About James Odato

In a career rooted in watchdog reporting, Explorer editor James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top journalists covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal. In October 2021, the University of Massachusetts Press released his book, This Brain Had a Mouth, Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation.

Reader Interactions


  1. Charles zawisza says

    I enjoy it up there. But we need the other side of the story. For those that don’t know, visit the website US debt clock, then select the link for individual states. Ny state has the second highest state debt in the country, way over 300 billion. The site breaks down the federal debt, never talked about in D.C. the Albany administration giving grants, trying to develop new programs, trying to fund existing programs we could never have afforded, the credit card that is never paid down or off, mum on this topic, high taxed folks leaving the state. Florida has 2.5 million population, it’s state budget is half of NY states.

  2. Daniel Bogdan says

    Doubtful if any biker would simply glide into downtown Tupper Lake from the rail trail. Any biker would have to overcome at least a 75 ft. uphill elevation change over the approximate 1.5 miles from the end of the trail to downtown Tupper. Better yet glide from downtown Tupper to the rail station and take the train.

  3. Joan Grabe says

    I have had a house here in Florida since 1984 and since 2005 I have been a legal resident snow bird. We have half the budget of NYState but substandard public schools, less Medicaid, less labor union activity, less wages, less government services plus looming climate change effects from rising sea levels. And not one, not one Adirondack resident would tolerate the toxic sump in the middle of the state, Lake Okechobee, for one second ! Discharges from the lake have ruined the estuaries of Port Ste. Lucie on the east and the Caloosahatchie River in Ft. Myers on the west. All thanks to efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers in concert with Big Sugar, Big Agriculture and Ranching, land developers and complacent and corrupt politicians. Let NYS throw a few million dollars at Tupper Lake. Maybe fixing up that derelict hulk on Rt. 3 which has been an eyesore for years and has offended me since I first saw in 1994 will provide a lift that Foxman and the scam ACR could never have provided to that town.

    • Sylvia Majka says

      I can confirm all of these observations. Anyone who thinks FL operating with a state budget 1/2 that of NY, while having a larger population, is admirable in any way, is free to come on down–try July, August and September for a start. Low wages, little union protection, proportionally high rents to income. The state is turning into an asphalt peninsula. And the mentality of development at any cost is ruining whatever is left.

  4. JB says

    I have mixed feelings about the statewide Regional Economic Development initiative that are compounded for communities like Tupper Lake, being deep behind the Blue Line. On the one hand, New York is trying to learn from the mistakes of the past (first the NYS Urban Development Corporation botched “urban renewal”, and then the Empire State Development Corporation become synonymous with misappropriation of funds and cronyism with the “Buffalo Billion”). They got one thing right by placing an ideological emphasis on “Smart Growth” principles for the Downtown Revitalization Initiatives. And on the face of it, the “bottom-up approach” to regional development sounds like a good idea. However, there seems to a worrying lack of scrutiny and due dilligence in New York State when it comes to diving headfirst into massive spending projects. Doesn’t too much of even the most well-intentioned “Smart Growth” initiative eventually lead to the very same pitfall of gentrification so common in conventional “urban renewal” projects? Can regional planning really succeed when it is decentralized and balkanized? Can government subsidies ever escape cronyism? And, the most basic question of all: Isn’t the jury still out on the compatibility of subsidies and sustainable economic growth; economic planning and the ideals of capitalism? Two contradictory forces will either annihilate each other or lead to a runaway feedback loop (in the Batesonian sense). Margaret Mead once gave the example of taxing gas, using the tax to build roads, and then people needing to buy more gas; the cycle continues until the society exhausts all resources. New York seems to be stuck in such a cycle: subsidize, tax, need more subsidies, subsidize again. The towns and hamlets of the Adirondacks are inextricably and acutely trapped in such a cycle. But we have the added burdens of environmental regulations; the tourism that such an environs attracts; the gentrification, speculation, community erosion and environmental degradation wrought by the “Dutch disease” and “import replacement” of a tourism-dependent economy; the unpredictability introduced by politicization; and the instability introduced by subsidization. The Regional Economic Development funding seems to be geared towards rewarding projects that bring in money to the coffers. But we should really be asking only one question: What will be the long-term effects for the everyday resident? A hard question to answer, but one that deserves a lot of thought.

  5. nate says

    Soon there will just be crowds everywhere in the Adirondack’s with pollution, garbage and noise already an issue. The amount of “tourists” and littering plastic bottles everywhere, blasting down roads at crazy speeds, buzzing bicycles. we needs jobs of quality in Adirondacks for sure, but the masses of disrespectful tourists think of the car window as garbage cans. stupid loud exhausts, excessive speeds. The degradation is not worth it, we need speeding cameras and cops way more than more tourists.
    we launch canoes and go down rivers and find bottles and garbage everywhere, it’s disgusting and a disgrace. illegal campsites trashed up.

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