I have been a voter in three states now: California, Iowa, and New York. I've lived in Rochester for 15 years. Let me tell you, New York politics are sometimes nuttier than California's.
City Court candidate Debra Crowder announces she is withdrawing from the Democratic race "in the interest of party unity" at the urging of Monroe County Democratic Party Chair Joe Morelle.
Morelle plans to ask mayoral candidates Bob Duffy and Tim Mains to withdraw their candidacies, also "in the interest of party unity."
And of course we all know that whoever wins the Democratic primary has about a 99.9 percent chance of becoming Rochester's next mayor.
The Monroe County Democratic Party has anointed City Councilmember Wade Norwood as its candidate for Rochester mayor. This anointing was done without any input from voters. I guess that only certain members of the Democratic Party (exactly how they get chosen is a mystery to me), rather than the voters, are supposed to decide who will be our next mayor.
Don't get me wrong. Wade Norwood may in fact be the best candidate for mayor. I don't know. I don't know enough about his ideas for Rochester. I don't know enough about any of the candidates' ideas for Rochester. I have a completely open mind at this point, and I am ready to allow the candidates to define themselves through a primary campaign.
That's what primary campaigns are for: to help members of the party decide who is best suited for the office for which they are running.
It's not about divisiveness --- unless the candidates make it so in their campaigns. We do not need to end up with a divided party just because we have a three-way primary.
Morelle may think he is doing the best for the Monroe County Democratic Party, but quite frankly this effort to take choice away from the voters gives him a black mark in my book. It upsets me that he would rather not give me a chance to decide which candidate is the best.
Having the party --- as opposed to the voters --- choose who will be the next Rochester mayor is undemocratic. Instead of asking the non-anointed candidates to drop out, Morelle should expend his energies making sure they run positive campaigns rather than smearing each other.
That's how you accomplish party unity. Not by eliminating choice.
Georgia NeSmith, North Union Street, Rochester
As a 35-plus-year southeast city resident, I have been opposed to the Rochester Police Department's reorganization. As much as I agree that certain areas of the city are in need of increased police services, I fear the backlash that will result from removing police presence from other sections.
Now that our city's reactive resources are drained, would it hurt to reevaluate whether all crime-prevention and early-intervention options have been exhausted? Has the root of the growing violence and illegal activity problems been determined? Have the risk factors for violence been studied? What are the violent indicators that can be addressed before a crime is committed, therefore decreasing the demand for more police officer intervention?
The increasing pattern of violent conduct seems to be the result of an increase in conflict and stress as conflict resolution and stress coping skills are deteriorating. What's being done to increase the availability of socially acceptable problem-solving options in order to decrease the reliance on aggressive means to solve life's problems?
I call upon all public and private support systems throughout the city to reach out to people at high risk for criminal behavior and help them foresee and change and cope with the triggering mechanisms that can result in antisocial behaviors. Let's spend less energy criticizing former Chief Duffy for making changes in the only area of the crime cycle he has control over (response) and spend more energy making changes in the areas of the crime cycle that we have access to (prevention).
How hard can it be to, at minimum, model socially acceptable behavior in our communities, families, schools, businesses, health-care system, outreach programs, government, and media? There's definitely room for improvement.
Colleen M. Charvella, Cobbs Hill Drive, Rochester
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