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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News Blog

Re: “Schumer targets specific type of railroad tanker

First Responders ask federal administrations to consider adding secondary containment to rail tank cars used to transport chlorine gas, providing lifesaving safety to First Responders and the public they serve. See First Responders Comments at PETITION C KIT.

Posted by Rudy Caparros on 02/25/2014 at 3:00 PM

Re: “Weingarten: Stop blaming teachers

What a backstabbing phony. If teachers think that their unions are not part of the APPR/ common core/ charter school boom power hungry crooks - you are sadly mistaken. She was on board with this APPR nonsense- the bill gates (take over the world) foundation gave the ATF MILLIONS of cash. Why would the union make deals with the devil? Throwing rocks (boulders) and then hiding your hand. She wants teachers to believe her rhetorical lies. The whole system is a sham. Making it worse by taking dues from hard working teachers. Ms weingarten I'm not buying what you're selling. Dear.

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by kamakazee78 on 02/23/2014 at 3:17 PM

Re: “Group says Cuomo should ditch tax cuts, boost school funding

“We need a highly progressive tax structure that strongly disincentivizes excessive pay and unreasonable hoarding of wealth, in which the gains are used to ensure a thriving commons.”
What we have in New York is a highly progressive tax structure that ‘disincentivizes’ and punishes success, and forces people to try and protect their wealth from unreasonable confiscation by the state. Look at what happened under NY Governor Paterson after he imposed his tax on “the rich”. Those who were targeted simply left the state; Tom Golisano being the most well-known example. It would have cost Golisano $14,000 a day to remain a resident of NY under Paterson’s tax. “The rich” create jobs. They are also more mobile than the average taxpayer so they can simply up and leave (and take their money with them) when socialists target them. It will be interesting to see what happens if NY mayor De Blasio gets to impose his tax on “the rich”.
NY is the highest-taxed and most business-unfriendly state in America. People are leaving (escaping) in droves and Cuomo understands why. Actually Cuomo is a heretic in the liberal socialist Democrat party. He has stated that lowering taxes helps businesses, which is good for the state. Cuomo proposes to lower property taxes (again, NY is the leader in property taxes in the US) which is good for the struggling NY taxpayer. Cuomo also has indicated he does not approve of De Blasio’s plan to tax “the rich” in NYC. All this is still just talk by Cuomo, but he is by no means a fiscal conservative in my opinion.
You talk about “excessive pay and unreasonable hoarding of wealth”. Who gets to define ‘excessive’ and ‘unreasonable hoarding’. You? De Blasio? Even more to the point, where in the Constitution does is say that our government, or anyone else, has the right or the power to decide what anyone else’s pay should be. Unlike communist and socialist systems it is not the job of the US government to redistribute wealth.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Bart on 02/21/2014 at 12:18 PM

Re: “Group says Cuomo should ditch tax cuts, boost school funding

We have been trying to accomplish policy goals with tax cuts since Reagan. Well, since before Reagan, but increasingly it has become a crutch of political rhetoric that never lives up to its promises in practice. We need a highly progressive tax structure that strongly disincentivizes excessive pay and unreasonable hoarding of wealth, in which the gains are used to ensure a thriving commons.

We all benefit from a healthy, well-educated, economically secure population.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Chris McCamic on 02/20/2014 at 6:02 PM

Re: “Study challenges charter schools' superiority

I question how one can believe that charters have the capacity to hire “more experienced” teachers when they traditionally offer lower salaries than unionized districts. NYS sets the requirements for all certified teachers, we all tend to graduate from the same teaching programs, take the same certification test and attend the same professional developments whether we are suburban, urban. or rural.
Many charters have teaching staffs with 0-5 years of teaching experience, teachers who are newly certified teachers or are not certified at all because they have the flexibility to allow teachers to teach out of their certification areas; a luxury that non-charters do not have.
In the case of our local region, young, inexperienced teachers cut from public districts because of seniority rights tend to end up in local charter schools if they choose to continue teaching at all. Even still, charters tend to have higher rates of teacher turnover. Partly, based on what I have heard from charter school teachers is that they are forced to work longer hours which negatively impacts the lives of their own children & families and they have to constantly reapply for their jobs. I would encourage reporters to find some of those teachers who have left charters after one or two years and ask them why they leave.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by watdi33 on 02/20/2014 at 4:29 PM

Re: “Study challenges charter schools' superiority

The relevency of this politically motivated "study" seems strained at best. If there is no damning news about charter schools here, must we now seek it out in Milwaukee?

1) Charter schools live and die by the state laws governing them. Across the country, there is great variety in the effectiveness of charter authorizing laws. Not all state charter laws (and by extension, not all charter schools) are created equal. Therefore, there is flawed logic in drawing conclusions about NY charters based on national studies, or those focused on a different state. Charter schools in NYS and Rochester consistently outperform their host districts...the margin of outperformance only grows when factoring for poverty. This has been the case for years.

