Monday, November 14, 2016

WEEK AHEAD: Events for the week of Monday, November 14

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 9:41 AM

Later today, there will be blood drive that is doubling as a tribute to the late Gary Stern, owner of Village Gate in the Neighborhood of the Arts. The drive is from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. today (Monday, November 14) at Village Gate plaza on North Goodman Street.

Stern was a key figure in NOTA’s redevelopment. Many credit him as a visionary who helped transform the neighborhood into the city’s artistic and cultural heart.

To register to give blood, go to and enter “14607” in the “Find a Drive” box.

Donors will get pizza, free Dryden Theatre passes, and more.

Three meetings on the city’s Master Plan will take place this week. The meetings are designed to let residents share their ideas about the future of the City of Rochester. The meetings will be an open-house format with members of the project team available to answer questions.

The meetings are:

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, at the Maplewood library, 1111 Dewey Avenue;
• 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, in Tower280 lobby, 280 E. Broad Street;
• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, at the Ryan center, 530 Webster Avenue.

The city has begun updating its Master Plan, which was adopted by City Council in 1999. The updated plan will be called “Rochester 4.0 – Our Neighborhoods, Our Future.” The plan seeks to establish a cohesive vision to guide the city’s growth and development.

More information: or (585) 428-6824. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

The First Unitarian Church of Rochester will present “What is the TPP?" a panel discussion at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. The discussion will focus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and whether it will bring prosperity and more jobs to the US and counter Chinese influence in Asia, or if it will  threaten labor and the environment. The event will be held at the church at 220 Winton Road South.

The League of Women Voters-Rochester will host “Our Local Attorney General’s Office: What’s in it for You?” at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 14. LWV members want to be sure that the Attorney General’s Office has a rounded view of the many problems in this area from lead contamination to housing discrimination to civil rights concerns.

Ted O’Brien, who heads the Rochester office, will be at the meeting to answer questions and address issues. The event will be held at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Avenue. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Tuesday is the deadline for County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to submit her 2017 budget proposal – her first as exec – to the County Legislature. County law says the executive has to submit a budget proposal on or before November 15.

During her campaign, Dinolfo pledged that she wouldn’t raise the county property tax rate, which is the same promise her predecessor, Republican Maggie Brooks, built her $1 billion budgets around. But Democratic county legislators stress that while the tax rate hasn’t gone up, the county has implemented new charges for services and increased some fees.

Legislature Democrats and some community advocates are also calling on Dinolfo to increase county support for child day care subsidies.

To that end, the Rochester Raging Grannies will “rage,” as the group puts it in a press release, during the public forum at Tuesday’s County Legislature meeting. The session starts at 6 p.m. in the Legislature’s chambers at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street. BY JEREMY MOULE

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Waking up to another country: CITY's post-election commentary

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 11:20 AM

FROM JEREMY (staff writer):
While the country conducts an autopsy on this election, there are a lot of people who are very worried and scared about what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for them, or for family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

Words fail because Trump is a scary guy. He’s proven masterful at manipulating people’s anxieties and fears, making immigrants the enemy, and lumping Muslims in with terrorists. He was endorsed by the official newspaper of the KKK and said nothing to repudiate it.

And instead of turning off voters, Trump fired them up.

During this campaign, we saw the rise of the alt-right, which is little more than warmed-over white supremacy. In Brighton and Pittsford, a group chucked fliers in people’s driveways urging people to make Rochester greater by making it whiter. Hell, former KKK imperial wizard David Duke made his grand re-entry to politics, though he deservedly lost his bid for a Louisiana US Senate seat. Still, the man got 58,000-plus votes.

Back in April, I covered Trump’s local campaign rally, and here’s how I characterized it:

But Trump isn't looking for people to get along; that much was clear from that speech. You're either with him or you're the enemy, and it was clear that many in the crowd feel the same way. That mindset came through as he blasted the national Republican Party leadership for its threats of a brokered convention; he's earned millions of votes and won more states than the other candidates, Trump said, and should win the nomination before the convention.

