Frankly, I'm getting a bit sick of what seems to be the systematic extermination of "Utica" from our regional identity. It does not have to be done this way. E.g., when the Utica Area and Herkimer United Ways merged, "Utica" remained in the new name.
I can sympathize with his feelings, but I think the erasure of "Utica" as an identifier is a natural progression of the city's decline. There's also the sad fact that, like it or not, the city's name has a negative cachet. Four or five decades ago Utica was a thriving community filled with industry and potential, like a young man with a spring in his step and a bright future ahead of him.
Now we're the embarrassingly crazy grandfather the family keeps locked in the attic.