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Comment Archives: Stories

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Mr. DeCoursey,

How do you know " he seemed to have the confidence of the population that it serves?" Are you making things up?

3 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/18/2014 at 1:17 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Sandy Hook was committed with a legally purchased gun left lying around by the mother of a mentally ill child.

3 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/18/2014 at 11:37 AM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Paralyzed for fear of the NRA is not a good reason to do nothing.

Law abiding citizens have been known to leave their guns out where children have access to them.

Safe Act has been around long enough for the haters to have developed their own better plan....but where is it?

1 like, 13 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/18/2014 at 11:35 AM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

It does seem odd for the board to oust Castro after only a few years on the job - especially as he seemed to have the confidence of his agency's employees and the population that it serves. The previous board had done an extensive national search to select that director, and now a local party fixture is swapped in without the benefit of anything of the same background in housing that Castro had.

But it's the mayor's job to appoint (most of) the board members and its the board's prerogative to dictate that agency's leader solely according to its pleasure - so I don't see what could possibly come of an ethics probe.

11 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Lincoln DeCoursey on 10/18/2014 at 2:00 AM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Mr. Schnurr, I don't suppose Robert Duffy's Administration waged an "effort to systematically exclude [BOTH] capable Latinos [AND CAPABLE AFRICAN AMERICANS] from positions of influence" --- did it? Of course not, or you would have" spoken truth to their power" --- right? Or, are you fearful of "speaking truth to [CERTAIN TYPES] of power?" Don't be hypocritical.

3 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 8:39 PM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Whether or not any laws, rules, or formal ethical standards were violated in the removal of Alex Castro as RHA executive director and his replacement within Coucilmember McFadden, it clearly represents the latest manifestation of a 10+ year effort by Chairman Gantt, Mayor Warren, and other members of their faction within the Democratic Party establishment to systematically exclude capable Latinos from positions of influence. It is long past time for more people to speak this truth to their power.

36 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Terry Schnurr on 10/17/2014 at 7:23 PM

Re: “[UPDATED] Cooperative Extension plans a move

It's great to hear that the Cooperative Extension will get a new home if it needs one, although this is perhaps rather unfortunate news for that building's smaller tenants - there are a handful besides the Extension itself, as I recall.

It's good to hear that the county is thinking about Highland Park's south end. It's seemed to me that the portions of the park south of Highland - the section near Al Sigl (with the exception of the vets memorial), and especially the southeastern leg along South Goodman could be much better utilized with some further attention and investment.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lincoln DeCoursey on 10/17/2014 at 7:00 PM

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

This article reminds me of very sound advice that Dr. Joy DeGruy gave us (when she was in town for a three-day workshop this past July). She noted that we (black folks) cannot continue to allow people who have severely limited or no historical and/or cultural knowledge-base and understanding of us --- to just come into our communities, and work with our children and families (without proper training). I am not a gambler. However, I would be willing to bet anything that not only do many of those involved in the initiative discussed below, not have proper training, but in some cases, they have little or no formal educational training at all. Yet, we (black folks) continue, not only to allow people to do exactly what Dr, DeGruy explained we should not do, but in many cases, we even assist them in the process. Some of the idiots (in the original sense of the term) who are involved just assume that their involvement is sanctioned because people like Bolgen Vargas is "leading" them. However, there is an abundance of evidence, including amazing statistics cited in the article, which indicates that (with regard to widespread academic change and improvement) Vargas does not have a clue. Throughout his so-called "watch" ---conditions have clearly and steadily continued to deteriorate. WE MUST WAKE UP, AND WRESTLE CONTROL AWAY FROM THE HUSTLERS AND EXPLOITERS OF OUR CHILDREN --- PERIOD.

4 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 4:24 PM

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

"Gotta Say It" --- you on point (dead right) --- with one exception, i.e., ..I don't think "spending 50 million of its overflowing savings, building [ANOTHER] small, K-12 charter school that is directly linked to the surrounding community agencies" is a solution. Instead, here (below) is what I am unequivocally convinced is needed:

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the seven (7) point platform below represents an objectively correct, and clear direction for our children and families.

