Less than a year ago, Paetec agreed to help Rochester redevelop its downtown by putting their headquarters in the old Midtown Plaza site. Now, Paetec is being sold to Windstream corporation, and all those plans are in jeopardy. How many times have we heard this same kind of duplicity from corporations? How often do they say the most convenient lie to get what they want? Paetec has now wasted almost a year of planning on the part of the city. They have also held the downtown redevelopment project hostage for all this time. What kind of tax and zoning benefits have they already reaped just from the promise of this deal? After so many other failed promises, Paetec’s betrayal is just another example of a corporation that will take any advantage they can, even if it hurts the community that nurtured their own beginnings. Before this sale is complete, Rochester should demand that Paetec refund the benefits they have taken full advantage of this past year. Rochester invested in this agreement and supported Paetec, we should not have to absorb this reversal without some kind of recompense. The only thing corporations have in common with individuals are free speech rights (?!) Their capacity to harm their neighbors far exceeds ours. We should all support occupywallstreet, because a corporation will never stand by you like a real person. The best you can hope for is a coupon.
EDIT 10-18-11: The Rochester Business Journal published an opinion piece by John R. Purcell explaining or supporting the acquisition of Paetec by Windstream. I agree with some of his points, and he expresses his view more reasonably than I did two weeks ago. I still feel that Paetec owes our community some kind of recompense for the public investment that has been made in this deal. As Mr. Purcell points out, government is often the last to find out about these kind of deals. As the companies involved are free to operate on their unique knowledge, public entities are restricted to public knowledge. We citizens, the body of the government, should not be penalized for supporting a long term project in the face of quarterly profit statements.