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Cuomo, Biden, and 2020

We read now that Governor Cuomo has come out in support of Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential race. I haven't always thought much of Cuomo's machinations (government by three men in a room, $9 million for distracting road signs that aren't even legal by Interstate Highway standards – are you kidding me?), but in this case I think he is spot on.

Recommended reading: Mr. Biden's book, "Promise Me, Dad," about the year in which he coped with his son Beau's debilitating cancer (not the first tragedy in his life, either) while maintaining his duties – masterfully – as Barack Obama's vice president and contemplating a run for the presidency himself.

In this book it becomes clear, in detail, that if you want a president who has maintained a reputation for statesmanship and decency, and during his tenure has dealt face to face with just about every world leader of import, Joe Biden should command your attention.

Cuomo's right about Mr. Biden's credentials versus the competition: "You don't hire an airline pilot who has never flown a plane."

BRUCE BEARDSLEY

True police accountability

I read your articles about Mayor Lovely Warren's proposed Police Accountability Board and am dismayed, if not mad as hell. The mayor's proposal portrays a lack of transparency and may yet be another toothless endeavor. Having police leadership and collective bargaining retain control over performance reviews and dismissals is what already exists. How is that meaningful?

The plan appears to have no serviceable agenda for addressing the chief citizen complaint: excessive force and the culture in which it exists. And if reports are true, the PAB appears to have little in the way of resources to carry out its charge. Too many citizens have little meaningful redress when face-to-face contact with police goes awry.

The city should address several issues if a Police Advisory Board is to be successful:

  1. Police must have a thorough psychometric evaluation prior to training;
  2. The police department should change the emphasis from offensive tactics and weapons to defensive de-escalation and negotiation;
  3. The number of veterans admitted to policing should be restricted;
  4. The police department should rethink the use of justifiable homicide as the rationale for what appears to be an escalating violent culture in policing;
  5. The city should demilitarize local police;
  6. The RPD should stop placing armed police in situations where "hard enforcement" does not belong, such as schools and domestic disputes;
  7. Civil forfeiture should be eliminated; it creates an excuse for justified lawlessness;
  8. If police union's bargaining unit, police chiefs, the Police Advisory Board Alliance, and the mayor's office truly want to establish a historic mechanism for the public to have redress for their complaints, employ Occam's razor: on-line redress.

Unless governmental agencies and their delegates formalize a solid citizen-centric PAB with specific long-term agenda and transparency, I'll remain dismayed.

GL CHARPIED

Helping addicted inmates

On our article on the Monroe County Jail's new program to provide dedicated housing and services for inmates with substance-abuse problems who want treatment: This is a great step. Most county jails around this country just lock up the drug user without any medical help, and to kick cold turkey will only lead those inmates, once released, to use again. But this program will give those user-inmates a chance to live.

SHANE LAFFERTY

God bless Sheriff Baxter. Finally some common-sense action!

ROCCO STAGNITTO

I'm so glad to hear this. When inmates are addicts who get locked up, they think "I'm sober now." Yet as soon as they get out of jail they go stir crazy and over-indulge, back in the same bad habits.

Without a program to help them "relearn" how to act more healthy, they won't be able to. They need the resources and to be given the tools to lead a better life. Otherwise, they will end up back in jail and the process will repeat.

JESSICA ROSE

Correcting ourselves

Our January 16 article "Rochester Bike Projects Roll On" incorrectly stated the location of the city's first completed cycle track. It's the one built along Union and Howell Streets as part of the Inner Loop East fill-in. The article also incorrectly stated that the Roc the Riverway project includes plans to redevelop Court Street, when in fact the plan is to redevelop Broad Street by removing the deck above the old aqueduct under the street.

And in our January 16 item previewing pianist Vadym Kholodenko's performance, we incorrectly said that he is Russian. He is Ukrainian.

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