There’s Optimism, Then There is Denial.

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Rochesterians have, for too long,  received platitudes that sound sunny when it comes to the local economy. Even as Kodak downsizes… even as people leave the area for work.

That’s why Sandy Parker’s address was a needed clang of the bell.

Earlier this month she told the Rochester Rotary Club during her annual speech: "This year I’ve struggled with optimism. You ask why? It’s because we are in trouble."

On WXXI’s Need to Know program this Friday, we sat with Parker and asked her about the reasons for making such an address. Take the 10 minutes or so it requires to listen in (just click here). You’ll hear what she believes ails Rochester and Upstate… and you’ll also hear what sounds like some fairly bold proposals – like exempting Upstate New York from onerous laws.

Some will question Parker’s motives. She has an agenda called "Unshackle Upstate" – and there are those who believe she’s using this dire picture to push forward that agenda.

But does it matter? Isn’t it time that Rochesterians faced up to the facts of the region’s economic condition and began conversing about possible remedies?

Also take a listen to another Need to Know interview This one is with John Perticone, a labor leader in the Rochester area. His answers show just how complex it will be simply to reform New York State laws – and where the battle lines are drawn. You can listen to his interview by clicking right here.