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WWII vet: Only Clinton can lead military

Ever since the end of World War II, I have voted for a presidential candidate. The most important function of the presidency is becoming commander in chief of the military. The president has many other responsibilities, but this one deals with our young men's and women's lives in the context of the decisions the president makes regarding wars.

Until this coming election, I always have been pretty confident that whoever was president would work out O.K. as commander in chief. Some were better than others. Truman was very good, as was Eisenhower. I thought Kennedy probably had the greatest challenge with the Cuban missile crisis.

I believe each and every one of the presidents since 1948 had the knowledge and ability to look at the global conflicts that the United States has been involved in and to assess that using atomic weapons was not an option. Some of them strongly considered it, but in the end, rejected it.

I am trying to be nonjudgmental as to a political party affiliation and look only at the makeup and character of the individuals.

Of the two candidates who we are considering this election, I find only Hillary Clinton acceptable as commander in chief. Mr. Trump just does not make the grade; never have I disliked and feared someone this much. Of all my objections, the most significant is the climate of hate he has fostered.


Missing data

Mary Anna Towler's column (Urban Journal, August 24) chastises "Mitch" for writing that downtown Rochester is not safe. She contends that it is a myth and that myth is now the general public perception. Like Mitch, she offers no facts or data to support her contention that downtown is indeed safe. Like Mitch, she offers only her opinion.

So shame on Mitch for not supporting his position with hard data, and double-shame on Towler for publicly taking Mitch to task but offering no data to support her position. Seems like we should take her word and dismiss Match's position out of hand. A little arrogant, I would say.

I suggest that Mitch and Towler both provide hard evidence of their positions. And an apology from Towler to Mitch and her readers also seems to be in order.


Keep open space at Midtown

I support the downtown commons proposal, Visionary Square, from Ken Sato, Ben Woelk, and others:

I'd like to point out that, while there are a few older parks downtown, most suffer from Rochester's past infatuation with brutalism. They feature lots of concrete and not so much greenspace that really attracts people. Genesee Crossroads is a good example; it's usually deserted because it's not such a pleasant place to be.

Pressuring large companies with suburban worldviews to move downtown isn't going to save Rochester. They don't like it here; that's why they left. If they move back downtown, they will likely bring their suburban ideas and paranoia with them, which will be no gift to downtown.

People come downtown when they find enjoyable spaces filled with other people. That means public greenspace. The fact is we already have Frontier, ESL, the former B&L, Excellus, and more, all within a few blocks of Midtown. That area is as dead as Main Street. Those buildings are silos, with no cafes, shops, or other amenities that attract people and are deserted as soon as their workers can escape.

Save Parcel 5 at Midtown as a true public space to spur growth downtown. If people want to be there, the area will thrive. That's the challenge. Other development will follow.


Barnhart responds to CITY's Assembly endorsement

CITY Newspaper has endorsed my opponent in a piece that strongly suggests the outcome was predetermined (News, August 31). It's regrettable that CITY has not done a single story objectively covering this race. Instead, readers will only see an endorsement article. The article quotes an ardent supporter of Harry Bronson. No one supporting me was quoted, though the publisher did contact me last week to buy ad space.

I'm disappointed CITY was so dismissive of my 17-year professional record and impact on the community. Unfortunately, that's an attitude I've encountered before; it's a misconception that broadcast journalists are shallow and attention-seeking.

I understand that building constructive relationships is critical for legislative work. I just believe more of those relationships need to be with constituents than they have been during my opponent's tenure. Outside of affluent enclaves in Southeast Rochester, a majority of constituents are not familiar with Bronson and repeatedly tell me he has not been responsive to their needs.

CITY goes to great lengths to make Bronson's "behind the scenes" work look exemplary, though there's not much of a record to support these claims. Calling yourself a great worker behind the scenes is a terrific way to inoculate yourself against accountability to the public. Behind the scenes work is only part of his job. He's not doing the work when it comes to staying in touch with constituents and making sure their concerns are heard before crucial votes. Bronson is now raising concerns about START-UP New York, which is a failed economic development program. I'm among those who raised concerns when it was first proposed.

CITY never mentioned Bronson's vote to tie teacher evaluations to tests. Yes, it was part of the budget. However, he hasn't sponsored bills to roll back harmful education policies. He's been completely silent about concerns over high-stakes testing.

CITY also dismissed serious questions about Bronson's use of taxpayer-funded mail and his travel expenses. CITY never asked him why he supports a pay raise for lawmakers. Bronson is deeply-entrenched in Albany's broken system and wants us to believe this system works for us.

Leadership is important. Transparency is important. Engagement is important. I will work hard to represent everyone in this district.


Barnhart is a candidate for State Assembly, 138th District

Mary Anna Towler's response: We're happy to let Barnhart make the case for her election, and we welcome other responses related to that race. However, Barnhart's reference to "the publisher" calling to discuss advertising — as though it were related to our endorsement — deserves comment.

This company has two co-publishers: my husband Bill and myself. Bill's responsibilities are in sales and marketing; mine are in editorial. Both of us, as publishers, manage the top operations and direction of the company.

For all of CITY'S 45 years, we have adhered rigorously to journalistic ethics. Our staff adheres to those ethics equally rigorously. CITY is not Bill and me; it is 19 staffmembers; numerous freelance writers and photographers; distribution folks, and a board of directors that provides business counsel. To suggest that our political endorsements are linked to advertising purchases is to attack the integrity not only of my husband and myself but also the integrity of all of these dedicated, talented CITY people.

We have never based editorial coverage on advertising. Our editorial staff bases its endorsements and other editorial decisions on research, experience, knowledge of the community, and extensive, lively discussions. I am proud of the knowledge, perception, and humility that they bring to that important responsibility and deeply regret Barnhart's suggestion that they have acted unethically.

The members of our sales staff have reached out to political candidates every year of our publishing history, as they do to people, businesses, and organizations throughout the year. Like many media salespeople, ours sometimes lose important sales because of editorial coverage a client perceives as unfavorable or politically objectionable. The loss affects these salespeople financially, and they take those losses with professionalism and grace, for which we are grateful.

Our responsibility is to our readers and the general public. Our ethical standards are our most valuable attributes. An attack on our editorial, advertising, and management decisions is perfectly acceptable. An unfounded attack on the ethics of the superb people who produce CITY is not.

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