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Spreading Fussy

April 3, 2012

It’s like the miracle of compound interest. You tell two people. And they tell two people. And so on, and so on, and so on. Eventually everyone knows. Or in the case of compound interest (barring runaway inflation or a twenty year stagnation of the market) eventually you can retire.

But we only have until April 20 at noon to get ballots into the Times Union for their 2012 Annual Best of the Capital Region poll. I know it seems like a lot of time. However, if we are going to reach 5,000 completed ballots (which I truly think is an impossible figure, but they tell me it’s good to set lofty goals) it helps to start early.

I have been trying to plant as many seeds as possible. You might have noticed the new additions to the sidebar over at the top right of the page. Yesterday I also addressed more concerns on Reddit, goosed the Yelp comment thread, sent emails to a couple bloggers with a sizable readership, and posted about the FUSSYlittleBALLOT all over the TU Best of 2012 blog. I even decided to reach out individually to my oldest and best friends over Facebook to guarantee their participation.

People are busy. Sometimes it takes a little hand-holding.

But not everyone you know can be approached so bluntly. It takes a certain level of intimacy and closeness to get in touch and tell someone they’ve got to get online right now and vote for this slate. Other people require a bit more of a delicate touch.

For them, and for the throngs of people you have on your contact list, I’m providing the following to help you do your part in providing support for this effort. You’ve worked so hard up to now. But this is the critical last step, or what I like to affectionately call it, Phase Three.

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Subject: The Best Food in Albany

Albany has some truly great food, but if you looked at the results of the Times Union’s annual Best of the Capital Region poll results you would never know it. Not because the people of Albany are lacking in taste. They are not. The best places are thriving with loyal local customers. However, there are still far too many people who have never heard of some of the regional culinary gems that are hiding in plain sight.

In the past many of these places have been conspicuously absent from the paper’s annual poll as the fewer than 20,000 people who vote in the annual rite seem to set the region’s culinary bar on the lowest rung.

Subway does not make our best sandwich. And as delicious as Five Guys may be, this national chain does not make the best burger in the region. Far from it. But these are the top picks of those who have participated in the newspaper’s poll in the past.

The 2012 poll is currently underway, and this year instead of complaining about the results I have decided to take preemptive action.

There is a ballot going around that I feel represents a good slate of businesses, and I would like to present it to you for your consideration.  It was assembled by the readers of Albany’s most prolific independent food blog over the course of two months, and should not be dismissed as simply one person’s opinion.

The ballot tries to accomplish a couple of things:
1) Removing most of the chains from “The Best of the Capital Region” list.
2) Highlighting those restaurants that are truly among the best in the region.

You can read more about it, and see the full slate here:

Please consider voting for the full slate of items on the ballot, even if you may not entirely agree with each individual choice.  The reasons the chains and popular but mediocre restaurants continue to win in multiple categories is that they represent a significant voting block.  If enough people adopt this slate, we will have a voting block of our own.

Here is the link to the poll.

Completing it only takes a few minutes. And if we are successful your efforts will have helped improve both how those outside the Capital Region see our community and how the community sees itself. Far too often we get a bad rap, and I would like it to stop.

Regardless of what you choose to do, I appreciate you taking the time to consider it.  But if you do plan to join me in voting for change, please help further by taking the next step and sending this note along to your friends and relations.  We need all the support we can get.

Your name here

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And if you want to give out my email address to your contacts, should any of them have questions about the slate, it is

I have a funny feeling I am going to regret this. But now is not the time to be shy. Now is the time for action. So let’s send some letters and see if we can get this thing moving.

Thank you for your help (and patience). You all are the best. Seriously.

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