From the Editors: A ladder to clearer skies
That's a lot to keep in mind before making a climb, so here's a convenient distillation: It's all about the set-up.
Planning for upward mobility in the new year? Perhaps moving on up to a tax abated deluxe apartment in the sky? Well, hopefully you have access to a functioning elevator (a luxury that tenants of the 14-story Renaissance Centre, including the Erie Reader, no longer take for granted). Otherwise, it may behoove you to refresh your memory on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's 16 tenets of portable ladder safety — because giant beanstalks have yet to be tested or approved.
That's a lot to keep in mind before making a climb, so here's a convenient distillation: It's all about the set-up. Locate sturdy and level ground, safely distanced from surrounding chaos in the work zone. Failing that, stabilize and secure at the top or bottom. Ensure all locks are engaged and each rung or step is free from slippery materials. Watch for power lines overhead and exposed electrical equipment! Because outside of the comic book universe, such shocks to the system rarely turn out for the better.
Or do they? Erie has had its head in the clouds in recent years — or at least it's been periscoping around the stratosphere to assess what the planning of its proposed Cloud City might entail. This year, it began positioning its ladders with the hopes that development perks like federal Opportunity Zones and an expanded Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance policy would be sturdy enough anchors to commence ascent. Ten years is plenty of time for those supports to erode and wash away. At year's end, many citizens were left crossing their fingers that all the lofty promises were not just— pardon the expression — pie in the sky.
In the fictional Cloud City of the Star Wars universe, Lando Calrissian sold out his friends to Darth Vader before rediscovering his conscience. Now Erie places its trust in leadership, hoping that they haven't done the same to ordinary citizens in order to court the interests of the Corporate Empire. If all the plans come to fruition as intended, 2019 could be looked back upon as the year that raised us above the fog to a clear cruising altitude — otherwise it's just more turbulence.
We survey those issues and more in our Year in Review, as well as 2019's worthiest movies, television, and music — ideal for passing the time in any pressurized cabin. That is, of course, unless you are fending off Imperial TIE Fighters or navigating an asteroid field. Or flying home from the Mos Eisley Cantina after kibitzing with space pirates on New Year's Eve. Check our real-life NYE rundown in these pages and remember not to drink and drive. There's much to do and see ahead (including this year's Best of Erie winners — we list the top 3 finalists in this edition).
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at the Erie Reader.