Lincoln DeCoursey – So your common-sense explanation as to why 650% more inner city black youths than white youths get busted for pot possession in Rochester is because there are fewer places to sell weed unobserved then in white neighborhoods so the blacks, completely ignoring how many of their number are being arrested, continue to be more open about it? Must be their eye sight and hearing are also more defective then those faculties in whites because so many of them apparently don’t see or hear the cops coming.
Just think, If Bobby Duffy were still mayor he might have had the roadway torn out and the Broad Street aqueduct "rewatered” by now and we could be listening to frogs croaking in the deathly silence of downtown Rochester.
Nice shot. The full panorama here is really nice.
Are you aware that the developer receives a refund from the state for his PILOT payments by virtue of Medley being located in an Empire Zone? The Syracuse Post Standard has published the amount of these refunds for several years, via a searchable database on their website -- data through 2010. I asked Empire State Development for the amount for 2011, and it was nearly half a million dollars. So, it's not fair to say that Congel has paid his PILOT payments. The taxpayers of NY have paid his PILOT payments. By my estimation, NYS has refunded him (or the previous owner) over $2.5 million since 2007, while the project paid slightly less than that in PILOT and property taxes. Add this to whatever tax write off he is getting for depreciation on the building, and he is making money on this situation.
"If he walks away and that place goes dark, we'll receive no taxes," D'Aurizio says
How is that possible? If the PILOT is terminated, he would still own the property, would he not? Would not he still be responsible for taxes on the property's actual assessed value?
The "innovation" that Urbanski claims to want has been possible for more than a decade under the Living Contract provision of the RTA contract and the school-based planning team policy, no further governance change is legitimately warranted. (Unless the goal is more power for the RTA.) Under the Living Contract, teachers at any school can vote to waive provisions of the contract to make it more flexible, innovative, or student-centered, they just haven't done it. The School-based planning Policy gives schools unprecedented autonomy and teachers and parents decision-making rights . (These aren't advisory bodies, they are deliberative.) Few, if any, of these SBPTs have used this authority to build "community schools" or otherwise innovate, even though they've always had the power to do so. We should all be skeptical of Urbanski's latest "innovation" idea that is frankly, nothing more than a power grab disguised as reform. The latest in a long list of his Trojan horses.
Vargas' remedy of "conversion charters" is equally empty, but also gives the allusion of change, the latest in a long line of Superintendent "reformy" moves. The only substantive change that conversion charters will bring is to governance: the school-based planning team will be replaced with a board that may or may not include parents and teachers. Same contracts, same work rules. (Charters in name only.) The public should also be skeptical of Vargas' new calls for school autonomy given that he dismantled the student-based budgeting, the "gold standard" in practices to support school autonomy. He also appears to be unwilling to take full advantage of the new state teacher evaluation law to make staffing decisions based on effectiveness, rather than seniority, another key principle of school autonomy.
In either case, parents will be relinquishing their decision-making rights and getting very little, if anything in return. Let's hope they do their homework and don't buy the snake oil that either is peddling.
Have you read "The New Jim Crow"? Have you even taken some time to go to YouTube and listen to Michelle Alexander talk? Have you done the comparative studies and analysis regarding impact of the War on Drugs" and the minority community? The problem is not that the police give some latitude to minor offenses, it's the serious consequences and disparity that happen to some people and not others. Before reading the book, I held the notion that policing was being done fairly across the board. Maybe, maybe not. Numbers don't lie. And please don't quote Abraham Lincoln to me ("Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics"). There are no sets of numbers you can look at to show a different interpretation of the facts.
As for the ". . . favorable consideration in the corner of African Americans - and pretty much only them? What has that done to middle class educational opportunities in the city? And what has this condescension/pity done for African American students?" I can refer you to any number of my past posts and comments. These are issues I've been hollering about for years now. I would NOT call it "favorable consideration." I call it "social promotion", and it is pernicious and evil in the way it has eroded the educational situation in the city. Condescension and pity have only led to our current state of 5% college readiness at graduation. I am 100% behind higher rigor, keeping back kids who can't do grade level work, and getting the quality of our graduates to a point where far fewer of them have to spend all their college financial aid on remediation and fewer than 10% drop out in the first semester (it's over 25% now).
I respect greatly the work of Bill Cosby and Thomas Sowell and William Raspberry and Cornell West. The fact remains that you can preach all the "responsibility" you want. RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT RATES OF DRUG USE/DEALING ARE STATISTICALLY THE SAME AMONG THE WHITE COMMUNITY AS THE BLACK COMMUNITY. I intentionally bolded all that, because the point doesn't seem to be sinking in - the laws are race neutral, enforcement is not. Look at the percentage of our population in jail, then do a demographic breakdown. If you want to try to convince me that the black community is that much more drug using and violent than the white community (please adjust for poverty) you'll have to use actual science.
I do not think that very many police or DAs wake up in the morning and say "I'm gonna bust me some black people today." I think that the whole society has been adversely impacted by race and past racism, and that racial stereotypes persist in media and in people's minds causing UNINTENTIONAL bias in action. We see what we want to see, and act on that, rather than taking a step back and asking if we can believe our eyes, or if we've got some sort of impairment that makes our vision blurry - through no fault or our own.
It's not an attack to say "This is happening." It's not me saying "Police are racist." It's me, and Michelle Alexander, and Ice-T, and any number of other people trying to get people to realize the unintentional - but real - disparity and the socially devastating impact this unintentional disparity is having.
End the War on Drugs now! It's been a failure and has resulted in the social oppression (intentional or not) of an entire community.
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