Editorial Roundup: New York - InfoNews

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Editorial Roundup: New York

August 19, 2020 - 11:15 AM

Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from New York’s newspapers:

Roll Out Red Carpet To Entice Amazon Site To Our County

Post-Journal

Aug. 15

For years Chautauqua County residents have been hearing about the importance of technology jobs as the next wave of economic development in our county.

The news, first reported by Buffalo Business First, that several Chautauqua County sites are being considered by Amazon for a distribution centre could be our foot in the door to the distribution giant and the supply chain-related businesses it brings.

This is an opportunity we must not miss.

Grand Islanders had concerns about pollution and traffic that were not quelled with Amazon’s offer of $10 million in road upgrades, bike trails and a new community centre.

Here in Chautauqua County, there is plenty of space for a 3.8 million-square-foot facility that would employ some 300 construction workers and 1,000 full-time workers after the facility opens. The Grand Island facility was to generate $31 million in annual payroll and $51 million in property tax revenue over its first 15 years.

There will be some in our midst who will argue that Amazon should receive no tax breaks or incentives. Those who make that argument live in the wrong state. New York’s rules, regulations and tax structure make it necessary to have incentives to get a company like Amazon here.

Amazon is the type of well-heeled, deep-pocketed business that we need here after previous tax incentive-laden deals with companies like Castelli Cheese fell apart because we were throwing good money after bad development deals.

Amazon is as sure a bet as one can make. The possibility of $31 million in payroll, coming at a time when so many companies are closing and when so many small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open, outweighs the tropes about tax incentives and PILOT agreements.

We applaud County Executive PJ Wendel for quickly instructing county development officials to enter the mix when it became apparent there were issues in Grand Island. Now, it’s up to those officials to come up with an offer that will get Amazon here. We have plenty of sites that would work. There is a much-discussed Ripley development site that is near I-90 and shovel-ready. Jamestown has plenty of space if money can be found to raze some old buildings. Frankly, it doesn’t matter where Amazon goes. The project is a benefit to county residents wherever it could end up.

Chautauqua County — both its development officials and residents — needs to roll out the red carpet for Amazon if we are indeed in the mix. Our county may not have this opportunity again, so seize it with both hands and don’t let go.

Online: https://bit.ly/3aQFUCB

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Accuracy essential with history

Plattsburgh Press-Republican

Aug. 15

Now, finally, America is starting to tell its history the way it really happened.

As schoolchildren, few of us learned much about slavery or lynchings. We didn’t read about the atrocities committed on Native people by Christopher Columbus and his soldiers, who employed violence, slavery and forced religious conversion.

Most everything in our history books was taught from a European viewpoint.

But Native Americans and Black Americans have been pressing for the true stories to be told, and changes are being made.

No matter where you stand on tearing down statues to Confederate generals and other proponents of slavery, surely you must see the value in teaching children America’s actual history, with all its beauty and blemishes.

In Plattsburgh, a group of volunteers worked for several years to devise an interpretive panel, just added to the Samuel de Champlain Monument, that would include the role of Native people as guides and trading partners to the famed explorer. It also explains that the sculptor mistakenly gave the Native guide a headress that wasn’t worn by Northeast tribes but by people from the western plains.

Massachusetts, site of the Pilgrims’ landing, has to grapple with trying to preserve the triumph of those Europeans overcoming adversity while also, for the first time, telling more about the effects on the Wampanoag, the tribe encountered by Mayflower Pilgrims when they landed in Provincetown Harbor and explored the east coast of Cape Cod.

Provincetown Museum just reopened with an exhibit called “Our Story: The Early Days of the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims Who Followed,” which is described by the director as more historically accurate, and as educational, not insulting.

Another enlightened exhibit on Cape Cod, at Heritage Museum in Sandwich, now explains how a group of Europeans lured Natives onto their ship and seized a few of them to take home to show the people of their homeland.

Heritage Museum also explains that Congress’s official seal, E pluribus unum (“Out of many, one”), adopted in 1782, recognized the opportunity and the challenge of creating a new nation from a diverse citizenship.

In post-Revolutionary America, it notes, citizens were still divided by slavery and regional interests amid rapid industrialization. And westward expansion resulted in conflicts with the Native populations.

“As the country has grown from scattered small population centres to a country spreading across an entire continent, the democracy established more than 200 years ago has been tested,” the exhibit reads.

“As we continue to face new challenges, our ability to overcome our differences and engage in civil discourse will continue to be tried.”

