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At the recent public hearing on Mayor Lovely Warren's decision to terminate the city's red-light camera program, we were treated to claims about the program unfairly impacting those living in the inner city, as if lower economic status is a defense for poor driving skills.
Interestingly enough, the fact that ANY traffic fines disproportionately impact those with less disposable income was not discussed. Apparently, Warren has no plans for Rochester to do away with fines for speeding, DUI, or driving without a license.
A pity that a sort of "Wonderful Life" scenario wasn't possible where those children and adults who would have been injured and worse without red-light cameras appeared to state their case for retaining the program.
I wonder what Mayor Warren plans to say to the family of the future victims run over by those who recklessly blast through red lights knowing that any form of penalty is highly unlikely with the cameras turned off?
MICHAEL J. NIGHAN
The mayor's reasoning and yours is flawed and pedestrian ("Lovely Warren's right about red-light cameras," December 14) if the issue is changing the behavior of drivers at intersections (in the name of safety). I, as well as you and the mayor, am against the economic inequity of fines because of the disparate effect.
In the interest of creativity and logical thinking, there are many solutions that would encourage drivers to become safety conscious without causing economic hardship: attending classes on driving safety, including red-light issues; community service; and assignment to stand with a crossing guard at school crossings.
Given a few contemplative moments, I am sure that you and the mayor would find many other alternatives that do not pander to folks who can change their driving habits to benefit all of us.
These no-cost alternatives would help change behavior more effectively, because time is sometimes more valuable than money.
Regarding the recent 2017 county budget vote in the Legislature and the "cynical ploy" by the GOP resulting in the scuttling of the plan for a downtown DMV office (News, December 14), this is not the first time something like this happened at the eleventh hour.
Back in December 2007, when the 2008 budget was virtually set to be approved, a Republican legislator submitted a last-minute amendment to move $225,000 from part of the annual budget allocation for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County to Monroe Community College to establish a program that at the time resided at Cooperative Extension.
This nearly resulted in bringing the local Extension operation down completely since the $225,000 was almost half of what had been up to that time a pretty much annual contribution of about $600,000 — roughly a third of the local Extension's annual budget.
To further add to the cynicism, the Republican legislator who proposed the amendment was a board member of the local Extension; so needless to say, the amendment was approved, much to the surprise and dismay of the Extension board, staff, and the many thousands in the community that the Extension serves.
Within hours after the amended 2008 budget was approved, MCC announced the birth of a new agriculture-focused program, and the person eventually appointed to head the program was the same person who had run the identical program at the Extension. This person had resigned from the Extension days after the budget vote.
Bottom line: the same playbook continues to be used by the County Legislature Republicans for their own political benefit and to the disservice of Monroe County residents.
Former executive director, Cornell Cooperative Extension
There is a metaphysical component to the Electoral College debate (Urban Journal, December 21). Are we a nation of flesh-and-blood human beings or a collection of politically arbitrary entities called "states?" After all, the preamble to the Constitution begins with the words, "We the People of the United States." The word "people" is clearly the priority here.
And did not our Supreme Court decide that "one person, one vote" is the law of the land? My vote counts less than my fellow citizen in New Mexico as a proportion of the electoral vote. The way our senators are chosen, two to each state no matter how large, would seem to be adequate protection for the less-populated states. The way the Electoral College works now is no less than the tyranny of the minority.
REV. RICHARD S. GILBERT
The Charlotte Community Association plans to hold a design charrette for the Port of Rochester (News, December 21).
Hey, it only took 40 years to dig a hole in the ground. The marina is great. Now let's line North River Street with shops, galleries, and food-related businesses with one or two stories of housing above.
I don't think the group of people driving this have any intention of any development being done. This is just their way of putting the brakes on any development and disguising it as "discussion." They've already proven in the past that their only objective is to throw grenades on any development ideas and try to make their minority voice appear as the majority. Unfortunately, they are really good bullies.
I love the new marina! I also favor a quaint look for the future. Charlotte cannot support huge density of high-rises.