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Rochester lacks leadership

Rochester has leaders coming out of its ears. What they don't provide is leadership.

Leadership requires vision, tenacity, and the ability to communicate and inspire stakeholders so they align and coalesce until the objective is achieved.

Unfortunately, we are victims of premature abandonment. Once the publicity and ego-stroking is done and the cameras go away, all that's left is the wind blowing detritus down the abandoned streets.

The seeds of violence culminating in three homicides [on Genesee Street] were sown decades ago when the perpetrators were born. There is no question that we suffer from intergenerational family dysfunction.

But we also suffer from institutional inadequacy. We have vast resources both financial and organizational, but a failure of leadership and vision has allowed silos to flourish while actual accomplishments wane, shrivel, and blow away.

Successful communities have leaders who are narrowly focused and have consistent leadership. So what to do? Focus the majority of our effort on supporting the youngest citizens in our community.

First, prevent teen pregnancy. Second, provide supportive prenatal care. Third, do everything we can possibly do to get kids off to the best start in life. Pre-k is vital. And get some real leadership with the horsepower to fix our schools. We need a "Baltimore Mom" to grab us by the shirt, smack us upside the head, and hold us accountable for our actions.

The other, less dire conflict is the photonics headquarters dustup (Urban Journal, August 19). The reality is that whoever controls the purse strings makes the rules. Although the U of R may be a big deal in Rochester, it's not the powerhouse that Albany and SUNY are. We are just a small pond compared with the state and federal government who are funding the effort.

Sometimes leadership requires humility. Let's accept that the headquarters will be in the Legacy building and move on to making great things happen for our community.


Blame for city problems is misplaced

I read the lead story by Mary Anna Towler with regard to the triple homicide on Genesee Street (Analysis, August 26), and have come to the following conclusions.

There is a large effort to blame white folks in particular for the actions that occur in the ghetto, which I believe is entirely misplaced.

One gets tired of the unrelenting drumbeat of blaming others for the bad decisions that the criminal folks commit — concepts like "embedded racism" and other such blather.

Indeed we have a black female mayor, a Democratic Congress woman, and the first biracial president in history.

When will people wake up and stop blaming others and take personal responsibility for their actions, instead of scapegoating white people?


Drugs are killing Rochester

Drugs control Rochester and the gangs are driven by drugs. The gangs fight and kill over corners and territories. They take our teens to sell drugs.

There is a loss of a moral compass and good quality of life in many parts of Rochester. Many of our parents are not accessible to their children. They may love their children as much as any other parent, but their souls have been stolen by drugs.

Some of our citizens prostitute for drugs and contract and spread HIV/AIDS. Some of our citizens sell their food stamps and benefits for drugs. Some of our adults are unable to function or work because of drugs. Many of our children are angry and depressed because they live in a war zone.

We need the drug world cleaned up in the city. Drugs kill. Drug dealers kill. And most of our crime is tied to drugs. It is Rochester's genocide.

One must always remember that poor people are not bad people. Bad people are bad people. The less fortunate of our community are being held hostage by this drug world.

Government should:

• Increase the budget for public safety and develop a large, active drug-enforcement team;

• bring in other branches of government. Homeland Security should investigate our gangs. Who controls these gangs and who supplies them with guns and drugs?

• streamline communication between all law enforcement. Officers at Neighborhood Service centers should be in constant communication with the community and police on the streets;

• judges must stop the revolving-door justice system;

• citizens must back the police. If there is a bad officer, then he or she should be dealt with. The whole department should not be condemned;

• government should stop protecting bad landlords who allow dealers to sell from their properties;

• government should find the individuals and stores that buy food stamps from citizens at a low price so that people can buy drugs;

• schools should be made safe and free from drugs dealers.

Let us all take a stand or we all have blood on our hands.


Coffey is co-chair of the North Winton Village Association

On reactions to the Genesee Street shootings(Urban Journal, September 2):

We are witnessing the result of 50 years or more of discrimination, some of it overt and some not. Redlining and white flight were prevalent years ago and we are living with those results. These were all conscious decisions, some of them by the highest authorities in the land. This outcome was almost predictable.

It would take a monumental effort at all levels of society to overcome the savage inertia that afflicts this area and frankly I don't see it coming any time soon.


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