Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Perinton Republicans may have supervisor primary

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM

An almost last-minute filing last week may mean a Republican primary for supervisor in the Town of Perinton.

The town Republican committee endorsed Mike Barker, who currently represents part of Perinton in the Monroe County Legislature, as its candidate for the job. But late Thursday afternoon, Edmund Dunn also filed to run for supervisor on the GOP line, according to county Board of Elections records.

If Dunn's name sounds familiar, that might be because he ran for governor in 2010. But he was something of a fringe candidate, so most people probably aren't familiar with him. His Facebook page still exists, however, and in a recent post, he announced his plan to seek the supervisor job. 

Whether Dunn can stay in the race is uncertain. Board of Elections records also show that Dunn's petitions have been challenged by Perinton GOP leader David Belaskas. Belaskas filed a general challenge on Monday, and has until July 21 to submit specific objections.

Current Perinton Supervisor James Smith is not seeking re-election. Town Democrats have not put up a candidate for the seat.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Morgan submits new plan for University Ave. apartments

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Morgan Management has submitted a revised plan for a proposed apartment development at 933 University Avenue. The proposal has faced opposition from some neighborhood groups over its size and density. Eastman House officials oppose the project, too, as they had hoped to acquire the land.

Morgan Management has revised its plans several times in response to neighborhood concerns. The last iteration lowered the number of apartments to 102 and increased the number of parking spaces to 164. It also dramatically changed the exterior.

The new plan would retain but restore the Monroe Voiture clubhouse currently located on the site. It also drops the proposed number of apartment units from 102 to 99. The design and placement of the building remain unchanged.

The city's Preservation Board will take up the proposal at its August 7 meeting. But the board is not expected to make a final decision on the proposal until October.

COMIDA to vote on Xerox incentives next week

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Next week, the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency will hold two additional hearings on Xerox's application for property and sales tax incentives on a potential expansion project at the company's toner plant in Webster. And at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, COMIDA will meet to vote on the proposal (the location is forthcoming and will be posted on the COMIDA website, growmonroe.org).

The hearings are at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 22. The first is at the Village of Webster Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. The second is at Webster Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Road.

The toner plant expansion isn't a sure thing. During a COMIDA board meeting this afternoon, Jack Farnan, Xerox's corporate real estate manager, said the company is evaluating a few locations for its toner production. The Webster plant is the only US site under consideration, he said. Xerox has existing toner operations located near Toronto, as well as in Japan and the Netherlands.

Continue reading »

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Race and the Martin-Zimmerman case

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 1:26 PM

The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has engulfed the country in a conversation about race and justice, once again. It is tragic that a black teen lost his life in a situation so ordinary that it defines mundane: walking, snacking on candy, and talking to a friend on the phone.

How many other teens in this country were doing the exact same things that night, but didn't end up dead from a close-range gunshot?

Even more tragic is that America in 2013 is far more divided on the basis of race and skin color than many of us want to believe. Many white Americans simply don’t understand what it feels like to be a person of color in the US today. They assume that their experience of the most routine situations — waiting for a taxi, inquiring about an apartment for rent, or shopping for clothes — is the same for everyone.

It’s not surprising that many Americans are confused by Zimmerman’s acquittal, and they’re conflicted about whether justice was served. Why wouldn't they be, considering that we so often live separate and unequal lives? Many of our urban school districts and neighborhoods are neatly segregated. The cradle-to-prison pipeline is not an obscure rap lyric; it’s a reality for many young black males and their families. And some politicians continue to resort to stereotypes of welfare moms and drug-dealing thugs to bait voters.

If we learn anything from the Martin-Zimmerman case, it’s that somewhere in the American psyche, young black males are not ordinary. Often they exist in the spectrum of faceless, menacing, hoodie-wearing boogeymen: subconscious tags for fear, suspicion, and violence.

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Rochester mayoral candidates file financial disclosure forms

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Candidates for public office in New York have filed their latest financial reports, and both Rochester mayoral contenders are raising money at a good clip.

Incumbent Mayor Tom Richards started the year with an opening balance of $107,676. He reports contributions of $94,175 and expenses totaling $58,523.83 from the second half of January to July 11, 2013. He reports a closing balance of $143,327.17.

Challenger and City Council President Lovely Warren had an opening balance of $18,770.18. She reports receiving $45,253.96 in contributions from the second half of January to July 11, 2013, and spending $40,990.29 over the same time period. Her closing balance is $23,033.85.

On the state Board of Elections site, you can see who gave to each candidate, and how much. This is a link to a search page on the BOE's site. Enter the candidate's last name to see his or her latest disclosure form.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Slaughter endorses Richards; Warren responds

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Louise Slaughter.


