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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion

Re: “Democracy for sale

Citizens United did not do damage, it ended what was a blatantly anti-free speech law. The original purpose of so-called "campaign finance reform" was to restrict the ability of the National Rifle Association to run ads critical of politicians during campaigns. That was the stated goal, because Democrats then saw it as a way to get gun control-oriented politicians elected without the NRA being able to run ads critical of them.

What everyone forgets is that corporations are not just big companies, but a legal structure that is also used by a great deal of non-profits, such as the NRA. The NRA is a grassroots organization (it is not a front for gun manufacturers as many like to claim), and is a way for ordinary citizens to fight to protect their 2nd Amendment rights.

Thus, the idea that corporate political speech could be limited by laws was really a way to limit the free speech of regular citizens. The only way regular citizens can engage in speech on the same level as big companies is through forming organizations, often structured as corporations, that can raise money to spend on ads and fighting for the cause. The NRA does this regarding gun rights.

When Citizens United happened, many said that the Supreme Court may well have handed the presidency permanently over to the Republican party. We saw how well that went in 2012.

I am unsure regarding this current decision, and I don't believe there shouldn't be any laws regarding control of money in politics (for example unlimited donations to individual politicians), but not all legislation meant to control money in politics has been good, and if anything has been shown to do the opposite (such as the limitations placed via McCain-Feingold which Citizens United struck down which limited organizations like the NRA in terms of their ability to engage in political speech during campaigns).

For those that don't like the NRA, keep in mind it's the principle that is important, i.e. the ability of people, via grassroots organizations, to fight for causes and rights that they consider important. Other such issues can be LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, abortion rights, privacy rights, etc...

Posted by Kyle Blank on 04/16/2014 at 1:30 AM

Re: “Expanded services possible downtown

Another fee? I already pay association fees for my condo. How much is this fee going to be and why don't my taxes already cover this?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jane Ann on 04/15/2014 at 2:30 PM

Re: “Expanded services possible downtown

i hope it works of course. obviously exclusive but who cares if it plants a seed. who will shop? where will they park? what will they sell? clean, well lit, safe, all essential ingredients. i thought most of the money was in the eastern burbs? what about eastview mall? a competitor?

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jonathan Gates on 04/15/2014 at 12:13 PM

Re: “All eyes on Ted O'Brien

At least O'Brien is allowed to break with his party on a couple issues... try to show some independence in the GOP, and they'll bring the hammer down on your head. Just ask Anthony Danielle and Ciaran Hanna in the County Leg. If you don't go along with the leadership's group think, be prepared to lose committee assignments, leadership posts, and most importantly, party campaign contributions.

This trend was started by the late Steve Minarik and now Bill Reilich is carrying on this heavy-handed tactic.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Marc on 04/14/2014 at 9:16 AM

Re: “STAMP's location problem

This bonehead idea is a classic case of why government needs to get out of the pump priming "lets spend money to 'create' economic activity" game. The site for this park was chosen purely for political reasons, and makes absolutely no sense since it is not close to anything. When all is said and done, this thing will be a net drain on taxpayers. That $33 million should be refunded to taxpayers, and this thing should be mothballed.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Animule on 04/12/2014 at 10:12 AM

Re: “STAMP's location problem

Suburban sprawl and reliance on the automobile for long distance commuting are hardly the way of the future – certainly not “A transformational opportunity” to quote Joe Morelle. The STAMP project is one example of this mindset, but NYS is also funding over $140M on the Kendrick Road/ Route 390 interchange for more single occupant vehicles going to the U of R and MCC. Some say that western NY is 10 years behind the times – the Interstate Highway Act was enacted in 1956. Most regions are now supporting existing infrastructure in urban areas – Eastman Business Park and Rochester Tech Park would be prime sites. - Paul Tankel

Posted by Paul Tankel on 04/12/2014 at 9:46 AM

Re: “A 21st century downtown

I wonder if people living in the city reading the appealing description of the apartments being planned might wonder why the significant tax breaks given to developers will demand rentals that are totally unaffordable to so many. Ironically it is their taxes that make most of that development possible. Would it be too much to ask that all this and other recent downtown residential redevelopment contain a fair mix of more affordable apartments. We wonder why the economic gap contributes so much to the effects of poverty and community distance. Bonnie CAnnan

