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Feedback 1/29/20: Felon on the PAB, the 27th Congressional District, critics of Tom Tomorrow be damned 

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GOP in 27th Congressional District is getting what it deserves

I agree with two key points in Jeremy Moule’s commentary on the upcoming special election to fill the 27th Congressional District seat; namely, that the timing is helpful for Nate McMurray and that he is an outstanding candidate (“Congressional special election date looks like a rigged game,” Editor’s Notebook, January 15).

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to hold the special election to replace Chris Collins on the same day as the Democratic presidential primary can certainly be viewed as a partisan maneuver, but it’s hardly surprising the governor is playing the hand he was dealt.

We might be in a very different place if Mr. Collins had chosen not to run in 2018 and the local Republican Party had an opportunity to field another candidate.

MAUREEN C. DUGGAN, ROCHESTER

In the coming weeks or months, we can expect a special election for Congress in the 27th district. It would be nice if those seeking to represent the citizens of the district could explain their positions on health care, national defense, and the role of oversight in government. It would be nice if the candidates provided an op-ed piece to the newspapers.

Republicans, for example, say they support President Donald Trump’s agenda. Does that include invalidating the Affordable Care Act, including its legal protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which the Trump administration is arguing for in court? If not, how would they ensure insurance companies do not deny coverage or raise rates due to a pre-existing condition?

Do the candidates support the military build-up in the Middle East and the abrupt pull of support for the Kurds? Do the candidates support congressional oversight of the executive branch? At present, the executive branch is refusing to provide any witnesses or documentation in relation to the impeachment trial of the president.

Do the candidates find this behavior acceptable? If the candidates believe that the president answers to the citizens, how will they hold the president accountable if he can just delay answering congressional subpoenas and provide witnesses?
Let us hear your answers, candidates.

WILLIAM FINE, BROCKPORT

Appointment of felon to PAB is troubling

The Police Accountability Board Alliance’s selection of a violent felon as one of its choices for the new Police Accountability Board raises many questions and illustrates the many problems of the appointment process (“City Council stands behind reformed ex-convict for PAB,” January 22).

Unlike the City Council, whose members are duly elected and is required to hold open meetings, the Alliance is a private group seemingly without bylaws, oversight, or transparency. Yet the group is permitted by law to recommend 12 people to the PAB, of whom Council is required to select four.

Enter the Alliance’s troubling recommendation, and Council’s subsequent jaw-dropping appointment, of Miquel Powell, who was convicted of second-degree assault for shooting a woman through the door of an in-home daycare in 2002 and was sentenced to seven years in prison. In an interview with CITY, and later with WDKX-FM, he appeared to attempt to downplay the seriousness of firing a shotgun into a doorway by suggesting he mistook the daycare for a drug house. His comments seemed to brush off the episode as if it were a mistake we all make on occasion. His nonchalant dismissal failed to appreciate the devastation such acts not only have on victims of gun violence, but everyone who lives in the affected community.

Worse, he explained that he believes the experience was somehow beneficial, as it made him a better man. He sees a silver lining in scarring another for life. He reasons that because this act ended his life of crime, it was a blessing in disguise. It is a delusional absolution.

Most men find ways to build character and flourish without having to shoot anyone and victimize an entire community first. On WDKX, Powell painted himself as a victim because people continue to speak of his heinous act in light of his selection to the PAB. This lack of remorse reeks of self-pity. His poor judgement extends from not only his choice to engage in one of the worst crimes possible — gunning down an innocent woman at a day care — but to his assessment that her suffering was what he “needed” to reform himself.

Reasoning that personal reform comes from the suffering of others does not justify criminal behavior in favor of personal responsibility. No one can absolve himself in such a willy-nilly fashion and casually move on. Responsibility does not end at the term of a prison sentence. Indeed, there are some acts so heinous that they will exclude one from full participation in society. That is the nature of responsibility, and as it should be.

GARY PUDUP, GREECE

Pudup is a former Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy, a gun violence prevention advocate, and a former director of the Genesee Valley chapter of the NYCLU.

Tom-Tom and the tyranny of even-handedness

A reader recently asked in this forum for more diversity in CITY’s offerings of political cartoons, likening Tom Tomorrow to watching North Korean TV news. (“Tom-Tom is like North Korean TV News,” Feedback, January 15.)

Claiming that there is an unfair advantage of one perspective over another seems to require that opposing perspectives are to be given an equal opportunity. But this is not where equality lives.

Flat-Earthers have a total and absolute right to their beliefs; they do not have a right to demand equal coverage in the media. Equality can become a wedge issue to enable a discordant few with an agenda to diminish comity of unity.

If I do not like a TV show or a cartoon in a newspaper, I ignore them.

ROBIN RAPPAPORT, RUSH

This letter is in response to “TomTom is like North Korean TV news” (Feedback, January 15).

There are ample examples of what conservative America considers humorous. Their idea of humor is derisive name-calling and expressed ignorant bigotry.

My advice: Don’t give in to the pressure of conservative censorship and allow CITY to squeeze out the only non-conservative voice in the area. Don’t let authoritarian conservatives quash the only niche for expression of any form of liberal ideals.

GEORGE L. CHARPIED, PITTSFORD

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