How much do the Democratic candidates for mayor know about the city they want to lead? We thought we'd put them to the test --- no prior notice, no research allowed. And we'd love to ask any of your questions. In fact, our readers helped inform this week's pop quiz. To have your questions included, and to see if the candidates can get them right, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: pop quiz. We promise to hold as many quizzes as we can between now and the September 13 primary.
1. What percentage of entering 9th graders graduates from the Rochester City School District four years later?
2. How much does a parking ticket cost for an expired parking meter? For parking in a no-parking zone?
3. What percentage of this year's city budget goes to public safety (police and fire)?
4. If my car is stolen, what's the best way to up the odds that I'll get it back?
1. There are different numbers on this. The one that I'm going with, I want to say 35 percent. But here's --- again, it is a range from 35 to 50 depending on what data has been presented but the numbers that have consistently come up to me have been between 35 and 40 percent. The data that I am most familiar with I would put it in the 35 to 40 percent range.
2. $25 for expired and $35 for no parking. $35 is the average ticket given.
3. Oooh, I just saw that. [pause] I just had the pie chart. [long pause] Well, I'm going to have to approximate. I'm going to say 20 percent, but it might be slightly less than that, but I just saw... I'm going to... Well, I'm going to go with 20 percent. It's much smaller than DES [Department of Environmental Services]; DES is the largest department. But it's the second largest expenditure in terms of budget and... oooh... I'm just... I'm off a little bit, but I'm going to say approximately 20.
4. First of all, immediately report it. You call 911, a report is taken, through 911 or 311, the plate number is put out immediately. It's dispatched so that as soon as you can report the plate and the VIN [vehicle identification number]. Keeping your registration with you as opposed to it being in the car is also very helpful, but putting the plate and number information out immediately is most important --- make, model, and vehicle identification number.
1. About 50 percent. Probably between 50 and 55 percent.
2. (Expired parking meter) $25. (No parking zone) $35.
3. Altogether, it is just under a third of the budget. So about 33 percent.
4. Know your VIN number and exact information about your vehicle.
1. There is a debate on that number. Some have said as low as 30; some have said as high as 56.
2. $15 for an expired parking meter. I don't know what it is for parking in a no parking zone.
3. I'd say somewhere between 40 and 50 percent.
4. I don't know. Report it; call up the police department and report the theft.
1. 50 percent, according to the Rochester City School District's 2004 figures.
2. A ticket for parking at an expired meter costs $25, $15 of which is the state surcharge. Getting caught parking in a no-parking zone will cost you $35, $15 of which goes to the state.
3. 29.75 percent, according to City Hall.
4. According to an information officer for the Rochester Police Department, "There isn't a whole lot you can do." 911 is the number to call for a crime in progress. If you walk outside and you can't find your car, you should call 311. "We don't have a car-theft bureau anymore. I mean, if you file a report, it's in the system. If we see it, we go after it. Other than that, I can give you theft prevention tips. You can get a car alarm or the Club. Those do a lot to prevent theft. Really, just locking your doors makes a difference. People forget to do that. That's really about it." FYI: The FBI's Uniform Crime Report states that there were 3,186 car thefts in Rochester in 2004. In the same year, Buffalo had 2,409 and Syracuse a comparatively meager 1,113.