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Readers Feedback 12.24.03 

Angels or vigilantes, right-wing radio, poverty patterns, changing Kodak

Guardian Angels|Da'WahPatrol|right-wing radio|parenting|poverty|Kodak|Iraq|MaggieBrooks|Inner Loop

Angels among us?

Or paramilitary?

I have some grave concerns over issues raised in the article "Angels Among Us" (December 10).

            As a South African national, I am reminded of over four years of gun battles between the vigilante faction, People AgainstGangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD), and local gangs. These battles raged all across Cape Town, and a number of innocents died or were wounded in collateral gunfire.

            Over time, PAGAD achieved a thug status all of its very own, and a growing number of confrontations occurred between South African law-enforcement officials and PAGAD members, who began to see themselves as above the law.

            Further, PAGAD began to enforce its own fundamentalist agenda, reminiscent of the attitude displayed by YusufSharif of the Da'Wah Patrol, who is reported as stating: "'We'll show you the place they give out free needles. We're very opposed to that."

            A vigilante is rarely qualified to dictate social standards.

            If local government is not being allocated the requisite funds to protect the citizens of this city, then the problem should be resolved at an administrative level, where there are procedures in place to regulate and monitor law-enforcement bodies.

            Gareth Milne, Graystone Lane, Rochester

Wronged by

a leftwing column

In our increasingly polarized society, the old motto seems to apply: "To err is human; to forgive is against company policy." This came to mind as I read the cover story on so-called "right-wing radio" ("In Your Ear," November 26). An out-of-context statement here, a misstatement there, and voila, "hate radio." Not quite as revelatory as New Yorkmagazine declaring "Imus in the Morning" "shock radio" 30 years ago, but on par. As such, a little perspective is in order.

            Limbaugh: The phrase "tangles with the law" apparently had the words "as reported in The National Inquirer" edited out. Not a respected newspaper such as The Daily Record, but The Inquirer, (which is also reporting that the title of Michael Jackson's next CD will be "Macho Man"). While Rush may be "a person of interest," law enforcement is more concerned with who leaked word of the investigation in the first place. As it is, this leak may have saved Rush's life, thwarting a liberal dream.

            Savage: A man with four college degrees (including a PhD from UC-Berkeley, not known as a "conservative university"), 19 books (soon to be 20), and collections of rare medicinal plants at universities such as Harvard (also not conservative), Savage doesn't need to be defended by someone like me. Nor is it probably worth noting that as a graduate student, Savage worked in the first clinics set up in San Francisco to help AIDS patients as the pandemic began, while Mayor (and now Senator) Dianne Feinstein (not a conservative) looked the other way. One clearly wrong statement aimed at a non-gay caller who has a reputation for "fragging" call-in shows (as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, not a conservative newspaper) and voila, he "is about as hate filled as you can get."

            This is nothing new, except that compared to NPR's Nina Totenberg, PBS's Julianne Malveaux, and NBC/CBS/HBO's Bryant Gumbel, Savage promptly explained what led to his outburst and apologized. Nor have I seen so-called progressive media observers go after media mogul Ted Turner for his countless cases of foot-in-mouth. Using their same logic, I have to wonder where the alternatives are to TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, and that "most trusted name in news," CNN?

            The alternatives: Eight column inches devoted to the Fairness Doctrine? Given what the Demicans and Republicrats have been doing lately, the chances of this coming back are slim to none, and slim's already left town. After all, these are the same "major political parties" that did away with the Doctrine in the first place.

            Meantime, I was surprised to see no space devoted to the news/talk programs found on WXXI-AM. For those not interested in what WHAM and WROC have to offer, I would think this station and its programs would be worthy of support. The more listeners, the better its ratings and ultimately, the more revenue to upgrade its signal and reach. Why reinvent the proverbial wheel?

            The reason big money may be ruling the airwaves is that millions of people on a local, regional, and national level choose to support programs with a conservative approach. Success in the arena of ideas has led to commercial success. That apparently has not been the case in the liberal arena. Low-power stations and Fairness Doctrines won't solve that.

            Jeff Goldblatt, Parkside Crescent, Irondequoit

            Jack BradiganSpula responds: Limbaugh's legal troubles, detailed throughout the US media, run deeper than Goldblatt supposes. Investigators are looking into a possible connection with an illegal "prescription drug ring," for example. In the past, Limbaugh has hypocritically called for throwing the book at other drug offenders, but I don't want him or other drug users prosecuted. Drug addiction is a medical matter, not a criminal one.

            Michael Savage's c.v. is not the issue. It's the fact that he's xenophobic, homophobic, rude, and crude. Whatever his academic accomplishments, and however long his list of publications, he's profoundly uneducated.

            About WXXI 1370: Yes, the station has some very good programming. Bob Smith, for example, is a consistently well-informed, polite call-in host. I'd like to see WXXI pick up Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, as well. Public radio is a natural home for her kind of broadcasting.

Poverty patterns

While I agree with Peter Dzwonkoski's view that parents are an important key to the success of their children (The Mail, December 3), I take issue with his criticizing city parents for city problems.

