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Brockport’s finances, torture in Iraq

Reader feedback 5.26.04 

Counting pennies in Brockport

I read with great interest the Op-Ed by Dan Varrenti ("The Brockport Record," May 5). Both he and Mayor Jo Matela have opined regarding the lack of "solutions" being offered by those complaining about village taxes.

            I have a simple solution for the entire problem: Taking a page from the book of Donald Trump, you're fired. Both of you. Or whomever would be determined redundant as a result of combining the governments of Brockport and Sweden into one town government and contracting with the MonroeCounty sheriff's department to do road patrols in the village.

            When I first moved to the village, I was struck by what I refer to as "The State Street monument to New York government redundancy." For anyone who has not visited the town: the offices of the Village of Brockport and the Town of Sweden are almost directly across State Street from one another, a symbol of the ongoing shoving match to see who can extract more property taxes from my wallet.

            While Mr. Varrenti and Ms. Matela argue over saving nickels and dimes, how much could be saved by eliminating one whole layer of government? Instead of having two distinct DPWs, each with its own trucks, employees, benefits packages, and storage and maintenance facilities, why not have one slightly larger one?

            How much cheaper would it be if instead of hiring officers part-time, paying for facilities, overtime, benefits, etc., we simply extended the sheriff's-patrol contract with the rest of Sweden to cover the village also, perhaps also requiring that one or two cars will always be in the village?

            The grumbling I hear is from the residents of Brockport who do not happen to stay up past 11pm and have most likely not played "beer pong" within the last year. To them I say: first, both Pittsford and Henrietta locally, and many other towns nationwide with colleges in them, have the same arrangement and neither is burning to the ground.

            Second, why did you move to the village in the first place? The college is not only responsible for saving the town so that it exists at all, after the decline of manufacturing and the canal, but it is also a very good neighbor and employer to many of you.

            The college does not exist without these students. Since it was here in one form or another since 1841, it surely predates any currently living resident's interest in the area.

            I realize that what I am advocating is a miniature version of the idea that lost Mayor Johnson the county-executive race, but as he pointed out, doesn't it at least deserve a hard look? It's difficult to look into eliminating your own job, but if government serves the people, isn't saving us money in the interest of all?

            From my rather rare lens on the situation (I am currently a Village of Brockport homeowner, landlord, voter, and full-time SUNY Brockport student), it is obvious to me that this idea would save money, streamline local affairs, and go far to integrate all of the residents of this area into one community.

            This of course means that it will never happen.

            Daniel Kuhn, Brockport


UP ON THE BOX

I was just sitting here reading what I thought to be a good article on the Chesterfield Kings ("I Scene It," May 5), and I came across the "Dancing Girls" part, where Frank DeBlase said we were "strung out" or "lazy."

            Being one of those "dancing girls" up on that million-degree stage in 7-inch heels on top of a little black box that wobbled every time you moved --- and nothing to support you other than your words of don't fall don't fall going over and over in your head: this was not the easiest task I've ever done.

            Maybe we should have Mr. DeBlase on stage next time, in the 7-inch heels on the little black wobbling box. And I will be sure to write the article on how his performance was.

            An apology would be nice.

            Sarah McPike, Colonial Road, Rochester

            From Frank DeBlase: Well, once again it's me and my big mouth. It was a flip remark and I apologize --- mea maxima culpa. I certainly couldn't have gotten up there and done what you did. And though I find the idea enticing, walking around in 7-inch high heels would most certainly do me in.


SPULA'S VOICE

I am one of those readers who enjoysCity not just for the progressive voice it provides, but also because it is not exclusive of more conservative commentary. Jack Spula championed many causes that were not popular with a more conservative portion of City's readership; however, his rebuttals were always kind, respectful, and informative.

            Through his depth and skill, Jack the writer invited readers into the realm of thought and reflection with regard to important issues of our day. It was clear that he was not about dismissing readers who did not agree with him, but more that he understood where they were possibly mis- or disinformed.

            Writing is a tough job. It helps to have passion for the truth and the facts, although some might label truth and facts as an agenda. He did his homework, presented it all in a well crafted accessible format and was prepared to respond to the inevitable flack. He brought integrity to City. Maybe a bigger publication with an even broader readership will find Jack. Heaven knows we need more voices like his, what with half the nation still believing in Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, connections to Al Qaeda terrorists, and a US led liberation.

            Tom Moore, Arlington Street, Rochester


THE US IN IRAQ

On August 27, 2003, the film Battle of Algiers was shown to Military Special Operations Chiefs at the Pentagon. The lesson of the film is that for the French in Algeria, torture, murder, and destruction were effective means of countering terrorism and insurgency. So now with the United States in Iraq.

            The torture of prisoners is in fact not an aberration but standard operating procedure for US forces in Iraq. The only aberration has been that the American people found out about it.