1. Establishing relevant, broad-based, parent, student and community engagement at every level of the system, and throughout the community (movement)

2. Addressing / ending systemic, social promotion

3. Development / Implementation of effective, authentic, alternative educational models

4. Systemic change regarding standardization (in order to produce a new reality, in which the overall, initial focus is on properly and adequately laying the academic foundation upon which all else is built)

5. Addressing / reducing systemic / institutionalized racism, and establishing cultural equity

6. Working for relief from federal and state mandates (increased autonomy, and local / community control)

7. Reducing / mitigating the impact and effects of concentrated, widespread poverty (equitable resource acquisition and efficiency, which includes rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption)

Rationale: There is a dire need to work collaboratively and cooperatively with parents, grandparents, guardians, students, other family members, committed educators, Board members, and anyone else who is serious about widespread change and improvement within the RCSD --- in the process of building an ongoing movement, which I am thoroughly convinced will be necessary in order to produce substantial change and improvement. Of course, any credible movement must necessarily center around concrete issues and conditions that are negatively impacting our children and families. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

- the need to get focused (with laser-like precision) on the foundational academic development of our children --- by doing everything that we possibly can to make certain that they master literacy skills and knowledge --- that is, reading, writing, math skills and knowledge at or above grade level (right from the very beginning), which is one of the most important reasons why we must address / change the standardized testing process, i.e., because it is driving everything that happens at the classroom level, and deprives teachers and support staff of the necessary time and energy to concentrate on developing foundational skills and knowledge. Instead, largely because of state and federal mandates, rules, regulations and policies --- teachers find themselves (more and more) teaching narrowly to tests. There is no mystery surrounding the reason why so many of our children don't do well on tests. It's because they don't have adequate reading, writing, and math skills, which again represents the very foundation of all knowledge, and which is necessary for them to be able to master higher-order knowledge and skills --- such as critical and analytical reading, writing and thinking. So, I'm saying, if we lay the foundation properly, then we won't have to worry so much about tests. If the proper foundation has been laid, then the testing issue will take care of itself (as long as that which is being tested, is fundamentally the same as that which is being taught). So there are two issues wrapped up together: 1) the need for more local control (as opposed to far too many dictates from the state and federal governments, and 2) the need to free teachers and support staff up --- so that they will have the time and energy to focus, again, with laser-like precision, on laying the academic foundation upon which all knowledge and skills-development is built. This issue is even more important when we consider that huge numbers of our children enter the system lagging far behind their middle class peers --- right from the very beginning.

The latter referenced issue is clearly among the most important of all issues we face, and is connected to another issue, i.e., the issue of widespread, concentrated poverty. Please don't misunderstand me regarding this critically important issue. I do not subscribe (under any circumstances) to any theory or idea about children not being able to learn because they live in poverty. If this was the case, many whom I've known (as children of migrant farm workers) would be among the most uneducated people on earth. On the other hand, for us to stick our heads in the sand (as an ostrich would do), and pretend that issues and conditions that often come along with abject poverty ---does not impact our ability to educate well --- is frankly ridiculous, but the main point is that we need to do all we can to make sure we have the necessary, equitable, resources to provide whatever our children need in order to develop to their full potentials, which is currently not the case, and to be honest, in order to secure such necessary resources probably will require a struggle and a fight (politically speaking). As you probably know, often those who need less --- actually get more --- because they are well organized and very effective advocates for their children (often exclusively). The other side of this coin is, we must make sure the vast amount of resources that we do receive (nearly $800 million dollars) are being utilized efficiently and effectively, which obviously is not the case currently, and which raises another issue, i.e., rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption, which is currently occurring in the RCSD.

Two other critically important issues, which we must deal with are 1) the need to address individual and institutionalized / systemic racism and the establishment of cultural equity relative to curricula, hiring and retention practices, as well as other ways, including revisiting a number of existing policies and practices. I realize this is a sensitive issue, but it is one that we cannot shy away from. It needs to be addressed; 2) it is amply clear that traditional educational approaches and systems will not work for many of our students, especially many of those who have been shuffled through the system via the criminal practice of social (age) promotion. Therefore, we must get serious about developing authentic, alternative models of education.