            Most parents in the city are poor, which means they live in rat-infested, lead-infested, cockroach-infested apartments that landlords ignore. They are working sometimes two jobs, earning minimum wages.

            They care very much for their children and want the best for them, and they value education and the law. But because wealthier parents have decided to leave the city for suburban schools and lifestyles, their flight has created a culture of poverty in the city: a culture that has created the apathy we see in urban education and the violence we see on city streets.

            Cass Doyle, Croydon Road, Rochester

Kodak: Time for

a name change?

There was a time when Kodak was considered the ultimate in management-labor relations, the ultimate in its profession, and the ultimate in community benevolence.

            Kodak was also a community unto itself. It had its own railroad that traveled throughout the vast KodakPark area. It had its own fire department, its own medical department with ambulances, its own cafeteria system that supplied delicious and nutritious food to the various cafeterias.

            Kodak had its own trucking system, its own bus service, its own printing department, whose work included putting out a weekly newspaper, The Kodakery. It had its own construction department, its own plant-security department. It had a suggestion department where employees could submit a suggestion for company betterment --- and it if proved successful, they received financial reward. It had an industrial relations department, where employees could go with industrial or personal problems.

            And all of this was run by Kodak employees.

            The old boy George Eastman's philosophy seemed to be "enough is a feast," and he realized the importance of the workers, sharing with them by way of a yearly bonus. Unions never tried to get into Kodak, because they couldn't promise workers anything close to what the company was giving them without prodding.

            Kodak had its own spacious auditorium where stockholder meetings were held --- and where workers put on plays and noon-hour movies were shown. Kodak had the first lighted softball field in the area, and the Kodak team was world champion twice.

            Kodak supplied the employees with a company bank, the Eastman Savings and Loan, with branches conveniently located throughout Kodak. It supplied employees with a bowling alley and a camera club where employees could develop and print their own pictures without cost.

            Kodak was without comparison.

            One of the most precious things the company had going for it was its employees, and the greatest security employees had going for them was their seniority. Seemingly, employees have now lost that company reverence, and their long years of service often seem to generate the opposite of job security.

            The old Kodak seems to no longer exist: Not only have many of the old Kodak buildings disappeared, but the Kodak tradition and integrity also seem to have disappeared.

            Do you think it might be time to change the name of a company that seems to have disappeared?

            Don "Barefoot" Post, Clarkson-Parma Town Line Road, Brockport

'Not on my watch'

Maggie Brooks pledged to the people of MonroeCounty, "No tax increase."

            On January 1, 2004, I will look forward to hearing her rescind the property-tax increase, which in reality takes our funds "on her watch."

            It will be very enlightening to see how the budget can be balanced with her innovative accounting. Or was it all smoke and mirrors and inside knowledge?

            Is there no such thing as an accountant any more? And is no one held accountable during their watch?

            Muriel Hill Albright, Manitou Road, Spencerport

Our losses in Iraq

It is really a sad, sad affair when so many Americans praise a man who has caused so many deaths in the world. In November alone, 77 US servicemen and women were killed in Iraq. As of the end of November, 438 American troops had died in Iraq, 438 young Americans who will never celebrate a holiday season again. They leave 438 families with a void that will never, ever be filled.

            Possibly with other circumstances such as a threat or an attack, there would be justification. There was no threat. There was no attack. The deaths of all these young Americans were because of the unilateral aggression of this one man. They go on dying while we continue to drop depleted uranium-tipped bombs with our "high tech" super bombers, while the terrorists deliver their bombs, much more effectively, with donkey carts and suicide vehicles.

            With box cutters, suicide bombers, and donkey carts, these terrorists have cut right to the quick of the American people. And they didn't have to spend billions of dollars to do it!

            Don Franklin, Chelmsford Road, Brighton

Bury the Loop

As a prospective urban planner, I agree that getting rid of the Inner Loop is an excellent idea. This little-used, isolating superhighway should be filled in. Allen, Delevan, Cumberland, and Lyndhurst Streets should be connected into a wide, tree-lined, two-way "Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard" running from Main Street near Union and University to Plymouth Avenue by Frontier Field. It could have a wide, grassy median strip with trees down the center. New businesses and affordable housing could go on this parkway as well on Pitkin, Union, and Howell Streets.

            The bridge that currently carries the Inner Loop and railroad over the GeneseeRiver could be replaced with a 19th-century-style, multiple-arched, stone viaduct to carry the tracks and the new parkway. This would improve the city's northern skyline and the backdrop of the HighFalls, just as the new Troup-HowellBridge will do for downtown's southern entryway.

            Like Rochester, Buffalo also has a loop of expressways in the suburbs and another around its downtown area. Buffalo officials are considering changing two of the city's "inner-loop" expressways as well: turning Route 198 into a parkway, and moving the Niagara Thruway (Interstate 190) underground. The latter blocks downtown Buffalo from the Niagara River waterfront, just as our Inner Loop blocks our downtown from surrounding neighborhoods.

            Kevin F. Yost, Middle Road, Henrietta

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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