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Reader Feedback 10.22.03 

Urban threat?

Regarding "Bob Feeds the Elephant" (October 1): According to Maggie Brooks, the idea that metro government will bring the city's perceived problems to suburban doorsteps is "absolutely ludicrous"; the actual problem is that metro government "threatens people's choice of where they can live and where they can send their kids to school."

            Huh? What, exactly, is this "threat" if not the urban bogeyman? Brooks' language is unsubstantiated fear mongering, clearly supporting the very statement she was trying to refute. I would be curious to hear her give a more specific (and less politically calculated) description of the drawbacks of consolidation.

            Regarding the same article, I was surprised to see Mayor Johnson quoted phonetically ("wanna," "gonna," "blamin"). Spelling out these common oral contractions makes the mayor look backward and inarticulate.

            Melissa Nicholson, Merchants Road, Rochester

Johnson has record and respect

As the race for county executive heats up, I have to say that I'm puzzled as to why political commentators consider it a race at all with such mismatched candidates.

            I first met Bill Johnson at a political debate during the 1993 mayoral election. As a member of the audience, I asked him what he would do to improve the city. He looked straight at me and said: "Nothing. I can do nothing to improve our city by myself, but we can. I challenge you to help me better our city."

            Bill Johnson's legacy of governing is a legacy of empowering citizens. He understands that his resources include not only his staff of devoted managers, but more importantly, local and national CEOs, agency directors, leaders of the faith community, and ordinary folk like you and me.

            The years Mayor Bill invested in building these coalitions have served our community well. The results are visible: a fast ferry rerouting thousands of visitors and facilitating trade with our neighbors to the north, a soccer stadium bringing jobs and investment to a vacant area, a revitalized East End and High Falls, the Neighbors Building Neighborhood and Renaissance 2010 initiatives, hundreds of new homes built in the place of abandoned homes demolished at the city's expense, acres of community gardens, and the Music Fest. We have made a better city.

            This legacy yields national recognition. The city won the coveted "AllAmericanCity" designation, Governing Magazine named Johnson Public Official of the Year, and the Enterprise Foundation called him "America's Best Kept Secret." Few other mayors of large cities have our mayor's record of achieving community goals in a fiscally responsible way. He's always balanced the city's budget and as a result, the City of Rochester maintains a higher credit rating than MonroeCounty and any other major upstate city. National leaders have come to know Mayor Johnson a man of principle, reason and action.

            Such positive national exposure converts directly into increased business activity and tourist dollars and an improved economy. When Mayor Bill goes to Albany and Washington on behalf of our community, decision makers already know who he is.

            As the Community of Monroe is faced with this important choice this fall, I am reminded of that 1993 mayoral race, when then-candidate Johnson faced another weak opponent. With his characteristic straight-forwardness, Johnson responded to his opponent's slings by referring to his own published plan for action. In 2003, the Mayor responds to his inferior opponent with a list of community accomplishments which we all take pride in.

            What puzzles me most is that this time the Republicans couldn't find a candidate with at least some experience in governing a community.

            I tell my children to judge a person not by what he says, but by what he does. I don't know the mayor personally; I know him by his actions. William Johnson is the only real candidate for CountyExecutive.

            Elizabeth Laidlaw, Rochester

Change in Chili

When the Republican administration strongly supported Jack Doyle's attempt to get a Thruway exit in Chili, I hoped it was only a bad error in judgment on the part of our elected town officials. However, when they supported a commercial soccer complex on Union Street, an annual reassessment, giving away a town park, a windmill farm in South Chili, and now a $14 million indoor sports complex, a pattern of bad choices emerged.

            When they held a Town Board meeting at 6:30 a.m., when a 78-year-old grandmother was thrown in jail for a zoning violation, and when public comment at Town Board meetings was shut down and only a truncated agenda was given to the public, I knew we were in big trouble.

            Our 4-1 Republican Town Board is out of control. And guess what? Three officials --- Michael Slattery, Virginia Ignatowski, and Steve Hendershott --- are up for election on November 4. We need change.

            Chili is experiencing its greatest growth spurt in its history. Open land is being gobbled up at an unprecedented rate. Hundreds of apartments are springing up all over town. The only restaurants we get are pizza shops. Do we really need more convenience stores? Gas stations? Our development is as out of whack as our current Town Board is. Officials just aren't listening.

            We need a clean sweep. We need fresh, new faces, council people who will listen and respect what we want Chili to look like down the road. The next two to four years are crucial to Chili's future. There are no second tries here.

            The Democratic Party has a slate of energized, knowledgeable candidates who want to do it better. On November 4, let's give them a chance.

            Joseph Kircher, Attridge Road, Chili

Eagle on display

An open letter to Howard Eagle: A few days prior to the School Board primary, you or members of your campaign committee plastered your campaign posters all over the northeast quadrant of the city. One poster wasn't enough; utility boxes are covered with them. I've even seen them on the plywood covering up windows of empty storefronts and houses.

            Driving around and seeing this mess, I hoped you would not win a spot on the School Board. You certainly wouldn't be a good role model for students. If students had glued paper all over city and private property, they would have been arrested. However, it seems to be ok if you are running for a seat on the school board. Nice lesson.

            Before the weather gets inclement, get your committee back together and go out and have a scraping party. After that, go to each of the city schools and write on a blackboard a hundred times: "I will not vandalize city and private property."

            Mary E. Zeiner, Macbeth Street, Rochester

Writing to City

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester14607.

            Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than once every three months.

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