In my humble, but staunch view, probably not much of this will get done unless and until we build a deadly serious, ongoing, movement of parents, grandparents, guardians, students, extraordinarily committed educators, politicians, including and especially Board members, and anyone else who is really serious about widespread, fundamental change and improvement --- working cooperatively, collaboratively and constantly around concrete, well defined, measurable goals strategies and tactics, which is in essence what a movement is.

2 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 3:46 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Tom, why do you think doing something, even if it doesn't make sense, is better than doing nothing?

As far as children killed by gun violence, I am sick of I and other legal gun owners being blamed for the negligent or criminal use of firearms by others. I have three kids. I care about children as much as you do.

I live in a suburb bordering a poor high crime city with almost daily shootings. All of those shootings are committed by young black males. When I moved here 23 years ago there were 5 murders in the city neighborhood I moved to in 18 months, again committed by young black males. In the suburb I live in and every other suburb in the county and beyond there have been no shootings, none. In 23 years there hasn't been a criminal shooting committed by a white person anywhere near here.

Before you call me racist know that FBI statistics confirm that what is happening here is happening across the country. Blacks make up about 12% of the U.S. population yet commit over half the murders. Not all blacks commit those murders. Most are committed by young black males who make up about a quarter of the black population and about 3% of the U.S. population. 3% of the population commits over 50% of the murders. That's fact. If it isn't, show me statistics that refute the FBI.

None of those murders are committed with legal guns. None of the shooters could ever legally buy a gun because they have criminal records before they turn 18, the minimum age to legally buy a gun. They are already criminals when they commit murder with criminally purchased or stolen illegal guns.

I and my gun and the guns of other legal gun owners have nothing to do with that. If you want to "do something" about gun violence try to convince young black males that this is the 21st Century when civilized people don't settle grievances and real or perceived insults with violence. Young urban black males have a perverted sense of what they call honor that to them must be defended with violence. That's crazy and a horrible tragedy for young black males and their families.

You want to "do something". Do what you can to change that mindset. Failing that, lock up every murderer for life. I'm against the death penalty but strongly believe that murderers should die in prison. Other capital punishment opponents should accept that as the minimum justice survivors of murder victims will accept.

The vast majority of gun violence is not committed by legal gun owners. It is committed by criminals with illegal guns. Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents are on record in interviews as saying they are not concerned about legal gun owners but catching illegal ones. Criminals are on record in interviews saying they don't care about gun control. It's not a concern to them because they are criminals and don't follow the law.

Yet you and other gun control advocates keep focusing on legal gun owners. The only way it makes sense is that you hate guns and gun ownership and want to see them limited as much as possible to everyone. If you injected most gun control advocates with truth serum they would admit what Bill Maher is honest enough to say without it, that the Second Amendment is the problem that stands in the way of their goals, that the Second Amendment is, in their minds, b.s., an anachronism left over from the 1700s that should be gotten rid of.

To which I say, go for it. If you don't like average law-abiding Americans owning and carrying guns try to repeal the Second Amendment. The Constitution spells out how.

Until then, leave legal gun owners alone. We're not the problem.

As far as school shootings, fortunately they are rare. Without infringing on citizens' constitutional right there are probably steps that can be taken to keep guns out of the hands of the seriously mentally ill as long as it doesn't include every gun owner who is not dangerous seeking routine mental health treatment. The fact is that there is nothing that can be done to absolutely prevent all mass shootings other than to get rid of the Second Amendment and the constitutional right to own and carry firearms and collect and destroy most of them the way Australia did. Even then criminals would have guns but they generally only shoot at each other or individual robbery victims. If you want to "do what has worked in other countries" like Australia you need to get rid of the Second Amendment. Of course, I and every other gun owner will resist you every step of the way.

13 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jim Harte on 10/17/2014 at 3:14 PM

Re: “Keep Louise Slaughter

Is it too much to ask for you people to try something new? Like, say for example, giving an independent candidate a chance instead of someone who will quite obviously toe the party line? Neither party is what's best for our country. You MAY be able to argue that one is a lesser of two evils, but you would then be ignoring the third option: an independent that is actually GOOD rather than the lesser of two evils (democrat and republican are both evil, in different ways).