There was a point when he was ranting about the dishonest media who he said were lying about him, and the full crowd turned and booed the press pen. The mob was clearly caught up in Trump’s message, and the effect was unsettling.

I worry that similar things will happen en masse, over and over again, in the coming months and years. When people say they’re scared, we need to listen and make sure they not only feel safe, but actually are safe.

Here’s a little bit of trivia for this astonishing day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led the country in enacting the vast progressive programs of the New Deal, was first elected president on November 8, 1932. On the 84th anniversary of that vote, we elected Donald Trump president and gave him the backing of a Republican Congressional majority, who have pledged to dismantle one of the most important social-welfare programs, the Affordable Care Act, that the country has had since Roosevelt’s death.

FROM FRANK DE BLASE (music writer):

I’ll admit it: I underestimated Donald Trump. And I overestimated the people who voted him in. It would seem they’re in the majority.

The entropist in me sort of embraced the chaos brought on by their misguided pride and ignorance: “How close will we get to the flame?” “What will Trump say next?” or “Mommy, what’s a p*ssy?” Now it’s more like, “How long until Kim Jong-un gets the launch codes?” or “When will Trump and Putin share their first kiss?”

Our mistake was treating Trump as an outsider, as the “f**k you” vote to a fiercely and sadly divided country which has collectively fallen on its own middle finger. Now in the America I knew – the America I thought I knew — the “f**k you” vote has turned into a f**k ourselves vote. Australia is sounding better and better.

You have to ask, right? Was Hillary Clinton the right candidate for the Democrats?

I didn’t think so a year ago, and I don’t think so now. And no, I don’t think Bernie Sanders was, either. Much as I agree with Sanders on many issues, I think Trump – and almost any Republican candidate – would have creamed him yesterday. As we said in our primary endorsement, the country simply isn’t there yet. I wish it were, but it’s not.

I think Joe Biden would have had a better chance – but not, as a friend pointed out to me yesterday – if he had had to run a primary against Clinton. He and Clinton would have split the more moderate Democratic vote, and Sanders would have been the nominee. But if Biden had been the nominee, I think he could have beaten Trump.

While Hillary Clinton was qualified – and vastly preferable to Donald Trump – she had an awful lot of baggage, and it had been publicized for years. Much of it was fabricated. She’s not a criminal. But she and her husband have done lots of unsavory things. Many Americans disliked her intensely, distrusted her, and Democratic leaders knew that when they backed her.

That wasn’t smart, politically. And it wasn’t good for the country.

FROM KIARA (sad intern):
This morning, I woke up and recognized, like I always do, that I am a young woman and a person of color; I woke up recognizing the qualities that make me a minority. But today, something is different.

Tears were already preparing to fall as soon as I opened my eyes. Donald Trump is president-elect and I realized that the majority of the United States of America does not support me, women’s bodily autonomy, the fight against police brutality, refugees fleeing ISIS, immigrants enduring the long and expensive process of becoming a citizen, or the LGBTQ community. The American people have ignored Trump’s fiscal, moral, and ethical irresponsibility.

The outcome of this election has been haunting me all day.

Somehow, a woman who is one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for president was beaten out by a man who has had businesses go bankrupt and faced allegations of sexual assault. We broke a barrier by getting Hillary Clinton this far, but we regressed as a people by not putting her in the White House.

I’m thinking of the young women I saw excitedly putting stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave yesterday. I’m thinking of every sexual assault victim, of all genders. I’m thinking of the illegal immigrants I have met throughout my lifetime who are fighting every day for citizenship. I’m thinking of my friend who is still replaying the idea of conversion therapy in her head.

Our vote was a vote for our moral standing.

Today, ask your friends how they are doing; don’t forget that we are human.

FROM CHRIS (news editor):
As far as I’m concerned, Donald Trump has pulled off one of the greatest cons in American history. A rich NYC boy who probably doesn’t know a lathe from a letter-opener has convinced blue-collar Americans that he will represent their interests. I guess it doesn’t matter that Trump probably couldn’t stand to share a dinner table with them.

