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Panning the bus station, Jan Wong; debating the war

Reader feedback 12.10.03 

Central Station's a big mistake

On the proposed bus terminal: Have they lost their minds? We are talking about the city's center, the corner of Main Street and Clinton Avenue --- our town's personality, so to speak.

            We have plowed down the train station, half of Corn Hill, and the RKOPalace theater, to name a few, and we were sorry every time. Let's not mislead people with a fancy name and "fake train station" triple arches. It's a bus depot.

            When asked what will go on the immediate corner of the streets, the bus company spokesman, Don Riley, said he thought there would be some grass. Pathetic!

            Rochester has more class than to have a bus station and a bunch of buses (he said that "by the way, Greyhound and Trailways would be joining us") maneuvering constantly around the center of downtown.

            Buses are a necessity, yes, but only until we find a more efficient form of public transportation. No offense to buses, but do people collect model buses? Do people belong to classic bus clubs? Of course not, because buses are basically loud, dirty, and slow.

            Did New York City flatten Times Square? No, they revitalized it. We could find a way to do that. This is a huge mistake of an idea, and there will be no going back after excavating over six acres of prime real estate at the center of the city.

            Please, people, wake up! It's not too late!

            Pat Magill, a life-long Rochester resident

Wong's not right

A lot will be said about Toronto writer Jan Wong, who clearly came to town with an agenda. And I agree that it's disgusting that a writer uses only one source, a relative no less, to pen a scathing article about another community.

            A lot will be said about all the good things we have here. But I'm actually more disappointed in that relative, and many more like her, who beat up their own community. Same with the recent letter you printed from a resident blasting the mayor.

            What type of person is it who thinks so little of the community where she was born and raised? I always come back to "loser." A loser because they obviously don't think their life was well spent if it was in such a nowhere town. A loser because they never found a way to "escape" their home, where there's nothing to do but shop at Wegmans.

            I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in the mayor's comments as well. Obviously many were taken out of context to enhance the writer's agenda of producing a negative article. However, a mayor with as much experience as Johnson should have been more careful with his wording.

            That said, I think City Hall has done as much as possible to help set the stage for a city revival. You only have to drive 60 miles west to find the City of Buffalo in complete disarray. Here, our city has been as proactive as seemingly possible in these down times by taking on many civic projects. The extensive port development with the terminal for the Spirit of Ontario, the High Falls District, the Cascade District, the new downtown housing, building demolitions, the soccer stadium, infrastructure improvements such as Ford Street and the University Avenue Artwalk: All serve as examples.

            At some point, you have to turn to the private sector to continue the process of revival. It's now up to the investors and developers to bring in the businesses. Do we really need a bigger Eastview Mall or another nameless strip plaza? It's then up to the rest of us to be open-minded and get out there and support these businesses.

            Why would a developer build downtown if they know there are people who shackle themselves up in their suburban prisons after dark to watch too many Law and Order reruns?

            It's time to stop being the loser and help our community. If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.

            Rick Papaj, Thornwood Drive, Rochester

War stats

Dale Carselli of Brockport writes of "Bush taking millions of innocent lives and stealing billions of dollars" (The Mail, November 19). And he writes: "The American death toll in Iraq has surpassed the number of American soldiers killed during the first three years of the Vietnam War." Statistics compiled by the Comptroller, Secretary of Defense, and by the Directorate for Infantry Operations and Reports show that he is grossly inaccurate.

            A little background may help: In 1959, North Vietnam ordered the Viet Cong to begin an armed struggle against the South Vietnamese government, with the significant help of China and the Soviet Union. By 1965, the US commitment to South Vietnam had grown from an advisory capacity to that of sending combat troops. The first troops were committed in May of that year.

            The following year, 1966, was the first full year of the Vietnam War, and according to statistics from the two sources cited above, the number of American soldiers killed in that first full year of the Vietnam War alone totaled 3,353. If we look at Mr. Carselli's referenced "first three years" of the war, the total American casualties rise to 15,058.

