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Feedback 12/10 

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They're 'illegals'

In the November 26 issue (News), Tim Louis Macaluso tries to make a case for legalizing illegals; he calls them "undocumented." It sounds better, I guess. Those who support illegals are deathly afraid of calling them who they are: criminals. Most come from Mexico and Central America and most will eventually vote Democratic.

So the question needs to be asked: Why are those who are from Eastern Europe and the Ukraine who sign on to be here legally needlessly delayed or prevented from doing so? Most are white Christian conservatives who'd vote for Republicans-Conservatives.

The Rochester Business Alliance supports amnesty because it means cheap labor. Union members will lose jobs to illegals. They should understand this.

So how do we make room for illegals? Remember when Cuomo told pro-life and pro-gun citizens to leave New York? Well, Obama could evict pro-gun and pro-life folks and send them to Mexico. Oops, I forgot. Last time I checked, Mexico doesn't accept immigrants.


Parallel struggles

I recently participated in two large local Ferguson rallies organized by the powerful, eloquent young people in the group BLACK. I was deeply inspired by their passionate energy and indomitable spirit.

I was also reminded, when they read aloud the names and ages of the many black victims of police shootings, of how often we in the local antiwar struggle have similarly named aloud the young, innocent victims of US military violence.

Afterward, I thought more about the parallels between the violence opposed by this struggle for racial justice and that opposed by our own antiwar struggles.

First, the victims of both these forms of state violence are preponderantly people of color, so racism is endemic to both. Furthermore, victims of police violence are typically young black men who are automatically presumed to be a threat, while civilian victims of US drone and other military strikes are typically military-age males in a strike zone — all of whom are automatically labeled by the Obama administration as suspected militants or combatants.

Second, the tactics used by the state in both domestic and foreign battlefields have become almost indistinguishable with the militarization of local police forces and combat training in the use of overwhelming force.

Finally, both these forms of state violence are carried out in collusion with an infrastructure of officially sanctioned injustice. Both are utterly impervious to state, national, and international laws and dismissed as irrelevant by prosecutors and grand juries, military tribunals and justice departments, and city, state, and federal administrations.

Given these parallels, perhaps we can find ways to work with increased solidarity to strengthen our separate and collective struggles against state violence and racial injustice.


Rochester Against War, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones, Metro Justice.

Charter oversight is flawed

The Department of Education is disconnected and overwhelmed like everyone associated with education seems to be. They know very little about what local charter schools look like from day to day. When was the last time anyone from Albany dropped in and did a surprise inspection? The charters here break certain obligations and promises all the time. Some more than others.

All one has to do is look at the enrollment numbers to see how haphazard oversight is. Local charters are required to stay at a certain enrollment number, but some often go over this number to get additional revenue. Additionally, they are all required to enroll a certain number of special education students and English language learners, but almost none do.

Everyone needs to remember that the State Education Department and the Regents are the same people who oversee the Rochester City School District and have allowed its failures to continue for 30 years. Accountability in education fails across the board.


On "What happened to HIV prevention?" (News)

As a nurse practitioner who cares for hundreds of HIV positive and negative gay and bisexual men, I would say that the biggest reason that the HIV epidemic is not under better control in the US is that the health care system has dealt with prevention as a behavioral issue, and change is very difficult to apply to something like sexual behaviors. Those strategies will work for disciplined people who do not have sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Now there is finally a medical way for people to prevent acquiring HIV by taking one pill a day (which still requires some disciplined behavior), but the number of health care providers telling their patients about it is miniscule. "Chemical prevention" works for measles, mumps, polio, hepatitis, HPV....even pregnancy. We in health care should treat HIV prevention as we do many other conditions.


Renters and inspections

City Council is talking about possibly allowing some renters to refuse interior inspections of their properties.

Why not just require an exterior inspection? If a tenant doesn't want an inspector to enter, then that's his or her right. As an alternative, the tenant should be allowed to use a smartphone to take and e-mail photos. Tenants are better served when they freely participate in the process and when their rights aren't being stripped away.

The inspections occur every six years. So, fortunately, city dwellers don't have to get their rights trampled on very often.


As a renter, my landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the property. If the landlord lets the property fall into disrepair, it is the tenant who suffers, often with little support to get the landlord to take action. I see inspections as protection for the tenant. Waivers are a bad idea.


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