Did Someone Say Appalachia…

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So let me get this straight – when Eliot Spitzer likens Upstate New York’s economy to Appalachia – it’s a slur.

But when Assemblyman Joe Morelle says virtually the same thing a month earlier (as a rebuke to a rosy picture of the Upstate economy painted by an Empire State Development Corporation official) — well, then no one is bothered.

Spitzer’s link of Upstate’s economic woes and Appalachia is a problem.

But when the lead sentence of a 2004 report by an affiliate of the New York State Business Council says "Is Upstate New York going the way of Appalachia?"– well, that’s no biggie. (This item is contained in a report by Albany correspondent Karen DeWitt )

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Daniels was among the GOP folks offended by the remarks (or at least his spokesman was). I suppose the man who once was New York State’s alternate to the Appalachian Regional Commission ought to weigh in on this. I guess.

Republicans are making this out to be akin to when 1982 gubernatorial candidate Ed Koch talked about upstaters wearing gingham dresses. Koch, of course, was talking blithely about upstate – characterizing it. And doing it falsely.

Does the same sense of falsehood come through with Spitzer’s comment? Ask Sandy Parker, our Rochester Business Alliance president. I’m sure those who want to see a serious debate about curing Upstate’s economic ills are thrilled about this debate over the applicability of "Appalachia."

Far be it for anyone to suggest that this is the political equivalent of throwing anything against a wall to see if it sticks.

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