Bored by all the forums, press conferences, and hollow rhetoric? You're in luck: Rochester's race for mayor has become a lot more interesting. And all it took was a T-shirt.
City Councilman Adam McFadden's custom-made T-shirts (modeled here at a Park Avenue café by City Newspaper intern Katie Sauer) are extremely limited --- he made only 40, he says --- and come in easy-to-match black with red-on-green lettering. The message is succinct: "Norwood For Mayor. Don't Sell Out." The fit, as you can see, is roomy.
After McFadden distributed his shirts to various MusicFest attendees, the local media jumped all over the opportunity to report this campaign's first bit of juiciness: the appearance that a candidate was playing the race card. Bob Lonsberry nearly short-circuited with glee. Black folks wearing T-shirts supporting the race's only black candidate with the slogan "Don't Sell Out"... Well, you can do the math.
Of course, "there's nothing racial about the shirts," McFadden says. "It's all about not selling out to suburban interests." That sounds fine. But forgive us if we can't blame people for getting the wrong idea.
If it's not about race, we expect these shirts --- we hear more, from sources other than McFadden, are on the way --- to start appearing on the young, white, and affluent Park Avenue crowd as this picture suggests. Those types are, after all, city residents.
If it's not about race, the Sell Out shirt at least broke the ice. In a city where crime, poverty, and low test scores all cluster around neighborhoods of color, seems race might be a relevant topic. So, let's talk.
--- Chad Oliveiri
The Bob Duffy camp is full of happy campers, thanks to recent polls showing their guy with a nice lead in the race for mayor. And according to one poll, more than 50 percent of the city's Democrats have already decided who they'll vote for in the September primary.
Ink is in awe. Eight weeks before the primary, when the poll was taken, more than half of the city's Democrats had made up their minds? Based on what? Race? The security blanket a former police chief seems to offer in a high-crime year? A brief pitch at a neighborhood fundraiser? Lawn signs?
Ink has no idea who'll make the best mayor. There are three strong candidates. There's lots to talk about. And we're looking forward to learning more.
An Ink reminder: 1) This race is pretty important to be relying on snap judgments. 2) Polls can be troubling things. Publicity about them can sway voters. And for the candidate out in front, they're just lovely fund-raising tools.
Ever since the NBA's Royals left Rochester and ever since the NFL's Bills and NHL's Sabres arrived in Buffalo, Rochester has harbored a major case of sports envy toward its neighbor to the west.
Rochester sports fans frequently stew over the fact that their city doesn't have any major-league teams --- as well as the fact that Buffalo seems to make the most of the state's financial largesse and draw huge amounts of aid for top-flight athletic facilities while Rochester begs for scraps.
As a result, with the Rhinos soccer team, PAETEC Park, and other ventures, Rochester's testosterone-laden movers and shakers have wrung themselves out plotting often half-baked ways to rectify that situation.
And all along, they've taken for granted that Rochester is the best minor-league sports city in the country. And hopefully, now that Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal's latest issue has officially given the city that title, local civic and business leaders should stop bitching about what we don't have and start taking advantage of what we do.