Sure, every month or so we get word of a company moving here or expanding local operations. And COMIDA's doing a bang-up job of creating employment opportunities one or two at a time. But a few dozen jobs here and there don't really even begin to offset the much larger numbers many of Rochester's traditionally large employers are hemorrhaging.
And following those jobs out of Rochester and the rest of the Northeast is our population base, our critical mass of people.
Without people or jobs or both, our property values and tax base dwindle, which means so does the pot of money we can spend on highways, police, and schools. Which means we graduate kids less prepared for the 21st century workforce, further deterring businesses. Without feasible jobs, it's hard to blame many of those kids for profiting from the drug economy instead of sitting in unemployment lines.
This tangled-up problem doesn't have an easily identifiable beginning or end, and lots of people are involved. But plenty of people look to City Hall for leadership. Yes, we all know that the mayor --- or any governmental body for that matter --- can't solve all our economic problems. But in case we ever decide to stop kvetching about this town's woes long enough to want to do something about them, we'll probably want to have a mayor who's up to that challenge.
Two weeks ago we laid out the problems ("It's the economy, stupid," July 27), through the eyes of many of the people who know this community and its economy best --- business leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, economists, the list goes on. Then, armed with their perspectives, we turned our questions on the men seeking to represent the Democratic Party in the race for mayor. Edited transcripts from those interviews follow. To view our comprehensive election coverage, go to www.rochester-citynews.com and click on the Election 2005 tab.
--- Krestia DeGeorge
Read City's interview Wade Norwood by clicking here!
Read City's interview Bob Duffy by clicking here!