What Does Stuart & NYC Have In Common?

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What does Stuart have in common with New York City?
At first look, it would seem not much. There are blocks in New York that seem to have as many residents as all of Stuart. There are no tall skyscrapers here, unless you count four stories as a skyscraper. And, while one is known for the hustle and bustle, the other is not. NYC is the “Big Apple” and Stuart is “the best seaside town.”
What they do have in common is a supposed dislike of anything new.  Any change is met with skepticism and foreboding. Just look at what happened with Costco here and Amazon there.
Both Costco and Amazon were offering to set up shop and provide relatively high-paying jobs for each area. In both instances, the NIMBY and “government by tee-shirt crowds” were right there to protest the new. A few politicians brought the rhetoric to demagogic heights of untruths, including economic guru Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Never mind that the majorities of citizens in both cases were in favor of the projects.
The United States is now in a world of alternate facts. Anyone can have his/her own reality. Instead of basing an opinion on provable statistics, when those statistics get in the way of what we want to believe, then we go with the heart and never the head. If it is economic, then apparently very few people (including our elected leaders) can remember that without taxpayers, there are no tax revenues. You need both sides of that equation to operate government.
So, in New York, Amazon is a dead deal. It died because the business was only providing $150,000 jobs to those who were qualified and would not commit to provide jobs to those who weren’t. You can’t be a tech employee if the extent of your knowledge is playing video games.
There are some serious problems with infrastructure and transportation that need to be addressed in Long Island City, the chosen location for the Amazon project. The state and the city should have committed to spending the bulk of the $3 billion slated for tax credits to funds for improving local infrastructure. That would have been much more palatable to existing neighbors and Amazon’s new workforce which would have overwhelmed the roads and public transportation in the area.
Politicians are not known for bravery. They may want to do what is right, but, when any opposition appears, they cave. Once in a while, a few elected officials will have a stiff spine even if it means not being re-elected. But as we have moved away from elected office being a civic duty to a lifetime job, showing fortitude can be an expensive proposition.
New York City has closed the book on Amazon. For all its supposed big city sophistication, they blew it. They allowed the clamoring few to rule the day. Stuart hasn’t quite definitively lost Costco yet. It may still come back. Costco may still want to provide some good-paying jobs that, in our case, can be performed by the bulk of our workforce.
Our local elected officials should run and not walk to be of assistance. They should not be throwing up roadblocks and demands that are not rational or economically feasible. The City does not have $3 billion in “giveaways” to give away. Nor should municipalities trip all over themselves to do so. At the same time, the City staff and Commission need to see businesses as economic partners, not the enemy.
Stuart has a chance to do something that will enhance the City and Martin County. We need to embrace the new and seize those opportunities. To be a city means to have development and economic progress. We are not a museum set in time. Stuart began as an economic and residential hub of the County, and we should want to see it become that again.

Copyright © 2013 Thomas F. Campenni. All Rights Reserved. Phone: 772.287.5781