There is a public relations problem that comes pre-packaged with every Tompkins County government agenda: Why does every policy decision work to the benefit of Cornell University?
The “All of Us Together” concept of “Tompkins County” was created to mold the surrounding towns and villages into a pattern that is beneficial to Cornell’s corporate growth — it has no other purpose.
“Tompkins County” government doesn’t work with the people – it works with the corporations, the institutions, the politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests.
They are power brokers.
That’s why the county’s public policies are never decided in the public sector — it’s not a government of the people – it’s a government above the people.
“Tompkins County’s” decision making flow chart is a beautiful example of Vertical Integration: every stage of government action is integrated and controlled from the top.
It’s the very strength of this system that makes it so easy to spot – and once spotted; its methods of public “predation” can be studied:
Camouflage – Cornell moves everywhere among the shadows – policies are carried out by them, because of them, or in gratitude to them. Even when the “County” claims its concerns are with the people – Deferential nods are given to Cornell’s “importance”.
Media stories read like the handouts that they are; and if public opposition forces the reporting of a community or environmental outcry – the article always ends with rebuttals of those concerns; at length.
Deal making – as exampled by the Town of Lansing’s Comprehensive Plan and Agriculture Protection Plan: this once rural town was divided into two distinct land uses to appease the county’s powerful Development and Agricultural interests. Not only do both plans dovetail perfectly and express wholehearted support of each other as an important part of their own plan’s success — both were written by Cornell.
Credentials – every policy “push” releases a flood of credentials – even if they know nothing about the particular community or the needs of residents: they know exactly how to solve every problem — do what “Tompkins County” wants. [If you want to have career longevity.]
Beneficence – while I have never met a single resident or employee who believes that altruism plays a part in the University’s corporate agenda – their dictator-inspired “parades” and proclamations are a not-to-be-gainsaid part of Cornell’s “Sun King” persona.
Meaningless public participation – public participation is kept to a minimum: none. Tompkins County fosters rulership; not representation. At Lansing Town meetings the public cannot ask any questions; and are told they’re lucky to even be allowed to speak.
Power – Cornell is more than just a big frog in the small pond of Tompkins County – it’s a big frog that swallowed the county. Connected at all levels of government and business, even internationally; they are the controlling authority for every activity within the county.
On the workplace level there’s “Cornell Paranoia”: The fear of being associated with any thought, belief, or person that makes your superiors unhappy – even a social media link or the mention of a critical observation might get back to the hierarchy and result in your losing your job — it’s palace intrigue in a new millennium setting.
Stone walling – If you ask unwelcome questions, or persist in opposition – the County just shuts down; and refuses to communicate or acknowledge your existence. It’s a further proof of the power behind County government that they can do this and get away with it.
Enhancing Cornell’s power and profit is what Tompkins County government does — it’s what they are.
The reader may find this essay a bit “offhand” for the seriousness of the subject; but it’s intended to be descriptive of the situation, and not a rigorous examination.
It’s something to keep in mind when you’re presented with a bill of goods.
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