Tom Brennan 
Member since Mar 26, 2013


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Re: “For Rochester school board: Elliott, LeBron, White

Reelect Cynthia Elliott to the city school board? Shame on you, CITY newspaper.

Have you forgotten about Elliott's cruel refusal to shake Tim Mains' hand, because he was Gay, when he applied for an RCSD post? Have you forgotten her chronic neglect of board duties while collecting a paycheck? Have you forgotten her bullying and mistreatment of school staff, her physical menacing of a union leader at a public meeting, her relentless political appeals to racial animosity, or her repeated public bursts of profanity, which would never be tolerated from a student?

You resort to unsupported bromides about growth and passion, but offer no evidence that Elliott cares about the plight of urban kids. Enough of this idea that because you are a vulgar bully, your care more than people quietly laboring to solve difficult problems. Elliott is part of the problem. Twelve years is long enough.

I have served on 3 publicly elected school boards, over 26 years, with some 40 colleagues. Ms. Elliott is the most unfit public official I ever encountered. Some colleagues and past allies have lost their nerve in upholding standards they once championed. They should be ashamed of themselves, and they know it.

This the latest of many absurd editorial positions taken by this so called alternative newspaper. Fortunately, CITY's monopoly on that nitch is weakening, the gatekeeper role they have so long abused, is long gone. Progressive have more places to go for information. If you want to find a good restaurant, look at CITY. If you depend on CITY for political news, you probably know less than the people who read it.

We are now living with a President who flaunts his vulgarity, mistreats people, panders to racial animosity, and neglects the heavy lifting duties of public office. His supporters call him a truth teller too. The truth is, Trump and Elliott represent the same problem in our public life. Voters need to deposit them both on the same curb.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Tom Brennan on 08/19/2017 at 4:24 PM

Re: “After Trump’s ‘triumph’: warnings and lessons

Ms. Towler makes some perceptive comments about the need for Democratic party leadership to change the attitude it conveys to who could be their strongest supporters. The problem afflicts the local party establishment as well. The condescension and entitlement described is present in the local party establishment as well, and with all due respect, this posture is often excused and supported by CITY newspaper. CITY supported Clinton against Sanders, claiming she was "more electable," contrary to compelling evidence otherwise. They joined establishment Dems in support of such quackery as Mayoral Control of schools (replacing elected school boards with appointed ones), they dropped any pretense of fair play in Bronson/Barnhart primary, they supported the imposition of a Democratic mayoral nominee in 2011, without consent from rank and file Democrats (with grotesque results) -- and have generally covered up and/or dismissed numerous issues of fair process and civility within the local democratic party. It would be difficult to overstate the hostility and bitterness this has engendered. This must be addressed and corrected.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tom Brennan on 11/16/2016 at 7:14 PM

Re: “Barnhart responds to CITY's Assembly endorsement

Good point. We do tend to be more indignant when our own side is slighted.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Tom Brennan on 09/16/2016 at 7:57 PM

Re: “A depressing campaign nears its bitter end

As she often does about non-local matters, where preoccupation with her own status and proximity to power in Rochester clouds her vision (IMHO) , Ms. Towler nails it. The corrupting role of money, and militant Know nothingism that has captured the once great Republican party are daunting. Here we are, September, and it is not even clear Clinton defeat the biggest clown a major party has nominated for president, probably in history.

I hope she wins. She still can win. My expectations for her presidency, based on her long career, are low. But I think this is an occasion to again remind people that we had an alternative. Sanders was an authentic progressive, an accomplished and successful politician, a break from the past -- and her far out-performed Clinton against Republicans in every poll, over many months.

Despite this, establishment Democrats, timid and cynical Democrats (and Mary Anna shamelessly covers for them at the local level) shoved Clinton down our throats. Obsessed with identity politics, beholden to the same money the GOP is, comtemptuouss of democtaic process and cowed by decades of defeatism -- this where we are. When is enough enough?

5 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Tom Brennan on 09/08/2016 at 7:54 PM

Re: “Barnhart responds to CITY's Assembly endorsement

Sorry to impose on CITY's hospitality again. Will be brief, in reply to comments by kgib and fgf (if those are their real names) -- both of which took issue with what I wrote.

The first made the dubious assertion that Mayor Warren's endorsement of Bronson was something CITY readers would not find curious -- because incumbents always endorse incumbents. This is not accurate. You would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of divisions in the Democratic party in connection with this Mayor. While prefaced with a derisive "duh," kgib displays a pretty shocking ignorance of the most fundamental realities of Roc Dem politics today. I'm content to let CITY readers make their own judgment as to the meaning of Warren's support of Bronson. Some will approve this, some won't, but few are likely to think it is unimportant.

fgf asserted that there was no other reason for Ms. Barnhart to mention being contacted to buy ads, other than to assert a quid pro quo. While Ms. Towler seemed defensive about the topic, the point could simply have been that CITY places greater urgency on selling ads than doing competent and fair journalism.
This does not make CITY exceptional. Many so called alternative newspapers have gone down this road.

As to the assertion that declining standards of balance and fair play in other media outlets somehows excuses it here, I think most readers will find that a weak argument.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tom Brennan on 09/08/2016 at 7:37 PM

Re: “It's Bronson, hands down

Big shock. The newspaper that is wrong about everything else is wrong about this.

City readers should remember:

Mayor Warren has endorsed Harry Bronson. Bronson concealed his position on mayoral control of schools, prior to his last primary,. then supported it. Some of his on line supporters write of private assurances that he has shape shifted his position again. Like Bronson, City concealed their position on this issue, until after elections where it was a crucial issue, elections about which they editorialized. At some point an honest issue difference is not the problem -- trust is.

It was this newspaper that wagged its finger at the public and said a democratic mayoral nomination selection process in 2011 would scare off developers. Rochester's fearless progressive alternative newspaper strikes again. I could fill a book with examples of this sort of thing.

Amid labored efforts to create an impression of accomplishment, attributable to an obviously undistinguished legislator seeking his fourth term, City remains insensitive to two important public concerns.

The first is increasing displays of contempt for fair play democratic process in our civic and political life.

The second is epic bi-partisan corruption in Albany.

Bronson's campaign has no apparent understanding of the first concern.

Mr. Bronson is heavily invested in the power arrangement that sustain the second.

The best Harry could do was lament the "mistakes" of his "brother" -- an assembly speaker now off to prison. The best Harry's supporters can do is denigrate Rachel Barnhart's lengthy and very widely recognized record of courageous public interest journalism. Born arsonist? This would be funny if it were not so sad. City readers are too thoughtful to fall for this. City newspaper itself is capable of far better.

12 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Tom Brennan on 09/03/2016 at 5:04 PM

Re: “Barnhart responds to CITY's Assembly endorsement

Jeremy is entitled to his opinion. City is entitled to its institutional voice. But it a violation of any concept of ethical journalism to write this kind of article and not include opinions from both sides. Everyone has a right to be heard. Not everybody has earned the right to be taken seriously. The publisher assures us that editorial policy has nothing to do with ad sales. I accept that. Barnhart did not assert that it did. But there are many departures from fair play and good judgment, reflected in this newspaper's coverage of local politics, particularly local Democratic politics. I address a few of these matters in a comment about the main story. It has been a sad thing for many of us to witness. The publisher assures us that integrity is a valued asset of theirs. But if candidates, activists, and community leaders experience time and again that they have not been treated fairly, that will undermine the influence of a newspaper. I think this is an occasion for introspection on the part of Ms. Towler, which we are not seeing here.

25 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Tom Brennan on 09/03/2016 at 4:34 PM

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