There’s a lot of talk about the disconnect in our culture, but I realized last night that it’s more than person to person. The politicians are disconnected from the people they represent, the media are disconnected from the people they purport to cover, trust in our institutions is shattered, and who in the hell are the pollsters talking to?

We talk a lot at CITY about making sure we understand and write for all of the communities in Rochester: Hispanics, blacks, Muslims, the city’s significant immigrant population. Who’d of thought the person we understand the least is the white neighbor with the Trump sign on his lawn?

I’m worried about the Affordable Care Act. I’m worried about Social Security-Medicare-Medicaid. I’m worried about Roe v. Wade. I’m worried about the EPA. I’m worried that the Spray Tan in Chief will bomb the hell out of the world.

I think I’ll go live in a tent in my back yard. Join me?

FROM REBECCA (arts writer):
While I'm not happy about Trump's win, I think that a considerable problem with a Clinton victory would have been so many liberals hitting the snooze button again: a lack of outrage and a lot of shrugging while we keep fighting devastating proxy wars, filling prisons, choosing corporate interest over the environment, and committing other atrocities. If your reaction to that is to get puffed up, just take a breath and think about it; we can all do more.

Take for example how little the left cares about the record deportations that happened under Obama's administration while flipping out about Trump's rhetoric.

There's bad and there's the illusion of good. This nation chose the overt bad. That's actually really useful information.

There's a window of opportunity in this mess. People are on edge about what actions Trump will set in motion for this nation. There is potential for more scrutiny, more willingness to be critical. We need to use this momentum, and we need to use it now.

We have a chance to create genuinely healthy, direct-action movements because the liberal candidate lost and people can't wash their hands of personal accountability. But will the left work harder for the nation they say they want to manifest? Are we willing fight for it? Will we examine what more we can be doing?

I understand the lamentations everyone is posting on various media today, but I'm especially proud to see so many of you writing calls to specific action, words of encouragement, statements of support for vulnerable Americans targeted by hateful rhetoric, and calling for help in planning courses of action.

We have our work cut out for us, but we always have.

FROM KURT (calendar editor):
I keep telling myself today that this planet has existed for millions of years before our kind, and it’ll most likely exist after us. I’m trying to remind myself that there are things much bigger than us. But regardless, I am trying to find solace in existentialism; we’re here today, and we’re in this together.

At the end of it all, people need to stand for something, and regardless of who voted for whom, it’s our responsibility to be nothing but a good influence on each other. It’s ignorant coming from me, a 20-something white man, but I don’t think I can do much else other than express empathy for everyone around me, and do my best to encourage everyone that in the end, we’re in this together.

Allow this to be an opportunity to better ourselves and to make sure those who are afraid or confused have someone by their side.

FROM TIM (staff writer):

It's hard to process exactly what happened last night that drove the election of Donald J. Trump.  It may take a few weeks. But some things come to mind; first and foremost, progressives took a beating. Many white Americans soundly rejected the Obama legacy in droves. They said enough with the Affordable Care Act, enough with marriage equality, and enough with addressing social injustice and racism.

In the case of the latter, many blame Obama for stirring racial anxiety and they cite the Black Lives Matter movement as evidence. And further, they resent any implication that they may be racist, homophobic, or xenophobic.  Political correctness is seen by many as weakness and an attempt to silence the voices of many people who simply do not like the direction the country has taken during much of the last 30 years. A survey showed that seven out 10 Trump supporters longed for a return to the 1950's, the New York Times reported. What a coincidence.

Like it or not populism is the new norm, and it's not always nice. Certainly Democrats have their work cut out for them. It's probably fair to say that neither Republicans nor Democrats have paid attention to white working class Americans, those making under $100K a year in blue collar manufacturing jobs. Globalization has hit them hard and judging from results in Rust Belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, many voters may feel they got little relief from Democrats.