Representative Louise Slaughter endorsed Rochester Mayor Tom Richards for re-election at a press announcement earlier today. Richards is in a primary battle with Lovely Warren, who is president of City Council. (Warren's response to Slaughter's endorsement is at the bottom of this blog.)

Slaughter said that Rochester has seen unprecedented investment, more than $1.7 billion, under Richards’ leadership.

“This city is on the march,” Slaughter said. “I need to keep my partner.”

Richards said Rochester went through a period of disinvestment at the business, government, and community levels. But that period is over, he said. Responding to critics who have suggested that he has been mostly concerned with downtown development, Richards said that more than two-thirds of the investment is in projects outside of downtown.

Redevelopment is not about buildings, he said. Improvements to downtown are for the benefit of the people who work and live in them, he said.

And Slaughter said that Richards has made great strides putting women and minorities to work.

Today's press conference was held at the 1872 Café on West Main Street, not far from the Susan B. Anthony House at 17 Madison Street. Anthony was arrested in 1872 after attempting to vote in the presidential election.
Both Slaughter and Richards said that the café and improvements in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood are representative of Richards’ commitment to improving city neighborhoods.

City Council members Elaine Spaull, Carla Palumbo, and former Council member John Lightfoot were among the city and neighborhood leaders who attended the event.

WARREN'S RESPONSE (via e-mail):
"Our campaign is about the people of the City of Rochester not the big named politicians, special interest groups or high roller donors. This is about everyday citizens, middle class families, children who are being lost to an educational system that continues to fail them, and families who have and continue to lose loved ones in the streets of our city. My campaign is for everyday Rochesterians, not a who's who of Greater Rochester area. I respect everyone and their right to support whichever candidate they choose. However, at the end of the day, I knock on the doors to my neighbors and the people who actually live in the City of Rochester and ask them for their vote because it is voices that matters, and their votes that count — and that why 6,246 voters signed my petition; more than double the number collected on behalf of Mayor Richards. This race is about them, for them, and I will continue to work hard on their behalf."

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Week Ahead: Council candidate wants a citizen-owned Midtown Tower

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 9:52 AM

OK, this is kind of awesome.

Lisa Jacques, a candidate for Rochester City Council and a city business owner, is encouraging people to show up to Tuesday night’s Council meeting with $5,000 in hand to buy Midtown Tower.

Council is due to vote Tuesday night to sell the tower and an adjacent parking lot to Buckingham Properties, which will rehab the building for housing and commercial use.

Jacques is trying to make a point about the amount of public assistance the developer will receive for the project, including a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement through COMIDA, and $6.7 million in assistance from the city.

“This deal either represents total corruption by our city leaders, or our elected officials truly believe that downtown properties are worthless,” Jacques writes in a letter. “Either belief is unacceptable.”

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Council chambers at City Hall, 30 Church Street. Christine Carrie Fien


On Tuesday, the International Joint Commission will hold a hearing in Rochester on its Lake Ontario water levels plan. The hearing is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 125 East Main Street. Anyone who wants to speak can register starting at 1:30 p.m.

The new Plan 2014 is based on a previous proposal, Bv7, which sought to allow more of a natural fluctuation in lake levels. The current plan, which has been in place since 1963, calls for keeping the water relatively stable. But the IJC says that more variability would benefit coastal habitats, particularly wetlands, which have been damaged under the existing plan. Lakeside property owners said proposal Bv7 would have caused too much erosion and damage.

Plans 2014 and Bv7 are similar in many ways, but there is one key difference. Plan 2014 incorporates trigger points, extreme high or low levels that will cause the IJC to take actions to moderate water levels. That’s done via a hydropower dam on the St. Lawrence River.


Xerox officials will appear before the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency to request tax incentives to possibly expand a toner plant.

COMIDA will hold public hearings on the proposal today (Monday, July 15).

Xerox is considering a 50,000-square-foot expansion of its Webster toner plant; company representatives have told local media that the decision hasn’t yet been made. A COMIDA summary says that the Webster site is under consideration, along with off-shore locations.

The summary says the expansion would be a $5 million investment and create the equivalent of 25 full-time jobs. The company also plans to invest $30 million in equipment, the summary says.

Xerox is seeking property and sales tax abatements amounting to $441,508 over 10 years, the summary says. But the summary also says that over the same period, the breaks would generate about $4 million in revenue from state income tax, property tax or payment in lieu of taxes revenue, and sales tax revenue.

Webster town Supervisor Ron Nesbitt has spoken out against the proposal. He told WROC channel 8 that the company is asking for the incentives at the same time it’s suing the town to get its assessment lowered.