2) Why on earth would a study adjust for "teacher experience"? If a charter school does a better job at recruiting and retaining quality teachers, then that is clearly a determining factor in their outcomes. Punishing a school for putting a premium on teacher quality is absurd.

3) Controlling for truancy is also fraught with problems when comparing schools. Milwaukee charter schools may have lower truancy rates simply because they are better at controlling the problem, so why punish them for a potentially more effective approach?

Sure, those of us who have an interest or work in urban education are not surprised that poverty and truancy adversely impact student learning. Examples of urban schools that defy the trend dramatically include many of Rochester's own charter schools.

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Marshall on 02/20/2014 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Study challenges charter schools' superiority

No doubt, depending on your perspective on charters, you can find a study that 'adjusts' the data to suit your hypothesis.

On the point about the status quo's excuse du jour: student truancy... Is student attendance a cause or effect of good schools? Common sense (and a ton of research) says that truancy goes down when student engagement goes up. And charters--unlike traditional schools--have a strong incentive to engage students. Without happy students, they go out of business.

Charter schools began as laboratory schools. Why should we be so quick to discount their success? Shouldn't we instead try to understand--and god forbid, replicate in traditional schools--the conditions that have resulted in some charter's higher student attendance and achievement? And note I said "some charters", not "all".

And while we're at it, how about some investigative reporting on the RCSD's so-called 'truancy campaign' that has given the district a steady stream of publicity for the last 2 years. Reducing truancy in a sustained way requires more than the superintendent visiting truants' homes ( with the TV crews in tow). Has the district done any evaluation of this signature program? Have schools met their attendance goals? Do they even have goals in their School Improvement Plans?

For all the fanfare, we should be seeing results by now, or at least asking for them.

8 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Carrie Remis on 02/19/2014 at 8:24 PM

Re: “Group pushes back on possible Seneca casino

IF there's an appropriate place for a casino in the Rochester area, it is the former Irondequoit Mall.

Just make damn sure Scott CONgel doesn't reap any profits.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by J on 02/19/2014 at 9:33 AM

Re: “Group pushes back on possible Seneca casino


1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Vera Spears on 02/18/2014 at 7:51 AM

Re: “Cynthia Elliott to help lead board she once wanted to abolish

Campos attendance or lack of attendance to board meeting should be addressed. Board members pay themselves 23k a year. The school district is at the bottom of the state and the boards pay themselves the highest of any school board member of the state. If teachers and principals have to be held accountable at the very least can the board explain how they deserve to be paid at all??

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by kamakazee78 on 02/17/2014 at 8:23 AM

Re: “Group pushes back on possible Seneca casino

It is clear to me that the Seneca Nation is trying to sneak a casino into Henrietta. Although the specifics have not been released, a casino would be built first, followed by a hotel, restaurant, etc.

The slot machines and gaming tables are the core money makers. A hotel, restaurant, bars and entertainment are primarily a draw to get people into the actual casino. Please, please, please do not believe promises from out-of-state gambling interests that surrounding businesses will benefit. They will indeed be hurt by the unfair competition.

Are we really becoming a society of mindless minions unable to resist an ever more greedy overclass? Who amongst us wants this overpowering juggernaut to be built; wiping out the surrounding entertainment landscape like an atomic bomb?

Anyone with any ethical integrity at all knows that building this is wrong. With regard to this issue, we should all see Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo as the political cowards they really are.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Mike Bruton on 02/16/2014 at 5:21 PM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

I would like to know the real reason that kids who create violence in city schools are not sent home. I'm not buying the " they miss instruction" scapegoat. If a child acts like this in fairport or penfield what happens? It doesn't happen as frequently but when it does - they are sent home. Nobody cries about that student missing out on instruction. Does the district lose money when students are sent home? Should city students have to endure violent predators because " they should be used to this?" - staff as well? Why not create an alternative program specifically for this rising problem? I wish one form of media would follow the money and find out what's really going on. That melee that occurred at the college prep campus was wayyyyy worse than reported. Why is it that nobody is connecting the dots? I guess Vargas is too busy trying to oust president school board member Can White to really give a damn . Remember this guy urges the community not to get "distracted". Funny how he doesn't listen to his own advice. The recent display of RCSD obvious display of raw inept leadership, wretched politicking and blatant disregard of playing fair is very telling and should elicit fear for the future for all. Most media outlets are suspiciously silent. This too will get swept under a bulging, filthy rug. School board are you watching? Are you finally going to stand behind your president and our children? Or is it politics as usual? How many red flags will it take to completely destroy this district? And you're one of the few school districts that have the nerve to pay yourselves? Almost 30k a year? My god, I can go on and on. Shameful.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by kamakazee78 on 02/15/2014 at 7:05 PM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