All across America, museums are seeing their social responsibility to tell this country’s story from the perspective of varied races and religions. North Country museums should consider changes and new exhibits, as well.

Revealing America’s less-than-perfect past will enhance, not inhibit, this nation’s continual effort to develop a more perfect union.

Online: https://bit.ly/2Q48Mxo

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Cuomo’s new book, like all by public officials, should bypass early payments

New York Daily News

Aug. 19

We have all lived through the harrowing down and up of how coronavirus ambushed America’s biggest city, killing thousands before millions of New Yorkers learned how to thwart the monster and beat it back. These pages, in print and electronically, are the first draft of that history.

Books are the second draft. And Random House’s forthcoming October volume by Gov. Cuomo, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is a chance for Cuomo to tell the story as he sees it. Where’d he find the time?

There’s plenty we admire about the governor’s steady hand as we descended into the depths of death and slowly and painfully climbed our way out. We may buy a copy to read how the feds and President Trump failed to warn us about the virus, then fumbled the response.

While Cuomo was right early on mandatory masks, will he be candid about how New York took too long to blow the bugle, and about clashes with Mayor de Blasio? Will he answer still-burning questions about thousands of deaths nursing homes?

But there’s another concern for now. Cuomo’s deal likely includes an advance — a big pre-publication payment that may or may not be recouped by the publisher in sales. His last book didn’t come close to recovering it.

Advances are cash from a corporation, in this case a massive German conglomerate. Better to let sales alone determine author fees. And if there is an advance, give it to charity. Millions of New Yorkers are hurting.

Online: https://bit.ly/34emhmt

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The failure of ‘remote summer school’ is an ill omen for NYC’s fall classes

The New York Post

Aug. 17

When it comes to the city’s remote-learning program, something — or more accurately, someone — doesn’t compute: Too many students failed to sign on for their online classes this summer.

This bodes ill for the coming school year, when all city public-school students are to do at least some schoolwork remotely.

Department of Education figures show that nearly a quarter of students who were required to attend online summer-school classes never signed on even once.

“It was such a choppy beginning — we lost a lot of kids,” Stephen Lazar, a teacher at Manhattan’s Harvest Collegiate HS, told Chalkbeat. “We were just set up to fail.” A week into the summer school program, at least 43,224 hadn’t logged in.

This, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s firm promise (after this spring’s dismal experience with online instruction) that kids would enjoy “unprecedented learning” over the summer. Ha.

Connectivity and access issues, particularly for poor kids, played a role. Some teachers fell down on ensuring students participated. Kids had teachers who didn’t know them or their learning styles. And all those hurdles are sure to pop up this fall.

Let’s face it: Even for students who do participate, computer classes rarely match the benefits of in-person instruction.

“As a parent,” de Blasio himself said last week, “I would say my kids are not going to get educated if they are all remote. It just won’t be as good.”

Which is why he’s been insisting on at least some in-person class time for those who want it — and without delay. The evidence behind that position keeps building.

Online: https://bit.ly/3h7Quaq

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Lend Freely at a Subsidized Rate

The Wall Street Journal

Aug. 18

Walter Bagehot’s famous dictum that central bankers should lend freely at a penalty rate in a crisis is as quaint today as the Victorian age in which he lived. Now the policy is to lend freely at a subsidized rate, especially to politically preferred borrowers.

That was the case Tuesday when the Federal Reserve bought $451 million of notes sold by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The Fed bought the paper after the MTA, which is losing even more money than usual during the pandemic, turned down bids from private banks.

Bloomberg reports that the Fed charged a true interest cost of 1.92%, “resulting in savings of over 85 basis points compared to the public market levels,” according to an emailed statement from MTA spokesperson Tim Minton. That’s a nice rate if you can get it, and not every borrower can. The MTA is a political powerhouse backed by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the Minority Leader who could be in the majority next year.

The news underscores how much the Fed has leapt over guardrails in the pandemic—to the extent that it is acting almost as an alternative fiscal agency. If the MTA can’t get more cash from the Treasury, and it’s already received $3.9 billion, the Fed will offer concessionary terms.

The central bank is also taking on riskier debt than it did during the 2008 financial panic. This is the Fed’s second loan to a state or municipal entity after Illinois said it would borrow some $1.2 billion after discovering it would have to pay a penalty rate in the private debt markets. Given the fiscal condition of these borrowers, the Fed should be charging at least a market rate. But this is politics.

Online: https://on.wsj.com/2Ygt5w8

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News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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