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Bonnie Cannan on 04/11/2014 at 5:09 PM

Re: “East High is not alone, says Commissioner King

The arrogance of people like the Commissioner, who are likely part of the larger system that has for years made political decisions or supported those who did that never really addressed the underlying poverty or racism. No it does not mean poor children cannot learn what it does mean is that if you put up enough barriers and let urban communities deteriorate for years, reduce revenue sharing with local governments, further the wealthy with corporate welfare tax breaks, abandon progressive income taxing, segregate housing opportunities to favor the wealthy, what do you think will result?. It is also interesting that most private schools can decide not to accept the common core curriculum and can make local decisions as to how best to meet their students needs.

Could it be that there is another agenda which points to having the responsibility for public education shift to private sources where recent interest shown by Hedge funds could benefit? If you look at privatization efforts elsewhere, one of the strategies is to allow the decline of public services with limited ability to meet boarder needs of the increasingly poor communities . The need continues to increase and so on. Other factors including globalization,, millions of jobs lost to automation and huge tax breaks for the rich are like a vice that continues to squeeze and squeeze. Status quo politicians do not want to go up against the big businesses that fund them or speak truth to the public who often see especially as applies to education an increasingly desperate matter as they fear their children will be caught in a downward cycle of a lower standard of living Just now realizing how serious the economic future could be easily positions them to be caught with stark reality. Bonnie Cannan

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Bonnie Cannan on 04/11/2014 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Gates supervisor wants casino at tech park

Jack Moore called it the "No More Casinos Competition Coalition". I credit the Henrietta Town Supervisor for telling it like it is.

The Seneca Nation already has three casinos in the Buffalo area. Couldn't they just close one? The "complicated" compacts wouldn't have to be reopened in order to build a casino in Monroe County. And what would the coalition say? Closing one casino and opening another isn't really "more". I bet the coalition would change it's name before endorsing a casino in the Rochester area. They know where their customers live and how much hurt that a Rochester area casino would cause.

Land has already been purchased in Henrietta for a casino. It seems like a good location. Gates seems like a terrible location.

I am in complete agreement with the No New Casinos Coalition. But, how realistic is it considering how powerless the town governments are in this particular situation?

Regionally, we need to be good neighbors to the Senecas also. This means supporting them in allowing a casino wherever they want one. We always have the choice of not going. A little personal responsibility can go very long way.

Posted by Mike Bruton on 04/11/2014 at 2:58 PM

Re: “Two former lawmen fight for Reilich's old Assembly seat

We need an assemblyman who will challenge the status quo and fight for working people and the middle class. That man is Gary Pudup. Gary has the integrity to do the right thing, instead of the politically expedient thing. He may ruffle a few feathers in his own party, but he won't be a party automaton who "goes along to get along".

Don't look for Mr. Lawrence to buck the G.O.P. brass - he was nominated because he will follow the orders of Party fat cats without question - and that type of mentality has been detrimental to people trying to make a living.

Give 'em hell, Gary!

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by MB on 04/11/2014 at 11:22 AM

Re: “The Pythodd lives again

Shep's Paradise, was that near the Pythodd Room?

Posted by Peter Cartella on 04/11/2014 at 4:33 AM

Re: “Big differences between many city and suburban schools

Greece Odyssey is 87% white and has an 18% free/reduced lunch rate. East has an 88% free/reduced lunch rate.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Meg on 04/10/2014 at 10:22 PM

Re: “STAMP's location problem

Let's take a look at why this location was chosen. A few years back when the hydro plant was applying for relicensing, Buffalo objected. It seems that the NYPA stretches an ice boom across the mouth of the Niagara River. Buffalo complained that because of the ice boom corralling ice, that it delayed spring time weather in Buffalo by about 2,3 days. They were able to extract hundreds of millions of dollars, all focused on Niagara and Erie counties ONLY before allowing the relicensing to proceed. Look at the Buffalo waterfront today . That work ($300 million) is being financed by electric consumers subsidizing it. Buffalo continues to get billions of dollars from taxpayers while Rochester gets crumbs.

