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Key on message, not messenger Regionalism remains a painless way to save money, have less government

Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra seems at times to live in an alternate universe, like during his State of the County address the other day, as he talked about regionalism. Our advice: Don't shoot the messenger.

Giambra, need we say, is far from perfect. His address failed to mention a few points: Two sales tax increases, one property tax hike, closed libraries and the absolute necessity of saving more than $50 million to avoid another tax increase for 2007. Details.

He talked about a tourism train between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, rail extensions that would reach from the University at Buffalo's Amherst campus, the airport and waterfront. Not to mention a return of auto traffic to lower Main Street. All fine.

Point is, the regionalism trumpet cannot always be sounded by advocate Kevin P. Gaughan. It's a note Giambra long ago picked up on and, to his credit, continues to play.

Still, it might be hard to listen to an embattled county executive on a topic that continually elicits resistance. The public would be well advised to stop worrying about personalities and start looking at the broader regional assets.

Giambra has had to battle state laws and union intransigence on an idea still struggling to gain traction. Perhaps it's time for other locally elected politicians to hop on the regionalism bandwagon.

Regionalism is an idea worth serious examination by the many, not just the few.

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