            Our president has stated that "we will carry death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation." This pledge is now being carried out in Iraq.

            Noam Chomsky has said, "We live in a world ruled by force, and violence works." The United States will rule by death and violence in the world.

            I believe this state of affairs will continue unchallenged in the US because the majority of Americans are not interested in what is happening. The remainder will believe that the torture and murder of Iraqis is just revenge for the deaths of Americans killed in Iraq.

            Earl W. Blizzard III, Linwood

As veteran of Viet Nam, I find the prisoner abuse despicable, and Donald Rumsfeld should take the blame for all actions committed by our troops. At least the general who was in charge, Karpinski, should resign, with a lower rank, and there should be Bad Conduct Discharges handed out to any troops found guilty of these crimes.

            This war is a travesty and these actions, which have all not been uncovered, are a shroud on the people and Democratic system under which we have operated for over 200 years.

            As veterans, we should speak out against such actions. It is inhumane to treat others in this capacity. They have not been charged with any crimes. We should also not be holding anyone unless we have evidence that they are involved in crimes against humanity.

            I feel twisted inside and want this whole thing to go away. I feel like giving up my citizenship, but the whole world is now in turmoil, and I can't run anywhere.

            President Bush tries to pass himself off as a born-again Christian, but I find there are not many of the Christian faith who preach or act as the peace-loving Christ and Buddha did.

            Thomas Mangialino, Culver Road, Irondequoit

I was once proud to be an American. I once lived in the country known for always taking the "high road," for treating everyone fairly and humanely and for being the moral leader of the world.

            I once lived in the country that could denounce the atrocities perpetrated upon the citizens of other countries. Now America is a perpetrator of these same atrocities.

            I am no longer proud to be an American. I now live in the America that preemptively goes to war based on lies and exaggerations. I now live in the America that abuses prisoners of war. I now live in the America that is compared with the worst countries of the world instead of the best.

            America cannot wait until the November presidential election to begin to restore the dignity and honor of this country. As citizens, we must demand the immediate impeachment of George Bush, and we must demand the removal of his entire administration from roles of power.

            As Americans we must show the rest of the world that we will not stand behind this administration. Only then can the US begin to rebuild its image as the greatest country on Earth.

            Thomas R. Janowski, Hazelhurst Drive, Gates


AMERICAN VALUES

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like your staff has a clear agenda, and that is to attack all things that a majority of this country, and indeed a majority of this city, believe in: this country, its values, and its heritage.

            The letters in your May 12 issue are all of one theme: down with the moral right. What about the immoral and amoral wrong? No matter how much money and publicity the minority has been able to muster, most people still hold dear to them the institution of marriage, its sanctity, and its very definition. Many who oppose this are very intelligent and resourceful, and therefore able to spread their viewpoint in the various media. That does not make them right, however. Civilization owes its existence to laws, both moral and social. God created man and woman to join together as one and procreate in that manner.

            You also promote an ideology of ignorance and left-wing nonsense that could lead to this country's downfall. It is true that some of our troops have acted inappropriately, and they should be dealt with. However, this war is not about vengeance. It is about saving our lives. We were attacked on September 11 by representatives of an ideal that knows no geographical boundaries. The only thing we can do as a country is seek out those who support this ideology with money and the sacrifice of life and ensure that they are no longer a threat.

            This will not be accomplished by turning and running home, ignoring the problem, or pretending it doesn't exist.

            The only thing that will save American lives is dedication to making the world a safer place. That is not going to happen with any plan that any left-wing radical has yet to come up with.

            M.B. Davidson, Rochester


TALK TALK

I consider myself a liberal, open-minded person, so I was surprised that a recent letter, "Wease Talk" (The Mail, April 28), irritated me so badly. Maybe it's all of the nonsense over Janet Jackson, or Howard Stern's recent departure from Clear Channel's programming.

            The letter writer says that if he wanted to hear the "kind of junk" that's on Wease's program, he would go to an entertainment club. Last time I checked, radio was also a form of entertainment. He also said that left-wing shows are too full opinion and lack any facts. As far as I know, that's what talk radio is: opinion.

            If you want the facts, listen to the news station. (Even then, what we get is filtered and selective). I am not saying that all conservatism is wrong, but I am sick of conservatives complaining about radio, television, etc. I think the problem is that conservatives are so hell bent on their freedom of speech, bashing anyone who operates on the fringes of their "code of ethics," that they forget about their freedom of choice: the choice to change the channel.

            Amanda DeFisher, East Avenue, Rochester


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. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media. 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.

A CORRECTION

Due to an editing error, an incorrect date was given for a mural on West Main Street ("West on Main: Developing a String of Pearls," May 19). The mural, from a Franklin Roosevelt presidential campaign, was painted in 1944, of course, not 1994.

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