This election has often been compared to Brexit, and there are some similarities. Anti-immigration sentiment is high. A sinking mistrust has swept through many of the country's most important institutions and government agencies: the Supreme Court, law enforcement, the judicial system, public education, and health care. Some people will surely add the FBI to that list considering it's actions just days before the election.

Certainly some people woke up today, the same as I have, wondering what just happened. Mr. Trump has tapped into something many voters obviously feel — they want a different America.  The question now is whether the choice they made yesterday was the one they want.

FROM MARY ANNA (publisher & editor):
Leading up to the election, there was a lot of discussion in the print media about how deeply divided the Republican Party is and the challenge it will face after the presidential election. But I was struck by Jonathan Chait’s pre-election piece in New York magazine.

Chait thinks the Republican Party is not in disarray at all. Instead, the party has entered a period of “authoritarianism,” he wrote and it’s “more unified than one might imagine as well as more dangerous.”
“Trump,” Chait wrote, “is an extreme event, but Trumpism is no fluke”; it’s where many Republicans are right now.

And I think yesterday proved it’s where many Americans are right now, wanting to rely on someone larger than life, someone who will create – on his own, for them – the kind of country they long for.
Will Republicans in Congress try to restrain him? Given their behavior before the election, I’m not hopeful.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week ahead: Events for the week of Monday, October 31

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 9:53 AM

The Canandaigua Lake Association will sponsor “Alien Invasives Threaten Lake,” a talk at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1, as part of its “Viewpoints” series.

Hilary Mosher, director of the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will talk about the recent activities of the Water Chestnut Strike Team and the removal of the plant.

The removal of invasive plants and animals from visiting boats will also be discussed. The event will be held at Finger Lakes Community College, stage 14, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive.

The Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library will present “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution,” a discussion of the book by Nathaniel Philbrick.

This is the story of a world crisis as a country fights for its freedom and how that newly formed nation must decide how it will be governed. The book will be reviewed by Carolyn Vacca, chair of the history department at St. John Fisher College.

The event will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1, at the Central Library, 115 South Avenue, from 12:12 p.m. to 12:52 p.m. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Friday, October 28, 2016

Somebody save us from 2016

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 5:16 PM

In Donald Trump, we have a presidential candidate who's gone off the rails, between casual dismissal of his own remarks about sexual assault and  offensive characterizations of Mexicans, Muslims, women, and plenty of other people and groups.

Locally, a white supremacist group is tossing fliers saying that we need to make Rochester greater by making it whiter into Pittsford and Brighton driveways in the middle of the night.

And now, we have Republican State Assembly candidate Joe Errigo impugning the City of Rochester with racially insensitive remarks made in a matter-of-fact manner on a local radio program. During that same broadcast, he declared that President Barack Obama is telling black people to “kill the whites.”

Perhaps worse, nobody from Errigo's party is publicly condemning him or his remarks.

At one point, 2016 was a raging dumpster fire, but it’s now something worse: it’s a tire fire that was started by that dumpster fire. No matter how hard anyone tries to smother this putrid, smoldering disaster, the piles of garbage burst back into flames, sickening us all.

What’s there to say that hasn’t been said? These awful, sad, infuriating, destructive, and exhausting things keep happening. They set us back as neighbors, communities, and a country.  Collectively, we've lost our minds.

Here’s what Errigo said on WXXI’s Connections on Thursday afternoon regarding the City of Rochester. He started by telling host Evan Dawson that he grew up on Carter Street near Hudson Avenue, and rapidly shifted into a trope that could have been hyperbole, but sure didn't sound like it.

“It was a beautiful area when I was growing up, however, like I say, I wouldn’t go down there in a bulletproof car," Errigo said.

Suddenly it's OK to say any damned thing you want and the people who call you out on it are the ones who are wrong. Errigo owes Rochester an apology.

And here’s what Errigo said about Obama, after Dawson asked him whether non-whites are treated differently:

No. I think they take that attitude because it’s given to them. When you hear the president’s minister say, instead of God Bless America, ‘God damn America,' let them feel the pain, now you’re bringing this back to slavery and I was not part of that, my parents weren’t part of it. We lost a lot of people over to that fight.

