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Think like the Flintstones?

On a reader's letter arguing that preservationists are hindering progress in Rochester: Preservation and re-purposing of existing buildings and homes can be a much more economical, environmentally practical solution than bulldozing and rebuilding.

In many cases, the quality of the materials and the craftsmanship that went into historic buildings cannot be duplicated today at any cost. The practice also preserves some of the natural resources (rare marble, slate, and old-growth timbers) that are no longer available.

Does the writer seriously want to trade hand-carved stonework, woodwork, and intricate plasterwork, old-growth rot-resistant timber, quarter-sawn oak, slate, and ceramic tiles for modern construction utilizing plywood and engineered lumber that will swell, delaminate, and grow spongy with moisture; plastics and vinyl that will outgas, become brittle, and disintegrate, etc.?

His modern "Jetson" building will be destined for the landfill in 50 years, only to be replaced by an even more inferior building.

Check out some of the re-purposed buildings downtown on Cascade, Fitzhugh, and West Main. Step inside Passero Associates' office at 242 West Main. These old buildings have become high-rent condos, apartments, and office space. They are beautiful, spacious, solid as a rock, and full of character.

Re-purposing these buildings is also key to the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown Rochester.

Perhaps the writer should take a first step toward educating himself about preservation and sign up for a Landmark Society Inside Downtown Tour.

MICHAEL BRANDT

Guiding the schools

In last November's election, even the D&C endorsed the noble conviction that now was a good opportunity to hold three School Board incumbents accountable. City Newspaper, on the other hand, endorsed two of the three incumbents. Sadly, from a field of able contenders, all three incumbents were returned to maintaining this district's last place ranking in the state.

However, your September 11 article "Rochester Teachers Bruised by Reviews" gave us a chilling peek into the vacuum in which such self-inflicted wounds can occur.

In a back-and-forth with teachers union president Adam Urbanski, you quote Superintendent Vargas: "You can't have an education system where all the adults are doing fine and the kids are not." This tired repartee carries on as if the only "adults" in public education are the school administration "adults" and the teacher "adults."

When a conversation between these two local leaders of public education regarding the accountability of any "adults" in public education so neglects those other – dare we suggest – even more accountable adults in the lives of students, is it any wonder so few parents showed up and voted for the accountability that certainly would have shown those incumbents the door?

Such hollow conversations at the top and free passes for incumbents in this rudderless district will continue until they accord parents their due authority as the first teachers of their children.

Elementary 101.

Dismayed with those endorsements, heartbroken by the election, but thank you for the reporting.

PETER KEENAN JR.

Word matters

I was deeply disappointed in George Grella's review of the "Dallas Buyers Club," using the description of the character of Rayon as a gay transvestite. It was insulting and makes completely unwarranted assumptions about Rayon's sexuality.

Also, in the LGBT community the word "transvestite" is not only considered outdated, it is a pejorative phrase. Later in the review, Grella writes: "As Rayon, Jared Leto undergoes his own transformation, playing a most attractive cross-dressing homosexual...." Using these words in this review simply perpetrates the myth that all cross-dressers are homosexual, when nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is most cross-dressers are heterosexual males who simply want to express and experience their feminine side.

I am a trans woman (male to female transgender), and what I saw on the screen was a trans woman, someone who wanted to become a woman completely, who wanted sexual reassignment surgery.

I'm doubly disappointed in this review, because City did an excellent cover story several years ago on trans issues and was quite respectful and understanding. These types of words in this review are from the 70's, and I would have hoped City would have more sensitivity to the LGBT community than to allow descriptions that confuse people and that confirm the right's lies about the LGBT community.

JOANNE METZLER

Speaking of...

  • Talks may decide Vargas's future
  • Talks may decide Vargas's future

    It's unclear whether Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas and the school board will recover from a dispute over the superintendent's powers, or if Vargas will even fulfill his contract with the school district.
    • Apr 21, 2015
  • Feedback 3/25
  • Feedback 3/25

    • Mar 25, 2015
  • The latest bad news from the city school district
  • The latest bad news from the city school district

    Tension between the superintendent and the school board has erupted into public view, and that's terrible in many ways - not the least of which is that any bad news from the district reinforces the public's poor opinion of it.
    • Mar 10, 2015
  • More »

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