The greater Rochester region has segregated the poor and institutional policies allow the concentration of impoverished children to attend a small number of schools. It denies access to an eduction burns out teachers and is shameful in 2014. Repeated focus and blaming of the poor or children of poverty or the teachers who struggle to provide an education is a distraction from larger systemic problems. Today cities like Richmond Virginia, Jacksonville Florida, Austin Texas have better educational realities for all.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Karl on 02/15/2014 at 6:22 PM

Re: “Comcast-Time Warner merger probably not great news for consumers

Sure you may get some more channels, but major communications mergers are bad for a democracy and diversity.

Those big media corporations tend not to place a high value on communicating Climate Change to the public—critical information we need in our media. On FCC net-neutrality rules, ‘we the people’ face some serious threats as to how our news—information we need to know that’s in the public interest—will get limited to only a few voices with an agenda perhaps quite different from our own.

If you are interested in addressing this issue, then go here: Comcast + Time Warner Cable = Disaster…

Posted by Frank J. Regan on 02/15/2014 at 9:27 AM

Re: “Perception of city crime, police performance varies depending on who you are and where you live

Look at the page on interaction with the RPD.

Note that the "No Interaction" response is 67% at the highest (67.1% had had no interaction with PACTAC; thus 32.9% had the highest interaction rate) and 85% at the lowest ("Attended a Voice of the Citizens Meeting - 84.6% had no interaction; thus 15.4% had the lowest interaction rate).

Note the positive/negative experiences among those who actually participated in those activities.

Those who attended NCS's, participated in or knew about PACTAC, and/or attended neighborhood meetings had fairly high levels of positive experience with the police.

My experience in the four years I worked on public safety issues in Rochester before moving to Wisconsin to be near my grandchildren was that I had fairly positive experiences with the police because of my active involvement. Despite the fact that I lived on two of the worst drug corners in the city (first Union & Weld, then Chili & Hobart), I felt relatively safe. I would even walk down to the liquor store on Chili Avenue at night. Not late, but after dark.

But most people don't want to be actively involved. They have other, more important (to them) things to be doing.

But the thing about being actively involved is that you then become known to the RPD in a positive way. You CREATE the necessary sense of community in order to feel safe.

So if you want to feel safer in the City, get involved!

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Georgia NeSmith on 02/14/2014 at 9:12 PM

Re: “Perception of city crime, police performance varies depending on who you are and where you live

I also like police bike patrols. I've biked all over Rochester for many years and I know how much more you can see, hear, and smell on a bike. Walking a beat is so slow and old-fashioned compared to a bike patrol. There are many places a patrol car can't go that a bike can. Bikes are better at getting through crowds, so it makes sense to use them for many security assignments. Electric bikes are available. I'm not sure how well they perform, but the technolgy is advancing. Bikes allow for easier engagement between cops and the public. Bikes offer stealth because they are small and quiet. An officer can quickly maneuver around corners and so effectively patrol areas normally inaccessible by car.

In additon, riding a bike is mood enhancing and this would help to improve community relations.

I want more police bike patrols in Rochester.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mike Bruton on 02/14/2014 at 4:24 PM

Re: “Perception of city crime, police performance varies depending on who you are and where you live

I would like to see more police on bkes. You are more mobile than walking, but can still respond at a decent speed if necessary as well as carry slightly more gear. From riding my bike around all summer, you definitely notice more on a bike than in your car with the windows up.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Culver on 02/14/2014 at 1:13 PM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

I was assigned to "monitor" up to 25 suspended students. All in one room. All with nothing to do but make you miserable. Sound like the solution? If I hand any "problems" I was to contact a sentry via a intermittent 2way (more often no way) radio. Support was more intermittent than the radio. After 25 years of service, I got out.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by FormerTeacher on 02/14/2014 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

As a former teacher (who was assigned to monitor an in-school suspension room in said location), I find the whole thing unsurprising. Don't get me started...

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by FormerTeacher on 02/14/2014 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Perception of city crime, police performance varies depending on who you are and where you live

Stephen, my understanding is they feel it would improve the relationship between the police and the community, because they'd have more cops out on the streets, walking a beat and interacting with people in a positive way. It's something the police union has wanted, too.

The former mayor, Tom Richards, thought more stations would probably be too costly and that, because of advances in technology, there really isn't a need for bricks-and-mortar stations. Each squad car is essentially a mobile police station now.

The "4 or 5" estimate is because they haven't decided if the downtown substation in the Sibley building will continue to be a separate operation or consolidated with another station.

Chris Fien
City news editor

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Christine Carrie Fien on 02/14/2014 at 9:54 AM

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