The COMIDA board meets at noon on Tuesday, July 16, at the Watts Conference Center, 49 South Fitzhugh Street. The meeting agenda is available here. No vote is expected at tomorrow's meeting.Jeremy Moule


Project T.I.P.S. (Trust, Information, Programs, and Services) will hold an event in the Jefferson Avenue and Flint Street neighborhood. The group’s purpose is to rebuild trust between residents and law enforcement.

Group members will do door to door, anonymous community surveys from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and also engage residents in conversation about quality of life issues, and gather info about crime and violence. Members will also provide information about services including health care. The door to door visitors will include a police officer, firefighter, and two volunteers.

The event will continue with a community cookout and get together at Jefferson Avenue and Flint Street. Christine Carrie Fien

Friday, July 12, 2013

Strange encounter in a Rochester parking garage

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM

So this happened yesterday.

I was leaving a parking garage in downtown Rochester — putting my money in one of those machines that people seem to have so much trouble with — when I was approached by a parking attendant. (Actually, I’m assuming he was an attendant. I didn't look closely.) It’s not unusual to see an attendant standing next to the machine, just in case someone needs help — which kind of defeats the purpose of having the machines, does it not?

“You doin’ OK, there, sweetheart?” (He was probably less Humphrey Bogart-ish, but I do remember the “sweetheart.”)

I told him I was, stuck the second of two dollar bills in the slot, and waited for the receipt button to light up. The presumed attendant seemed excited by the fact that I needed a receipt, and urged me to wait. He then handed me a receipt — I don’t know where he got it — for $10. My fee was $2.

“That’s not right,” I said.

He assured me repeatedly that it was fine, and — being your classic conflict-avoider — I drove off.

I don’t want to get this guy in trouble; that’s why I didn’t name the garage or the time of day. But it sure seems like some kind of scam. I can’t be the only person this has happened to, right?

And, no, I’m not going to keep the extra money. (I swear.)

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Primaries likely in Rochester, Henrietta

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM

This post has been updated.

The candidate petitions are in and the city will likely have Democratic primaries in the mayoral, City Council, and school board races. And the town of Henrietta will probably see a Republican primary for the supervisor's office.

The Henrietta race is pretty straight-forward. Town Board member Jack Moore, a Republican, filed petitions to run for supervisor. But sitting Supervisor Michael Yudelson, also a Republican and the party's endorsed candidate, is seeking reelection. So the two will face of in a primary election. Yudelson also has the Independence and Conservative lines, so even if he loses the primary, he could still appear on the November general election ballot.

As expected, City Council President Lovely Warren will challenge incumbent Mayor Tom Richards in a Democratic Mayoral primary. Warren filed her petitions to run for mayor this morning, setting up the primary. But even if Richards loses to Warren, he could still appear on the November ballot on the Working Families and Independence lines.

Green Party mayoral candidate Alex White, who has his party's endorsement, has also filed his petitions to run in November. He won't have to run in a primary.

Democratic primaries are also likely in the City Council and city school board races. On City Council, nine Democrats filed to run for five seats. On school board, 10 Democrats filed to run for three seats. The Democratic candidates for City Council and School Board, as well as the candidates from the Green Party, will be listed after the jump.

Continue reading »

Buffalo News: Wegmans dropping health insurance for part-timers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 9:07 AM

[UPDATE] Today, Wegmans released this statement regarding the company's plans for part-time employee health care benefits:

“Even though the new health care law is requiring some changes, we are not going to do anything that will hurt our employees. Wegmans will continue to offer health care benefits for part-time employees, but eligibility requirements will change. This change will not take effect for our existing part-time employees until 2015. We have met one-on-one with each impacted employee to reassure them and to let them know we are going to do everything we can to help them through these changes. Our proudest achievement has been our inclusion in Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list. We are there because we care deeply about our employees.”

Original post: Wegmans consistently makes Fortune magazine's list of Top 100 Companies to Work For, coming in at No. 5 this year.

The company's reputation for being good to its employees is what makes a story published today by the Buffalo News so curious. The article says that Wegmans is dropping health care benefits for part-time workers. The News confirmed the change with several Wegmans employees, the article says. But the article also says that Wegmans wouldn't confirm.

The News article does make an interesting point. The reporter spoke to a Buffalo insurance brokerage firm partner who says that, thanks to subsidies from Obamacare, the company's part-time employees may be better off buying insurance on their own. I'm not convinced that'll be the case, but I would be very happy if my skepticism is proven to be misguided.

Wegmans did tell the News that it expects health care reform to change some of its employee benefits offerings.

And the locally-based grocery chain certainly won't be the only company going down this path. If Wegmans feels justified in dropping benefits for part-time employees, other companies will, too. And the move sends a significant signal locally, since company CEO Danny Wegman is a respected business and community leader, as well as co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.


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