I am writing to express my disappointment regarding the lop-sided nature of Chris Busby's report, "Welcome to the Machine" (May 28).
Based on the introductory paragraph, one would assume that the article would have dealt equitably with the ideas and efforts of those are challenging Democratic Party leaders' choices for School Board. Instead, the article clearly focused more on the background and efforts of one of three declared-challengers: Woody Hammond. Jim Greco and I were mentioned in the article (almost like sidebars to the main focus).
In preparation for his report, I had spoken with the author via a telephone interview, which lasted for about 15 minutes, but apparently I didn't say anything that was worthy of quotation. Hopefully, Mr. Busby's report is not indicative of future City coverage of the 2003 Board of Education race.
Secondly, I would like to strongly object to a couple of reported comments by local Democratic Party leaders. For example, it was reported that "top members of the county's Donkey Party [believe that] political experience can be just as important as educational experience when it comes to serving city school children." If this is true, how do the "top members" explain that city school children are by far the most underserved children in Monroe County?
A real (as opposed to phony, political) answer to this critical question is important, especially when considering that for the last umpteen decades, the majority of Rochester Board of Education members have been Democrats --- with lots of so-called "political experience." Could the answer be that most of the experienced politicians who have served on the board really don't give a damn about any "city school children" except their own? Or even if they do care, that they don't have the educational background, practical experience, intestinal fortitude and/or understanding of what is needed to produce widespread, fundamental educational change and academic improvement for "city school children"?
Lastly, for the likes of School Board member and attorney Robert Brown to pretend that what happened at the Democratic Party Convention on May 17 represents "the party's wishes" is plain ludicrous. That is, unless the views, aspirations, and wishes of thousands upon thousands of registered Democrats, especially so-called "minorities" who had no voice (other than mine) at the convention --- don't count!
It is the intention of the Committee to Elect Howard J. Eagle to demonstrate on September 9 that the ex-voiceless masses within the Democratic Party now have a strong, bold, knowledgeable voice, and that they do count!
Howard J. Eagle, Rochester (Eagle is a candidate for Rochester School Board in the September Democratic primary.)
Editor's note: We'll be providing extensive coverage of the Democratic primary for School Board.
Regarding Metro Ink's May 27 blurb on the new Toronto ordinance requiring "a committee of environmentalists, lawn-care industry reps, and city employees" to review and approve any use of pesticides and herbicides on lawns: Just what the world needs. Another group of people regulating the average citizen in his daily life.
And regarding the closing of Diaz Chemical in Holley: I don't want to offend the gentleman in Holley who felt so strongly that Diaz should be closed. He lives there; I don't. But I wonder if the danger from the chemical spills equaled the loss of jobs for people in that community. And what are the opinions of the laid-off workers from Diaz who also live there?
Jonathan Wolfinger, Hubbell Park, Rochester
Like the vast majority of taxpayers, if given the option between higher or lower taxes I would choose the latter. However, the choice is not that simple. In the face of growing expenditures and declining revenues, tax increases can be necessary and good.
Unfortunately, many politicians would rather put political expediency over long-term prosperity. They don't want to make the difficult choices that are necessary to balance budgets --- like raising taxes. And while putting off such choices may be temporarily gratifying, for both the elected official and the public, everyone knows that the problem is being left to be dealt with later.
So why has the Doyle administration been so reckless, leaving property taxes alone when Monroe County can't afford to provide the funding that residents expect on things like social services, public safety, parks, and libraries?
The answer, more than likely, is that raising taxes continues to be politically unpopular. Not letting taxes keep up with the pace of inflation will have deleterious effects in the future, however, when Monroe County residents will be faced with the prospect of both increasing budget deficits and fewer services. That will necessitate a reassessment of our core beliefs about the purpose of government as we are forced to slash programs and services that we believe are essential to the future of a thriving community.
I am for lowering taxes, but only if we can afford to do so. Fiscal responsibility is not only a virtue in and of itself; it is an obligation we must fulfill --- in order to ensure the prosperity of Monroe County.
Justin Wilcox, Middlebrook Lane, Brighton