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Cities' problem not

fed abandonment

Urban Journal's "What I Saw in Detroit" (June 27) overlooks the fact that the federal government, through Johnson's Model Cites Program, invested $450 million dollars to revitalize a 9-square mile section of the city (equivalent to $3.2 billion dollars in 2011), and in the past 34 months the federal government has awarded $1.015 billion more to be spent on projects in the city of Detroit.

That's hardly a nation deciding that cities no longer matter. The building block of society is a functional family, and government programs that keep paying people to have kids will never help to create that functional family.

Politicians, in the quest for votes, have done something that white plantation owners in the South were unable to do: they have destroyed the black family. Detroit has been doomed by the politicians. That said, Detroit Mayor David Bing is a very courageous individual, and I wish him well.


Detroit's problems come in part from the demise of the American auto industry, but mainly from much more. Fifty years of corruption (the last mayor is in jail and they are still finding the "deals" he had), long-time Mayor Coleman Young's hatred of white people and their hatred of him, out-of-control unionism that produced work rules which ensured virtually no one worked, mind-boggling incompetence of politicians who promised benefits the city can never hope to pay. In short, Detroit did not die because anyone ignored it. Detroit died because its own people killed it.


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Health care

and the court

Who cares what you call it ("Taxes, Smaxes: Paying for Health Care," News Blog). The fact is, it will cost us MORE, not less as promised. The question should be "how much more will it cost us and who will be forced to pay it?"


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"Elect Mitt Romney, and insurance companies can refuse to cover you if you've had cancer. Give Republicans control of the House and the Senate, and you'll lose your health insurance if you lose your job" (Urban Journal, July 4).

And you're accusing Republicans of using scare tactics? Good. Grief. Your irony meter is apparently on the fritz.


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The mural project

This is such a vital and magnificent addition to our community ("Wall Therapy," July 4). Rochester could be a destination for mural art, like the Mission district in San Francisco. Much of the work there is in alleys and on garages, but it draws you in, leading to the entire front of Cesar Chavez Community School. How about painting the World of Inquiry or another school in our community? Murals are an outward expression of aspiration, and inspire those who witness them. Viva Rivera!


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City truants

There needs to be an open forum to discuss the "lots of research that supports this" ("Tackling Truancy," July 4). If the city and county social services can get these truant kids to participate regularly in school without "criminalizing" the parents, I want to look at that program. In 2011, the graduation rate fell slightly to 45.5 percent. Many point to this as part of the problem. I'd like to see the program out from under wraps so we citizen stakeholders can make an evaluation of it.


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Blame the parents,

not the teachers

Regarding the graduation rate in city schools: It does not take a village or, in this case a city, to raise a child. People can politicize all they want as to why the graduation rates are less than 50 percent. It's not the teachers. It's not for lack of books or programs. It's not about poverty. What it is about is the parents.

The parents are 100 percent responsible for what their children do or do not do. I say hold the parents' feet to the fire. Education is not all about buildings and teachers. If the parents cared one bit, they would make sure they know where their kids are. If they need to be in school, they should make damn sure they are. Period.

Don't be so quick to blame everything and everyone else for their shortcomings as parents.


Be proud,


I must speak out about elected Democrats who, when asked to comment on the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, come out with chicken-liver responses: "Oh, it's an imperfect law. Oh, we need to improve on it," and other weak replies. I say, Don't be a Wuss; be a proud Democrat.

In New York and many other states, some elected officials will not attend our National Democratic Convention, because they are afraid of how Republicans will paint them for doing so. As a grassroots organizer since 2007, and a 2008 and 2012 delegate for President Obama, my head wants to explode. Their main excuse? They want to spend more time with their constituents!

What do they do on the other 51 weeks of the year? What about when they go on vacation? What about when a family or personal tragedy strikes? Or is the old adage true that "we only see politicians when they want our vote?" I say, Don't be a Wuss; be a proud Democrat.

The Republicans and Tea Party are united – maybe not to elect Mitt Romney but to bring down President Obama. The Republicans and the Tea Party want to dismantle Social Security and Medicare. Please stand with President Obama and the National Democratic Party at our convention. Don't let the Republicans and the Tea Party steal the message. The Supreme Court ruled that the ACA is constitutional. We won.

Don't be a Wuss; be a proud Democrat. Explain to your constituents English how beneficial the ACA is to all Americans. Don't run away from it. The president doesn't.


Preston is a member of Rochester for Obama 2012.

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