EDITORIAL: What a line this is

WHAT DOES THE YEAR  1894 mean to you? Grover Cleveland was president. Thomas Edison opened the first ever Kinetoscope Parlors in New York City; today we’d call them movie theaters. And New York State adopted the fourth version of its state constitution.

Article III of that constitution set the number of members of the state Assembly and Senate based loosely on counties. But because counties have different populations, determining where to draw the lines that define each district got very complicated even back then, requiring formulas based on census figures. And the process has only grown more complex in the 118 years since the plan was hatched, as is clear from the promise of lawsuits and the threat of a veto by the governor in response to the latest plan released last week. Read more…

EDITORIAL: These genes come with wrinkle

THE UNUSUALLY WARM WEATHER we’ve had off and on this winter conjures thoughts of relaxing on a lawn chair, watching the garden grow. But think of the flip side of that daydream: the weeds, insects and now, the corporate seed police.

As science and technology advance, this country has embarked on a great experiment with our food supply: just think of the “improved” tomato with the gene of a fish shoe-horned into each seed. Someday soon we’ll cultivate zucchinis that look and taste just like a Hostess Twinkie. Mmmmmm. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Don’t call it reform yet

IF THERE’S ONE THING Governor Andrew Cuomo knows how to do it’s get attention. He’s had exceptional mentors in his father and his former boss, Bill Clinton, but he has mastered the art in his own way. It’s an important skill for a governor to have.

He knows how to pick the big fights and then follow through with the support of what used to be seen as a dysfunctional legislature. Meanwhile, the Assembly and state Senate look more and more like well-oiled agencies of the governor’s office. And the more Mr. Cuomo has accomplished the more popular and powerful he’s become. Read more…

EDITORIAL: It’s not just about the law

MOST OF THEM probably won’t wear designer logo backpacks or carry Zhu Zhu Pets lunchboxes, but some newly elected town officials here will be heading off to school this week to learn the ABCs of governance.

The smart ones are taking the opportunity to attend the New Town Officials School this week at the Desmond Hotel just north of Albany presented by the Association of Towns of New York State. A lot of the teacher-speakers are state officials, but it’s not a state-run event. The association is an independent organization. This training has to rank as one of the most important functions the organization offers. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What looms above us?

LOOK, EARTHLINGS! We… have… made… you… a… tree! That kind of low-budget sci-fi movie dialog comes to mind every time I drive by those lame attempts to camouflage cell phone towers as evergreens. Aliens are plotting to conquer planet Earth with fake shrubbery.

We earthlings have done a pretty good job of surrendering our brains and our wallets to the cell phone industry without extraterrestrial help, and with some exceptions the industry seldom has to hide its towers anymore, because people crave the service. Towers reassure us that wherever they are we can talk and text as much as we can afford. Read more…