Do we have anyone representing us in Albany?????

Posted by johnny on 04/10/2014 at 7:40 PM

Re: “A 21st century downtown

In 1999, after a 20 yr absence, I drove into downtown Rochester one afternoon and thought I dropped into the Twilight Zone. I was stunned at what a ghost town it was.
I had been in Pittsburgh all that time and am back there now. Empty store fronts, a mere shadow of its former self when I first arvd in 1968.
Pittsburgh is developing downtown residences. I am not a student of any of this. I like Rochester. It has an extraordinary cultural life, more than most places I have visited.
I hope the city fathers can pull it back from the brink.
Jonathan Gates

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jonathan Gates on 04/10/2014 at 7:31 PM

Re: “Rochester Lilac Festival announces changes including fencing, checkpoints

They're not grabbing you on the street to check your bag, they're checking it when you choose to enter an enclosed area. You don't want a search, don't go to the festival.

1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by Cluver on 04/10/2014 at 2:17 PM

Re: “STAMP's location problem

Since when is 40 minutes "only"? My commute is 40 minutes on a bicycle, and 10 minutes by car. People are going to be miserable driving 40 minutes every day to the middle of nowhere. Think about the winter we just had. I have co-workers who live "only" 40 minutes away in Livonia, and there were many days this winter where it took them 1.5 hours to get to our office near the airport.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Cluver on 04/10/2014 at 8:30 AM

Re: “STAMP's location problem

Repeating the fallacy that STAMP is only 40 minutes from Rochester will not make it so. As a favored project of the powers that be, STAMP is a fait accompli at this point, but at least let's not play fast and loose with the facts. Google maps says 52.6 miles/52 minutes from Main and Clinton to Route 77 and Judge Road, which is the edge of STAMP closest to Rochester.

That’s 105 miles round trip. Generously assuming an average of 30 miles per gallon, that’s 3.5 gallons of gas per vehicle per day for round trips from Rochester. At the current price of $3.65 per gallon, that’s $12.78 per day ($63.88 per week, $3,129.88 per 49 week working year) just for gas, not counting $2.10 in daily tolls, vehicle costs, insurance, repairs, etc.

That’s one hour and 44 minutes (1.75 hours) every day spent commuting. 11% of your waking hours. 8.75 hours per week, 428.75 hours or almost 18 days per year spent commuting.

Is this the lifestyle that we want? Is this the lifestyle that is appealing to future employees? Young worker preferences suggest not. Regardless, the gross inefficiencies of up to 10,000 workers commuting long distances does not make good public policy and should not be encouraged with public funds. Doing so makes a mockery of the State’s Public Infrastructure Policy Act (PIPA), otherwise known as the Smart Growth Act. STAMP is not smart growth. It is dumb growth, of the highest order.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Urban Explorer on 04/10/2014 at 12:02 AM

Re: “STAMP's location problem

I agree. Terrible location. How about Bergen, where there already is a new commercial park at the intersection of 90 & 490.

Posted by johnny on 04/09/2014 at 7:23 PM

Re: “Rochester Lilac Festival announces changes including fencing, checkpoints

What does "check bags" mean? That seems to be a big issue. This is such a fundamental issue that it's in our nation's basic law. How is going to a festival consenting to a search? Has there been public discussion about this? Has the police department discussed this issue, the festival organizers, the Parks Department? I am curious if no one has raised legal issues and I wonder if we should.

It is not, if I need to say it, a problem with an individual's bags being checked, but a problem with not discussing the issue of why we have a protection from unwarranted searches in the Constitution.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by John on 04/09/2014 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Democracy for sale

As someone wisely said: "If you can afford to buy an election, you can afford to pay higher taxes."

Rev. Richard S. Gilbert

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Rsgilbert on 04/09/2014 at 3:47 PM

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