            By contrast, the number of American deaths in the Iraq war, through the end of major combat operations on April 30, totaled 115 from hostile engagements and 23 from non-hostile --- i.e., accidents, friendly fire, etc. --- for a total of 138.

            Between April 30 and November 20, the last date the statistics were updated, the number killed due to hostile action was 173 and from non-hostile activities 112, for a total of 285. That brought the total number of casualties for the entire war to 423 through November 20.

            The significant difference between 5,058 casualties in the first three years of the Vietnam War and the 423 killed in Iraq needs no further elaboration to refute Mr. Carselli's grossly misleading statements.

            John Midavaine, Irondequoit

Out of Iraq

The Bush Administration claims that the absence of "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq is the result of an "intelligence error." The only error of intelligence here would be on the part of those who believed such swill.

            Meanwhile, an Iraqi resistance against American colonial occupiers grows, and grows more violent. Rumsfeld says these are "Saddam loyalists." Saddam is probably dead. We all know that the majority of Iraqis, Shia and Sunni, would like a conservative Islamic Republic in Baghdad, the one government we will not allow them to elect democratically (so much for "liberation"). Yet the Pentagon is known to be allowing Fundamentalist Christian missionaries to preach there; perhaps they sincerely expect a mass-religious conversion to persuade the Iraqis to "the American way of life."

            Faced with this problem, Bush demonstrates his courageous resolve --- to do nothing; he still has no plan for a proper colonial government. Yet the corporate friends of his Vice-Emperor Cheney continue to sign contracts worth millions of dollars for the promised re-building of the devastated Iraq, which promise America will undoubtedly fulfill before the end of the century. Maybe.

            Our soldiers are dying for nothing. Bring them home. End the Iraq occupation.

            The US was created in the struggle against colonial oppression. Let us not destroy ourselves resurrecting it.

            America out of Iraq. Impeach Bush.

            Emmanuel Winner, Linden Street, Rochester

Sound credits

I appreciated Herb Simpson's critique of "Pyretown" (November 19). However, I was taken aback by one comment: "Meghan E. Healey's costumes are appropriate enough to never intrude. Neither do the very supportive bits of music that neatly provide transition and mood; I guess Dan Roach's sound design deserves credit for them."

            If it is sound that provides transition and mood, you can bet the sound designer deserves some credit. Too often we have attended plays where there was no real sound designer and were disappointed at the lack of "neat transition and mood" or were even bombarded by sound effects that overpower the actors and other action.

            Sound design is a real talent and is as important to the total performance as the lighting, staging, costuming --- and yes, even the overall direction. Please give the sound designer his or her due!

            BettiAbbas, Midship Circle, Webster (Abba is the mother of a Drama Desk-nominated sound designer in NYC.)

            Herb Simpson's reply: Thank you for your eloquent letter. What I was "guessing" was that the sound designer had chosen pre-existing music for the uncreditedmusic in the play, rather than that some composer wasn't getting credited for music written for the play.

            You must be very proud of your award-nominated sound designer. I was thrilled when my former student won a Tony Award for lighting design on Broadway; and we often exchange notes on how very seldom Broadway critics mention lighting designers in their reviews. You make me realize that I am just as guilty about not mentioning sound design.

Fantastic RUR

Thank you for the fantastic feature cover-story about Scott Wallace! He is the coolest!

            How about doing the same thing with the following fantastic dee-jays at WRUR: Doug Curry, Lawrence Hargrave III, Ray Baumler and his co-host, Josef Verba, John Sebaste, DJ Tanner, Jack Ertle, Ted and John McGraw, Ruth Elaine.

            WRUR has some fantastic talent filling the air waves with a splendid mix of terrific music! I think the members of the community should know about them so they can tune in for some interesting, intelligent entertainment.

            Cheryl Alger Mann, Main Street, Honeoye

Writing to City

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester14607.

            Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than once every three months.

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