But I think the president has done a disservice and I don’t condone [sic]. I hear the way he talks sometimes that just , they’re telling the black people "Get out there, kill them, kill the whites." So he’s to blame.

In a later interview with the Democrat and Chronicle, Errigo tried to clarify that he was talking about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor in Chicago. Obama has since disavowed him.


Errigo has an opponent, Democrat Barbara Baer, so voters in the 133rd Assembly District have a choice. The district covers the towns of Rush, Wheatland, Mendon, and Pittsford; the villages of Pittsford and  Scottsville; all of Livingston County; and several communities in Steuben County.

His potential constituents could send a message that they think he’s wrong and that they won't stand for these kind of antiquated, boorish remarks. If they vote him into office, they’re tacitly agreeing with him.

But the district is a Republican stronghold and history says that Errigo will probably win. The whole world has gone mad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bold new proposal put forth for Midtown

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Underwhelmed by the available options and, he says, determined to give Rochester a real choice, Fraser Smillie sat down at his computer to brainstorm a new concept for Parcel 5 at Midtown in downtown Rochester (see proposal below).

What he and Bud DeWolff, owner of DeWolff Partnership Architects, came up with is a statement building: a minimum 14-story glass-and-steel structure with a hotel, offices, restaurant, 3,000-seat performing arts center, housing, and other amenities.

An optics museum to showcase Rochester’s rich imaging history as well as its future in photonics is another possibility, says Smillie, who’s retired from Xerox, where he did marketing.
A local partnership proposes a minimum 14-story glass-and-steel structure for Midtown, with condos, restaurant, performing arts center, hotel, and other amenities. - PROVIDED IMAGE
  • A local partnership proposes a minimum 14-story glass-and-steel structure for Midtown, with condos, restaurant, performing arts center, hotel, and other amenities.
“Is it a final plan? No,” he says. “It’s just a plan to say that there are other options available. I think what we have done is sort of stir the pot a little bit by saying, ‘Here’s another chance to do something right.’”

Smillie puts the price tag at about $150 million and says that he potentially has a group of interested investors. But investors are reluctant to commit unless the City of Rochester shows it is taking the proposal seriously, he says.

That may be a sticking point; the deadline to submit proposals is long past. But in an unusual but not unprecedented move, City Council members say that they will interview the developers behind each Parcel 5 proposal. Council member Carolee Conklin said in today’s Democrat and Chronicle that she’s willing to include the Smillie-DeWolff proposal in that process.

The traditional route is for the mayor to choose a proposal and then send the recommendation to City Council for approval.

The other proposals are: a 14-story mixed-use tower; performing arts center; and green space for concerts and other public uses.

Smillie says those proposals are really not “choices.” The city will undoubtedly choose the mixed-use proposal, put forth by Gallina Development, he says. Now the city will have a real choice, he says.

“Here we have an opportunity do something really neat, and Bud came up with a great-looking building,” Smillie says.

2016 10-24 City Centre Complex by Scott Fien on Scribd

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Students making progress, but big challenges remain

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 11:24 AM

The state of Rochester's children is...a little bit better, according to a report issued today (see below) by ROC the Future, an alliance of Rochester-area institutions and community partners working to improve student achievement in the city school district. 

The alliance issues a report card each year that takes a look at 45 indicators of academic achievement. The 2016 report shows improvement in four of 10 key indicators, including a 1.6 percent increase in third-grade reading and 620 fewer truant students. 

The report shows a 3 percent decrease in the number of 4 year olds enrolled in pre-kindergarten or Head Start, but a significant increase — 19 percent — in the number of 3 year olds enrolled in the same programs. 

Problem areas: pre-k data shows that 55.5 percent of students are chronically absent, and 65 percent of students in K-8 do not have access to after-school programs. 

