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Feedback 11/4 

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Can no longer support WXXI

WXXI was my first charitable donation, around 1973. I was proud to be a part of the family of donors. I continued with my contributions through the years, increasing my amount as I could afford it. I gave both in spring and fall.

I no longer listen during the drives; it's too much. The interruptions are so frequent and of such duration that my resignation has turned to anger. I understand that the on-air drives are the biggest source for donations.

The check I would normally write in the fall remains in my checkbook. It is not due to my frustration with the method, but because of the end result. You see, the goal set for the fall drive does not cover the top executive's pay. They would need another $100,000 to come close to the CEO's compensation. Every three years, $1 million is spent on one person to run the show at WXXI. This has been the norm for years now.

I do not see how our small market here justifies such an amount. I cannot in good conscience continue to contribute to making a few people at the top rich.

I truly love the services provided by WXXI and it is with a very heavy heart that I write this. I will never understand the board's thinking on this matter, but I know what I think about it.


The 'Best' we can do?

Dear Rochester,

We need to talk. You are really down on yourself, and I don't know why. This is the only possible reason why you would, again, choose Wegmans as City Newspaper's "Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner" (special sections, October 28).

Your collective self-esteem is lower than it ever should be because Wegmans is a supermarket, and there is no reason to think that any out-of-towner would think that this is the best that Rochester has to offer.

I know you know that both Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, two of the most pivotal civil rights activists in US history, are buried here, and you can visit their graves. There is no way anyone would think that is less cool than a place to get groceries and menial goods.

On First Friday, the Hungerford is a Shangri-La of artists of all types. The creativity is so diverse that walking through the different exhibitions is like walking through different dimensions of reality. But you think that the bulk bin is what will mesmerize people.

You have some of the most fun festivals I have ever seen. I always regret having to travel in the summer, because I'll miss at least two. For example, Jazz Festival and Fringe Festival are weeks concentrated with pure bliss.

Even though there are paid/ticketed events, I don't think I've seen festivals with so many free events that are so extravagant; I sometimes wonder if I missed the ticketing booth when I am watching and dancing to some of the best local and international artists in the middle of Gibbs Street or on East & Alexander or in MLK Park. There is no way that people who think highly of their hometown would think that the festivals are less impressive than fresh produce.

You have a Museum of Play here, and it has a giant butterfly-shaped room that is full of BUTTERFLIES. If any bugs got into Wegmans, they would exterminate them, and they would definitely not let you play with the merchandise. So how is Wegmans a better place to take an expat than a museum where touching is encouraged?

I have gotten to know a lot of your citizens. I do not think I've met such welcoming, caring, community-driven people in my life, and I have lived all over the world. My friends here are always doing five things at once, and all of their goals are aimed at making you even better, Roc.

Whether they're running their own restaurants or are involved in the Willow Center or the Gay Alliance or B.L.A.C.K., or if they just like to pay it forward in their own way, you have a population that cares about its fellow people a lot more than about where to get sushi and bread in the same place.

High Falls at dawn is dazzling. The old subway system is an adventure. Cobbs Hill at dusk on that Parthenon-looking thing at the top of the hill is probably one of the most relaxing things you can do with your Sunday. I can give you a myriad of landmarks and events where you can take an out-of-towner that are better than a grocery store, so stop short-selling yourself.

Take it from an out-of-towner, Roc: You are better than a supermarket. Don't take an out-of-towner there and think it's the best you have to offer. That is what small-towners in B-movies do right before disaster happens. You are much bigger and better than you think, Roc, so start thinking it.


A vote against one-party rule

I almost choked on my morning bran flakes as I was reading one of your reader's laments regarding the "stranglehold" that the Republicans have on the office of county executive (Feedback, October 28).

No one party has more of a stranglehold on City of Rochester politics than the Democrats for the past 40 years. Republicans don't even bother to present a token candidate, let alone a serious contender.

The County Legislature is lately a close call and if Democrats can present colorful, charismatic politicians, well, who knows? They may very well have a chance at a majority. But let's get serious: Republicans have zero chance of having one of their own elected in a city election in the foreseeable future. Anyone with a scintilla of political acumen knows the reason for this, political correctness be damned!

Since there is no other point of view presented and all of the policy-making offices are held by same party people with the same mindset, how can there possibly be new, alternative, or progressive ideas or suggestions debated or enacted? Party dogma trumps (no pun intended) innovation.

Years ago, "Lonesome" Charlie Schiano was the only Republican on the City Council and he had a voice in the decision-making process, at least. One party rule, Democrat or Republican, stifles creativity, innovation, and initiative — all of which is lacking in the City of Rochester.


After finding out that his contract wouldn't be renewed, Superintendent Bolgen Vargas announced that he has decided to leave the Rochester school district. Our readers reacted:

The hyper dysfunctional and meddling school board torpedoes progress and continuity once again. The board is in the pocket of the Association of Supervisors and Administrators that drains resources from the front lines of educating kids.

As a city resident, I am disgusted with this revolving door that betrays city residents and their kids. The schools need a CEO who can function with the independence to carry out the job.


As far as Vargas not being a motivator, remember that he had many years of experience with the Rochester school district as a prior board member and he is well-aware of the dysfunction that exists in the district. Any unsuspecting, super-charged newcomer, like Jean-Claude Brizard, can come in all hyped up until reality sets in. And then it all hits the fan.

Vargas was a good choice at the time, with his counseling background, to try to juggle all the opposing forces in the district and to be a leader to boot.

If Vargas is not up to this almost impossible task, then keep him until you scrutinize a new superintendent and find one who is better. But please, no more of the merry-go-round of rotating superintendents; we already went on that disastrous route.


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