Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Did lawmakers watch the Olympics?

Following the announcement this week that the state Senate is proposing to slash $6.6 million from the Olympic Regional Development Authority, I'm wondering if Betty Little passed the word about our local Olympians along to her fellow lawmakers.

I know, I know. The economy sucks. The state's fiscal situation sucks. I get all that.

But in Buffalo, the state is about to spend $800,000 on two double-wides for conjugal visits. If the economic situation is so dire, why are we spending close to one million dollars for inmates to get it on?

In February, we proudly watched as Vermontville-native Bill Demong captured an individual gold and a team silver at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. He got his start at the jumps in Lake Placid.

Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey proudly represented America and the Adirondacks at the games this year. They both got their start at Mt. Van Hovenburg. I know, because I skied there with them.

Now, ORDA Board of Directors Chairman Joe Martens says the proposed cuts would force the closure of all facilities. Read Jon Alexander's story here.

Here's my problem: timing. How out of touch is the state Senate that they would consider cutting the legs from underneath ORDA not even a month after ORDA athletes shined at the Olympics?

The legislative budget looks to spend $136 billion in 2010-2011. ORDA needs $6.6 million to keep these facilities open. Not exactly a drop in the bucket, but if the state can help relatives visit CONVICTS in Buffalo, I'm pretty sure we can move some funds around and save the facilities, which are as much a part of our Adirondack community as Mount Marcy and the AuSable River.

Jim McKenna at the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism has supplied this list of legislators, complete with contact information. Tell them not to gut ORDA's budget.


  1. I'm quite certain that the Democrats were very aware of the Olympics and the importance of ORDA to North Country economy and politicians.

    This is a message being sent to Senate Republicans. Of course, when you are in negotiations, you look for advantage anywhere you can.

    We are just pawns in a big political game right now.

  2. TourPro --

    You're absolutely right. Of course, my opening paragraph aimed for sarcasm, but I think you picked up on that.

    But it says a lot about our Senate Democrats that they'd pick ORDA -- a politically neutral organization with a lot of sentimental value for folks here.

    The sniping in Albany gets worse every day.

  3. Have you heard that the Dem Senate is now trying to blame Little for "not conveying the importance of ORDA" to them?

    That's really a good one.