The report also shows the rapid rise of enrollment in charter schools and corresponding enrollment decline in the city school district. In the 2006-07 school year, 761 city students were enrolled in charter schools, while 32,586 attended the city school district. In the 2015-2016 school year, those numbers were 4,629 to 27,611, respectively. 

Only 15 percent of RCSD students who graduated and went on to attend Monroe Community College were college-ready in both English and math, according to report. That number has essentially held steady since at least 2008. 

Particularly striking in the report is the section that breaks down achievement by race and gender in Rochester vs. the state. Statewide, 83 percent of male and 90 percent of female Asian students graduated in 2015. In Rochester, those numbers are 48 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Similar disparities are found in other demographic groups. 

State of Our Children Report Card 2016 by Scott Fien on Scribd

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dems: Increase county child care spending

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 5:19 PM

The county has, over the past five years, cut the amount it pays toward child day care subsidies by approximately $2.6 million. County Legislature Democrats today asked County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to put back $1 million of the funding in her upcoming 2017 budget proposal.

The ask echoes a request from the Children's Agenda, which says that the need for day care assistance exceeds the number of available slots. Democrats and advocates say that an increase in child care subsidies would lead to more open slots, which would allow more low-income parents to work and become self-sufficient. 

"If there's good will for a cause, there's a way," Democratic Minority Leader Cynthia Kaleh said during a press conference this afternoon.

Through a series of cuts, the county dropped its funding for child care subsidies from $8.2 million in 2011 to $5.6 million in the 2016 budget. The state has modestly increased the amount of funding it provides the county for the subsidies.  So the funding has remained effectively flat, while the cost of child care has increased, and demand has grown, especially in the suburbs.

"We need this," said Legislator Vincent Felder. "It's important for all of our residents."

Former County Executive Maggie Brooks and members of her administration pushed back against previous requests for more child care funding. They said that the county had done its part by consistently providing substantially more money than the state required, and that it was time for the state to step up and help the county meet local child care subsidy needs.

Dinolfo will most likely release her budget proposal after Election Day.

Tags: , , , ,

[NEWS] WEEK AHEAD: Events for the week of Monday, October 24

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 9:47 AM

Rochester school board Vice President Cynthia Elliott (far left), Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, and school board President Van White - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Rochester school board Vice President Cynthia Elliott (far left), Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, and school board President Van White
ROC the Future, a public-private partnership of government and community organizations working to improve academic achievement for Rochester’s children, will release its fourth annual community report card on Tuesday. The report card tracks key measures of well-being for children and youth in the City of Rochester, from cradle to career.

Speakers include Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo; Mayor Lovely Warren; RCSD Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams; and Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Advantage Downtown offers a look inside downtown Rochester’s premier workspaces at a workspace crawl on Thursday, October 27. Doors open at 5 p.m. and tickets are $10 per person. Participants will tour One East Avenue, Clinton Square, and the Seneca Building.

Light hors d'oeuvres, cocktail reception, and raffle entry are included in the ticket price.

Free parking will be available in Clinton Square's private, underground parking garage. The entrance ramp is located off of S. Clinton Avenue between Clinton Square and the Metropolitan. Registration deadline is Tuesday, October 25, but limited walk-ins will be accepted.

Register by phone or email at 546-6920 or BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

The Rochester school board will hold a work session on its managed school choice policy on Tuesday, October 25.

The policy, which is under review, basically provides guidelines for parents for choosing an elementary school within one of the district’s three school zones.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held at the district’s central office, 131 West Broad Street, at 6 p.m. 

The League of Women Voters and Monroe County Board of Elections commissioners will present “Voting in Monroe County 2016,” a public forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26.

Elections commissioners Thomas Ferrarese and David Van Varick will hold a question-and-answer session to address issues such as security measures to protect votes and voters, use of paper ballots, and whether some of the recent out-of-state election reform measures will become legislation in New York State.

The event will be held at First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Road South. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

The Voice of the Voter collaborative will hold a county clerk debate at 8 p.m. tonight (Monday, October 24). It will air on WXXI television, WXXI 1370 AM,,,, and

Democrat Adam Bello, who was appointed to the clerk position earlier this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo, faces a challenge from Republican Cheryl Rozzi, the Greece town clerk.