Slaughter is just another example of what is wrong with partisan politics (anyone who supported the ACA blindly, ignoring the wishes of the majority that never wanted the ACA to be forced upon us in the first place falls into this category) and should NOT be re-elected. Write in a candidate if you don't like the other guy, just stop with the lesser of two evils already!!!

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by ACSuperstar on 10/17/2014 at 2:07 PM

Re: “VOTE NOW: Best of Rochester 2014 Final Ballot

it kills me the way the voting goes for only certain places I run a business on East Avenue and have tried for years to get into your ballot 4 votes Irun Monster Hots on East Avenue 9 yearsand I will throw down with any of these other hot dog joints blindfolded taste test

Posted by Steve Plum on 10/17/2014 at 1:36 PM

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

We have heard all of this over and over. Why doesn't the group spend 50 million of its overflowing savings, build a small, K-12 charter school that is directly linked to the surrounding community agencies? Replicate the Harlem Children's Zone. That could serve as a model and more would be learned than another study or task force. The needy in Rochester are not being helped by these efforts. The sad reality is that the people involved with these initiatives like to help from afar without getting their hands dirty-so sad.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gotta Say It on 10/17/2014 at 12:46 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

The SAFE act is a bad law, passed in an unsavory fashion, and demonstrably unenforceable. A legislator who could vote for this act and show no remorse is unworthy of further public service. Best wishes in your next job, Ted. You're fired.

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Bill Of Rights on 10/17/2014 at 9:48 AM

Re: “Endorsements 2014

City endorsements are useful. They show who not to vote for.

20 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Lancer50 on 10/16/2014 at 8:01 PM

Re: “Hawkins, to protest and push progressive ideas

Hawkins is such a cheapskate! Only a $15 minimum wage? Why not $40? After all, it's not his money or the taxpayers. He'll make those evil money-grubbing businesses pay a nice fat wage for their workers. The fiscally irresponsible state is in a better position to know what business can afford, right? But like they say about socialism; sooner or later you run out of other peoples' money!

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Bart on 10/16/2014 at 7:38 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

I'll vote for anyone who will repeal the NY SAFE act. It does NOTHING to make NY safer and it rammed through for Cuomo's political aspirations. Liberals are afraid of open and honest discussion and debate to find common ground as the basis for common sense legislation (see also the way Obamacare was passed).

17 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by John on 10/16/2014 at 7:31 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Jim, if Funke does not have a better plan than the Safe Act, then he has nothing at all. Heaven knows the Safe Act is far from good legislation, however I give credit to those who decided to do something instead of doing nothing at all.

Jim, everything you said was centered on what gun owners want. What about the future children yet to be killed by gun violence in the next school massacre. Do they matter less than gun owners?

4 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/16/2014 at 5:58 PM

Re: “Hawkins, to protest and push progressive ideas

Bart: Hawkins has always explained how he would found his plans for NY. It is the same this time around as it was the last time he ran for Gov.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/16/2014 at 5:48 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Tom, Rich Funke has attended several gun owners' events. Gun owners are frustrated that he hasn't officially declared a position on what he would do on the SAFE Act but it makes no sense for a gun owner to vote for a candidate who attacked their constitutional Second Amendment right. Unfortunately Ted O'Brien, every other state Democrat and some downstate Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos did that. Because of that gun owners will vote against them regardless of the imperfections of their opponents. Perhaps Rich Funke's imprecise stance on the SAFE Act is a smart political move. Most residents of the rural southern half of the 55th District hate the SAFE Act. Most City of Rochester and some suburban residents support it. He won't get many city votes because it is so solidly Democratic but he needs Democratic and independent votes from the suburbs and it's probably a smart move not to make too much of the SAFE Act to avoid driving away those who support Cuomo's stupid law. Gun owners know that any candidate is better than one who voted for the SAFE Act or has an established anti-gun record or attitude. Rich Funke hasn't said or done anything to indicate he will attack our constitutional right and he is running against one who has so he will get the vote of every gun owner in the district.

13 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jim Harte on 10/16/2014 at 1:19 PM

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