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Feedback 10/15 

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Powering Upstate

On "Ginna's Future in Jeopardy" (News): Although isn't a large plant, it's made huge contributions to clean, safe, and most important, reliable base-load electricity.

Electric systems must be balanced in terms of supply and demand. New York refuses to install higher voltage transmission lines, which would help the situation. As more coal and oil plants are taken off-line, system balance shifts. The nations' transmission infrastructure is old and weak. We can't address these issues piecemeal; we need a national energy policy that takes advantage of all sorts of generation.

We have very significant hydro resources Upstate, but most of that goes to New York City and Long Island. Gas turbines are cheap and easy to operate, but sourcing natural gas by hydrofracking is fraught with significant risks. Cuomo and his dad hate nuclear and fail to recognize how vital the plants in New York are.

Every elected official wants to kick the can down the road. Sooner or later we will have a power crisis. High-lever nuclear waste (spent fuel) is not a technical problem; it's been solved at Yucca Mountain. It's a political problem. Elected officials and the public don't want to take the time to learn about the issue.

In my opinion, based on more than 20 years in the nuclear industry, we need more nukes, not less. Natural gas should be used to heat homes, not generate electricity. Oil should be used for transportation and the petrochemical industry. Nukes can make electricity from uranium, and we could power cars and railroads with the power they produce. We need educated, long-term strategic thinking to move forward.


Discipline in city schools

On "Climate Change: Lowering Temperature at RCSD (News): With some 45 years of Rochester City School District experience as student, parent, and teacher, I am the first to confess that I am bereft of solutions. However, if the views of Mary Adams are indicative of the school board's mindset, then I fear all is lost.

She notes that suspensions only serve to further "victimize" the suspended students. I submit that it is the students in regular attendance seeking an education who are the ones being truly victimized.

While Superintendent Vargas was seeking to improve the district's abysmal attendance record, the Democrat and Chronicle quoted a student at East High School sagely noting that adding these students to the mix only exacerbates an already disruptive environment.

Sometimes achieving what you want can have unanticipated consequences.


OMG – more studies and even a task force. A few good teachers, principals, and parents along with representative students can come up with more productive remedies in a week. Community groups need not get involved. They often distract from honest solutions. If they really wanted to be a part of the solution, they would be working in the hallways and classrooms.

Discipline is just one just one element of a broader student-management issue, and student management is a mess because the broader systems themselves are chaotic. Any effective system, process, policy, etc., is dependent on universal understanding and consistent enforcement. This is a fact. All successful organizations ensure that their employees and stakeholders understand the expectations and how these are enforced. The RCSD does a pitiful job at this.

The district gives the schools one day to prepare before school opens – one day! The Girl Scouts spend more time getting their candy sellers prepared.


This article fails to address the most basic and most important reason of them all: the student's home.

Each of us, whether we accept it or not, reflect what is going on in our private lives. Let's address the white elephant in the room. If the city community leaders worked on changing the messages people hear from community organizers/preacher on Sunday mornings to one of respect for others, instead of challenge to authority, and if the schools involved parents and guardian more in the lives of their children (specially the absent-by-choice kind of parents and guardians), I guarantee that you would see a huge change in the classrooms and grades.

This is not an easy solution, but it is the right solution IMHO.


Walking, biking for the climate

On "Rochester's Bike Boulevard Experiment" (News): Not to mention (Rochester takes greats pains not to) that bike boulevards will look nice on climate change adaptation strategies. Getting more folks out of their gas guzzlers so they can bike more safely through our city will reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA says 27 percent of our greenhouse gases come from transportation.

But in Rochester, there seems to be a concerted effort to disconnect active transportation (walking and bicycling) from what is stated in all climate studies and even local transportation studies: that more active transportation is a real strategy for addressing climate change.

Instead of the city educating the public on climate change, as is their responsibility (especially under the state's Climate Smart Communities program, they seem terrified of doing so.

Why in Monroe County and in the City of Rochester is climate change not being communicated to the public? Why are all of Rochester's climate change efforts being conducted behind closed doors, instead of in the public? The public absolutely needs to know what their government is doing to adapt to climate change.


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