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Feedback 8/29 

We get the violence we want

I agree with Al Kempf that violence in TV shows and movies contributes to the "culture of violence" ("The Roots of Our Violence," Feedback). But I must disagree with his dismissal of the idea that "nobody forced you to buy a ticket."

Hollywood gives us what we want, and we show what we want by spending our money or turning our TV dial. If movies like "Driving Miss Daisy" earned the most at the box office or offerings like the old Mary Tyler Moore Show were the most highly rated, Hollywood would produce more of them and less of the other.

The sad truth is that blood and gore and violence and sex sell. More civilized material doesn't. Until everyone stops patronizing that stuff nothing will change.


Public art and

differing views

We would like to publicly congratulate Ian Wilson on the success of this year's Wall Therapy. We know firsthand the amount of work that goes into such an endeavor. It is not an easy task to balance, but he has done it with flying/spraying colors.

Letters to the editor in City Newspaper and the Democrat and Chronicle have criticized the mural on St. Paul Street. Having met Ian in person and listened to his vision, we were taken aback. As the founders of Project Scion, we know all too well the chances we take when we enter the realm of public art. There will always be a multitude of opinions, positive and negative. The authors of these letters chose to focus on their own narrow critique without leaving room for alternate views, or even the higher goals of Wall Therapy.

People are entitled to their opinion. Ten different people can look at any work of art and have ten different views. We need to remember that endeavors such as Wall Therapy, Project Scion, Habitat for Humanity, and myriad others are comprised of concerned citizens working to make Rochester a better place. While these letter writers have the right to comment on our endeavors, we need to remind ourselves that they are not making "change" by typing words on an electronic device.

You, Ian Wilson, your collaborators, the local businesses, the artists: you're making change! You are doing something for Rochester! Do not be discouraged by critics, whose words do nothing to inspire the people of this city. Your Wall Therapy is exactly the type of inspiring venture that Rochester needs.

We recently completed our first Project Scion, where we converted a large vacant lot at the corner of Jay and Child Streets into a resident-inclusive green space. On the surface, this appears to be a public garden and gathering space, whose design and implementation may (or may not) be appreciated by neighbors and passersby. But like Wall Therapy, Project Scion seeks to revitalize Rochester's neighborhoods through art. And like Wall Therapy, we have not been without our share of naysayers and critics. But this project's success has inspired many more opportunities, and we are now in the process of planning another Project Scion for 2013.

We do not want to discourage citizens from voicing their opinions, but after doing so, we hope they will ask themselves: Am I personally doing something to help the neighborhoods and citizens of Rochester that are most in need? Can I acknowledge that there are many opinions, especially when it comes to art? Can I see that public art projects have many purposes, such as reclaiming a wall or a vacant lot that was once the habitat of drug dealers, garbage, and crime?

As landscape designers, artists, local business owners, patrons of the arts, and like Ian Wilson, people who are putting their talent and money into the betterment of Rochester, we would cherish an opportunity to have a Wall Therapy mural in our next Project Scion.


The writers are founders of Project Scion.

Pol talk

Everyone knows that if a Republican said what Biden did there would be calls for his head on a platter ("Fun and Games in the Presidential Campaign," News Blog). All of the liberal lamestream media is in the tank for Obama and Biden and for Democrats in general; they are their party's cheerleaders, chief apologists, and all-around toadies.


Posted on


in politics?

I thoroughly enjoyed your interview with Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle ("Politics, Power, and God").

I was elated when I first read about his announced presidency of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School last winter. After reading the City interview, I only have one question for Rev. McMickle:

"Won't you please consider a run for the 2012 presidential election? Your experience, candor, beliefs, challenges to each of us, and straight-forward wisdom offer the most refreshing and provocative insights on critical issues I've come across in a long time."


Prison visitors

need bus service

Considering that it would cost less than a nickel a year for each taxpayer, and considering the social benefits, I believe New York State should resume free bus service for prison visitors.

Research has concluded that prisoners who receive regular family visits are six times less likely to commit prison violations, and that children who visit incarcerated parents have higher self-esteem and IQ scores and fewer behavioral problems than those who don't.

In New York, 80,000 children have an incarcerated parent in a state prison, usually more than 100 miles away.

According to state data, visitors at 60 New York prisons declined more than 13,000 in 2011 compared to 2010, the final year of the bus service. And for low-income families who manage to continue their visitations, financial hardships are undoubtedly created.

The state recently started "televisiting" between Albion Correctional Facility and a Brooklyn site. There are plans to launch similar programs at Auburn and Clinton correctional facilities.

I hope other prisons will be included in televisiting opportunities, and that Department of Corrections officials will join the Correctional Association of New York in urging a restoration of the bus service (a $1.5 million annual cost).


Freedman has corresponded with prisoners since 1976.


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