Voice of the Voter is a partnership between WXXI, the Democrat and Chronicle, WHAM channel 13, and WDKX 103.9 FM.

The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition and Metro Justice will hold a panel discussion at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 27,  titled "Race, Class, and the Climate Crisis." The discussion will take place at the Rochester Regional Joint Board, 750 East Avenue; details are available here.

The panelists will be Sue Hughes-Smith of the Rochester People's Climate Coalition; Larry Knox of Metro Justice; and Rebecca Newberry of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York. Amorette Shaw , chief of staff for the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, will moderate the discussion. BY JEREMY MOULE 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week ahead: Events for the week of Monday, October 17

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 10:01 AM

Democrat Louise Slaughter - FILE PHOTO
  • Democrat Louise Slaughter
The League of Women Voters and WROC-TV will co-sponsor a debate between Representative Louise Slaughter and Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini, candidates for the 25th U.S. Congressional District.

The debate will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, at WROC studios, 201 Humboldt Street, and will be broadcast live.

Local clergy and Rochester ACTS will hold a press conference this week on “recent white-supremacist activities,” according to a press release. The event is at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, at Trinity Emmanuel Church, 9 Shelter Street.

The event is a response to the distribution of white-supremacist leaflets in Brighton and Pittsford. No group has taken responsibility for the leaflets, but they are linked to a website,
Republican Mark Assini - PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • Republican Mark Assini

The press conference will address the difference between prejudice and institutional racism, the press release says.

Author Steven Nemerovski will lead a discussion of third-party politics at Writers & Books at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 22. His books will be on sale in the W&B bookstore, too. The event is free and open to the public.

Nemerovski is an adjunct professor with the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren will meet constituents at one of her regular Coffee with the Mayor events this weekend. It’s from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the LDR Char Pit, 4753 Lake Avenue. Given the location, Warren is sure to field questions on the Port of Rochester project, which has been in limbo since she pulled the plug on the project’s developer over financing. BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

The Environmental Climate Task Force of First Unitarian Church will show “Trashed: No Place for Waste,” a documentary film, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18.

The film by writer and director Candida Brady has won numerous awards for its examination of how garbage of every kind – from medical waste to plastic bottles – is accumulating at such a rapid pace in cities all over the world that we are running out of places to dump it.

The film is narrated by Jeremy Irons and will be shown at First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Road South.

The City of Rochester’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development will hold a public meeting to provide the results of the city’s Focused Investment Strategy for neighborhood revitalization.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 20. The first FIS program was implemented from 2009 to 2014 and targeted portions of the following neighborhoods: Marketview Heights, Beechwood, Dewey and Driving Park, and Jefferson Avenue.

The meeting will be held at the Rundel Library, Kate Gleason Auditorium, 115 South Avenue. BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Task force releases zombie properties report

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 12:00 PM

This zombie house in Irondequoit will be demolished. - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • This zombie house in Irondequoit will be demolished.
The Monroe County task force on zombie properties issued its first round of recommendations for local, state, and federal governments and agencies today. 

Members of the Task Force on Vacant and Abandoned Properties laid out the recommendations during a press conference. The suggestions focus on three areas:
  1. Prevention of vacancies;
  2. Identification and maintenance of vacant properties;
  3. Rehabilitation of vacant properties.
"We know that we have our work cut out for us," says Rebecca Case Caico, a senior attorney with Empire Justice Center who co-chairs the task force with County Clerk Adam Bello.

Bello formed the task force earlier this year after Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed him to the vacant clerk seat. The idea grew out of Bello's experience as Irondequoit supervisor: he and other town officials implemented a vacant and abandoned property registry. They learned that the town had hundreds of the properties.

"This was one of the single most concerning and frustrating problems facing homeowners," Bello says.

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"Blue Christmas" Service @ St. Mark's and St. John's Church

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