That was, if possible, more dull than the speech.

2. Make eye contact. Stop reading the damn speech. This was your chance to communicate with an audience of actual people. Talk to them, not at them. If you're going to read the speech you might as well have copied it and handed it out at the door. Example: That story about the couple from New Jersey. You know that story, you don't have to read it. Have some self-confidence and tell the story.

3. Three words: Hooked-On-Phonics.


On the grants: as we said earlier, we think bringing the grants 'in-house' is a promising idea. Removing layers of bureaucracy is rarely a bad thing. It looks like CEO and TRIP have some things to say about the administration and it won't be pretty. Still, Harry has asked HUD for permission to bring funds "in-house" and their answer will probably not depend upon the efficiency of CEO or TRIP.

We know they're doing it to consolidate power, dole out patronage jobs and pad the budget but that doesn't mean it won't be more efficient. That's the sad part.


Back to the 'Couple from New Jersey' story. Nice story, good plot, happy ending. Except, the entire premise is wrong. People are not moving to Troy. Don't believe us, check out the projected Census data from 2004. It has been projected that Troy now has less than 48,000 people. Troy, Albany and Schenectady continue to lose population. East Greenbush, North Greenbush, Brunswick, Saratoga Springs etc. keep gaining population. Troy is not the place to be. Alas, the northeast is not the place to be. According to actual facts (as opposed to political cant), Arizona, Florida, Texas, Nevada and New Mexico are the places to be, or at least the places where people are going. Why wasn't this hard truth addressed? For every "New Jersey" couple, there are many more stories of people leaving. Plus, we're not sure we want people from New Jersey moving to the area. Have you seen the way those people drive?

This leads us back to the TRIP-CEO issue. What seems lost in this picture is the fact that people are not debating how to spend new revenue created by a blossoming private sector. They are debating how to spend money gathered by the state or feds through taxation. That's particularly alarming. Instead of finding new revenue sources, local municipalities are merely grabbing what they can from other layers of government. That's a strong step towards socialism. Would Troy be able to balance the books without grants from the State or Federal government? No.

Yes, Troy has wonderful architecture. So do other places. Troy is in many ways a wonderful place to live. Well, there are hundreds of other wonderful places to live in the northeast. They're dying too.

Harry should cheerlead for Troy. That is part of the job. Just don't take it too seriously. Troy needs visionary leaders that are prepared to discuss hard truths about where the state and city are headed. They also need leaders that understand that things must change if Troy is to to do more than merely survive. As long as we keep electing political lighweights who appoint political hacks, Troy is going nowhere. Maybe it's time to turn to those in the private sector for leadership. People who haven't spent one minute leeching off the tax payers.

*We may have heard that one on Seinfeld.

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