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Great Lakes Compact

A constitution written in stone








Incendiary Fence


I don't know if this piece of paper will hold up or if anyone will find it, but maybe it will help DEP understand what they're up against.

I joined up ten years ago. I'd survived three tours of duty overseas, figured God must be on my side, and was tired of looking at concrete and drywall. DEP meant adventure, something else to look at, and survivor benefits that might let my son's saxophone get noticed by the ones who matter. He has dreams - I never really cared, I guess.

This mission started out as the usual. Satellite told us there was a problem. Permanent buildings in the 50-100 mile range from the reservoir, apparently a vandal settlement too close in, pushing the edge of the bombing zone.

Those bastards in HQ had given in to media pressure for some kind of "fair warning" when settlements were on the edge, so we set off in the chopper to take a look and drop some pamphlets. We figured they could read, but the chopper let us get in with loudspeakers too.

It was a bad idea. There were lots of 'em down there, and they ran around making it pretty clear they'd seen and heard us. The wind was picking up a bit, but suddenly the tail of the chopper - I don't know, it seemed to fall off and we were spinning on our way down. Maybe it broke, maybe they shot it somehow. Chuck died at the bottom, but they pulled me out.

I warned them that messing with the DEP was a bad idea, and that the best they could do was leave me with the chopper and get the hell out of there. "Take me with you," I said, "and you'll get bombed wherever you go."

They just grinned, took my communicator, and boarded me up in this room. They sure built it tight for something thrown together in a summer under tree cover. I smell a bit of smoke - maybe they're still around, or maybe they just left the fires going to make it seem like that.

There's the plane - it won't be long now. DEP - take care of my wife and kid!

Escaping the Mess


Resignation, replacement, election, coup, chaos. Or was it coup, replacement, chaos, election? 7th grade is hard, and the first part of the 21st century made the Age of Homespun seem easy to follow.

Lemuel sighed. He'd need to come up with some kind of song for that, or maybe a rhyme. Hmmm... RRECC. Like 'wreck' or maybe 'rec'. 'Wreck' sounded best, and wrecks end with chaos, mostly... And you have to resign before you're replaced, unless there's a coup, but coup was in the second half.

That should work okay for a paragraph, he decided, or a time-sequence question. The rest of the story he pretty much knew. The chaos following the coup, and the election machine disaster of the 2010 elections combining to shut down the state government. That part he'd seen a few movies about, and he even knew about why the first resignation happened, though his mother wouldn't be happy he knew that. Those pictures had made Social Studies interesting for the first time.

Out of all that chaos, Federal control, and then Federal imposition of a federal solution, whatever that meant. Western New York, Hudson, New York City, and Long Island going their separate ways, mini-states within a state. Still two Senators, but regional control inside the state, a statewide court that only decided on matters of court procedure and portionment, whatever that was, separate constitutions, separate taxes, and separate National Guards.

That first puzzle he'd had as a baby showed it. Big pieces, with a tiny court on the outside edge, looking like it was floating in the blue Lake Ontario. Every puzzle piece with its picture of the new regional capitol buildings, at Rochester, Albany, New York, and Melville. His parents were weird to have given him that, but he still had it somewhere.

His mother still rejoiced about the lower taxes, though his father always thought it was a scam. Property taxes down, sales taxes way up, but hidden into prices. They argued about the strangest things. Well, they had argued when his father was here, anyway. Lately it was just his mother praising the Regional Governor and their Legislator. His father kept asking about the Legislator when he went over for a visit. Why do parents care about politics so much?

And why did the Syl put such stupid questions on tests? All these names to learn before he could go to bed. Stories would help, but interesting stories, with real battles. Maybe these politicians needed horses to ride and lances to joust with. Or at least a video game where they could fight it out, far away from test questions. Something.

Free Niagara


My opponent will tell you that I found the idea of electing a negotiator to be a foolish one - that is, a foolish one until I learned of the terms he will accept, the limits he will accept on our sovereignty.

The boundaries of the states to be seem clear now, with the Hudson Valley and Catskills counties going with New York City and Long Island, and the Adirondacks, Mohawk Valley, and New York west to the Pennsylvania border preparing to become the brave new state of Niagara. Freed of that which was rotten in New York State, we will finally be able to find our own destinies.

Niagara Falls

In any separation there will be compromises. I understand that, and accept it. It makes sense that this new New York, centered on the city of that name, wants to ensure that the transportation corridors which nourish it will survive this change. And as deeply as I regret the loss of Delaware County, where I grew up and where many of my relatives still live, I recognize that New York City cannot bear to have its water supply in unsympathetic hands.

On a number of other issues, however, we must stand firm - and my opponent has proven himself weak. The division of existing debt, a very basic question, is slanted wrongly against us, and will hobble us unless corrected.

Looking to the future, maintaining works jointly, especially the university system, is an invitation to spend far more money than is wise. Of course we appreciate the universities, but we need the freedom to chart our own course.

Far worse, though, is my opponent's willingness to compromise the freedom of our fellow Upstate taxpayers in the Adirondack Park. His meek acceptance of plans hatched by environmentalists in New York City to retain and even augment the rules limiting development inside this ever-expanding park is a disgrace. We appreciate the Adirondacks, but must be free to help others enjoy them in the ways they want to enjoy them. The state's recent binge of purchases there was money poorly spent, aiming to prevent Upstate's economy from growing.

My opponent's acceptance of their plan for rapidly removing their prisoners from our prison system is another strike against him. We in Upstate have maintained a sacred trust in accepting their criminals in return for a shockingly small amount of money. While claiming to have built our economy, they have spent as little as possible on the prisons Upstate, pouring money and attention into the Downstate system for decades. Their sudden withdrawal of prisoners and the cash needed to sustain them would be an immediate blow against our economy, in the very period where we are still striving to build a new economy as we throw off the chains of taxation with which they have burdened us.

Our new state, our glorious Niagara, must not be forced to carry these weights of the past. Our future growth depends on freedom from the poisonous thinking downstate has forced on us for over a century, on our rights as citizens to set our own course without interference and disruption from a partner that has lost interest in us.

On Tuesday, vote for a free Niagara! With your vote, I will help freedom pour down upon our new state as water pours down the falls of our glorious namesake.


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