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Plattsburgh to Self: Don't Feel Bad


Published July 2, 2008 at 5:35 p.m.

On June 30, Plattsburgh's primary news organ, the Press-Republican, printed a defensive editorial entitled, "Comparison with Burlington unfair to Plattsburgh." A reader had apparently written a letter to the Republican editor criticizing Plattsburgh city officials for not being more Burlington-like.

According to the Republican,comparing P-Burgh to B-town is a little like comparing apples to oranges. "Burlington is Vermont's New York City," the Empire State rag opined. Burlington's population is double that of its New York neighbor, the paper noted, and as the biggest city in its state, it has more resources to draw from.

"Plattsburgh has grown in many ways over the pastdecade," the Republican concluded, "but comparing it unfavorably with Burlington does it a graveinjustice for so many reasons. It is like saying Vermont suffers bycomparison with New York state."

(I'm still trying to unpack that analogy. If Vermont is to New York as . . . then New York City is to Burlington as . . . I give up.)

Interestingly, I heard Plattsburgh brought up twice at two public events in the Queen City. While introducing a May 31 Joshua Redmond concert at Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts — incidentally, a former counterpart of Plattsburgh's defunct-but-lately-on-the-mend Strand Theatre — a Burlington Discover Jazz Fest organizer mocked Plattsburgh as a cultural competitor, to a chorus of polite laughter.

Then, at a June 23 meeting of the Burlington City Council, councilor Sharon Bushor (I-Ward 1) referenced Plattsburgh while asking a question of Brian Searles, the director of aviation at Burlington International Airport.

Searles had just been telling the councilors about what he terms the "Canadian effect" — or, the influx of Canadians who, taking advantage of a good (for them) exchange rate, choose to fly out of Burlington instead of Montreal. "What about the Plattsburgh effect?" Bushor asked him.

"That's turned out to be more complimentary than competitive," Searles replied.