The Deal Is Bad; The People Are Not

An email came into us today...

September 28, 2015

Subject- The deal is bad, the people are not
Date- Mon, 28 Sep 2015 19:20:00 -0400

Dear Senator Griffo, Assemblyman Brindisi, County Executive Picente, and Mayor Palmieri,

Due to the letter that is going to hit my Blog later at 8 this morning, I thought it important to reach out to you and make sure my motives are not hijacked. Some people who have read the 8 am letter are worried about this possibility. It is important we all know where we stand.

I do not hold any of you responsible for the Downtown selection. It sounds like you got caught up in the moment. That happens to people. I know it has happened to me in the past when I served as a staff member or a speech writer.

The problem is as I have described, and will continue to describe on – and elsewhere – this plan kills tourism, disrupts small business growth, and robs children of their educations. Even though it does all that, I will still be voting for Mayor Palmieri and still supporting Assemblyman Brindisi. This is a difference of opinion, not a betrayal. I will still criticize the County Executive for trying to reduce the property tax instead of the sales tax. I will still point out where I think Senator Griffo is wrong when the need occurs.

What I will not do is become some kind of Nimby person. This is about unintended consequences, not some “citizen review” fetish. We all must remember that if 3 or 4 members of the Zecca crew get elected to the Common Council, it will not matter where we put the hospital since all growth will come to a complete stop anyway.

We must also remember that while CEO Perra made a number of offensive comments, he is another one that needs how to lie, he is just a CEO selling a bad deal. He is certainly not a Frank Tallarino type playing with ballots, threatening to pimp women out, and entertaining under age sex workers. Members of the MVHS Board are decently successful so if they get messed with in order to make a point, it is really no harm done.

So I would like to lay out what is about to happen and then make a request. First, I am working on a response to the Op-Ed that was written for the 4 of you which will appear on next week’s blog. I am familiar with the collective talent of the 4 staffs involved so I am somewhat surprised that the Op-Ed was so weak. Oh well, that happens.

Following that, somebody on the “no” side will ask someone from your team to debate. I understand if as elected officials you let someone else handle it. That always makes sense.

However Senator Griffo there was that time you called me a “keyboard coward” on the radio. I sent you a letter asking for a debate and you never responded. To get me over my hurt feelings, you could make up for that now. I promise to put on a good show.

The debate should take place inside one of our schools. If we are going to steal from the kids, everyone should learn how and why in a place of learning. However, that is not the only role the kids will play.

Expect to see Youtube videos of kids asking you not to do this. I expect our social media campaign, especially since dominates search the way it does, to be a little more advanced. Since I will probably attract a greater audience than any of your sites or the OD, I did include a media kit. That way, you can buy ads promoting the downtown location right next to my stories condemning the location. I think that is both fair and balanced.

I did have a meeting in Albany on Saturday with outsiders who do not like the deal. I guess they thought they were going to get $350 million. In politics, that happens. I certainly want us to get it but not at the cost of ruining tourism and small business.

Two County Legislature meetings ago, Mr. Frank Duross and I got into a conversation. As you know, he owned the Providence Bruins so he is very familiar with Newport. He was asking me based on Newport’s 3.1 million visitors per year, what did I think Utica could do. I see a Utica of the future that attracts 900 thousand to 1.1 million visitors a year. If you drop the hospital in the downtown where it does not belong, that number changes rapidly. Not in the good way. You also kill the “loft apartment market”. What are you going to tell people who invested in loft apartments “on spec”?? Don’t they deserve better than this??

However, you may not believe me. Therefore, I will be reaching out to the tourism professionals, all of whom are against the deal, I talked to all day yesterday. I will ask them to make statements on the record opposing the deal. Same with business people from thriving small business environments. When those statements trickle in, how do you think that will look?? The answer is not good.

This is not done to embarrass any of you. It is being done because you’re about to make a major mistake and cost us God knows what over time.

Now for the request. Please refrain from talking about tourism. The County Executive has tried this twice now and anyone with any experience knows he is just making it up as he goes. Your staffs just do not have enough tourism experience to provide you with appropriate talking points. This is not a criticism since everybody cannot be good at everything. It is just the reality. The people on your staffs have not had enough tourist “reps”. Trying to suggest otherwise just provides fodder for punchlines.

So if we all treat each other with respect and keep it from getting personal, we will all survive this conversation. If the Master Plan, I will happily provide you copies of Newport’s Master Plan and Harbor Plan, were what it should be, we would not be having this conversation. Even though the downtown location violates the Master Plan, you cannot use the Master Plan to fend it off since the Master Plan is such a mess. So instead we will have to do it this way.

For my part, I will try to keep the ruckus down to a minimum. Wait a minute, who am I kidding?? I love ruckus. Well, if nothing else, the good people of Oneida County will be entertained.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert T. Oliveira, 763 Mary Street, Utica, NY

No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown