Ogdensburg has really gone downhill since I left in February.
Because of a city mix-up (Art Sciorra needs a better spam filter on his email), a family was living in a city-owned property for three years without paying rent. (Add the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority's internecine battle with a rail supplier — bureaucracy squelching private enterprise — and you have Ronald Reagan's nightmare right on the banks of the St. Lawrence River).
The Journal in Ogdensburg has been trying to contact Mr. Sciorra, the city manager who has taken much of the heat in this, for a follow-up. But according to the paper's Facebook page, it's not working.
"Is Ogdensburg City Manager Arthur J. Sciorra missing? The Journal has been looking for him for 24 hours to no avail," the post explains.
This is all happening, by the way, right before an election that could see huge turnover on City Council. Even the longtime mayor, Bill Nelson, has an opponent — Jack McGrath, a restaurant owner (my suggestion to Mr. McGrath on what to call his independent line: "The Rent is Too Damn Low [in Ogdensburg]!").
So the politics of this are pretty interesting. Basically, city planner Justin Woods and Mr. Sciorra, the city manager, are trying to blame each other for this rent-free kerfuffle. Meanwhile, allies of Mr. Sciorra have been pushing for us to write that this is all just a coordinated maneuver by Mr. Woods and city Dems to sway the upcoming race.
Politics ain't beanbag, ya know.