Tuesday, December 06, 2011

April 4, 1911, The Canton Commercial Advertiser, Editorial, Page 4, THE CAPITOL FIRE

The people of the State of New York are so accustomed to hearing startling things about the home of the legislature at Albany, that fire incident did not arouse the deep and startling interest that might have otherwise. There is grave doubt whether there are many residents of the state who have taken pride in the pile of masonry on capitol hill that for nearly forty years has been the cause and occasion for every form of trickery and dishonesty. For forty years the taxpayers of the state have poured the golden millions in to complete the Capitol, but the spigot has been as busy as the bunghole and the result has been a dead man's dream, a nightmare in granite, a grotesque practical joke on the people of the state, A building that should have had all the beauty lines of a renaissance palace, follows no pure line of architectural beauty. It is a structure that meets no approving eye of artist or architect.

The remark has not been infrequent since the fire that it were better that the heap had gone down in ashes, for a new capitol building could be constructed on sane lines that wouldn't cost more than the repair of the old and the enormous expense of maintaining the present folly would pass with it. This may be true but it didn't and now the only thing to do is to repair it and let it stand as a monument to political graft, not of one party but of both of the old parties which have from time to time shared in the fruits of office.

In this connection it is not amiss to call attention to the constant and recurring desire from certain quarters to have every thing centralized in Albany. We have it in the matter of highway construction and we have noted the fearful waste of money in the building of highways; we see it in the manner of conduct of the armories of the state and the increased expense of running these buildings; it may be seen in the running of state charitable institutions generally. We believe the people of St. Lawrence County are not unaware of these things and the action of the St. Lawrence County Board of Supervisors last fall in the matter of a tuberculosis hospital would indicate that that body understood.

This latter may seem short of the mark in connection with the fire at the state capitol. But it is not when one considers that there has always been waste in the construction of state buildings or of state works; that state institutions have been a constant source of graft---the trough at which many have fed at the public expense. Hence the building of the state capitol may be taken like the old Erie Canal as one of the big storm centers of graft and the wise county will steer cleal of the fountain head and do so far as possible its own business.

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