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Reader feedback 3.10.04 

Runoff voting

Ralph Nader may have cost Gore the 2000 presidential election. Nader's candidacy in 2004 underscores the need for Instant Runoff Voting.

            In IRV, voters rank the candidates when there are more than two. If one candidate is first choice of most voters, he wins. If not, the least-preferred candidate is dropped, and his votes are transferred to the second-choice candidate for each voter. This process repeats until one candidate has a majority.

            Nader may be wrong to run, but he's right that ideas of third party candidates may be important for citizens to hear.

            Without IRV, vote counts don't reflect people's real preferences. Voters know that unless they choose one of two favored candidates, their vote won't count, and may help elect a less-preferred candidate. This is anti-democratic.

            Furthermore, IRV encourages positive campaigning. Voters have more options.

            Without IRV, voters will continue to be punished for voting their consciences.

            Hank Stone, Route 64, Ionia

Four more years

I am a 21-year-old registered Republican. I registered to vote at the age of 17, because if I had waited, I would've missed the presidential election. I am very proud to be an American, and that gives me the right to vote. Since we voted President Bush into office, we have seen morale in our Oval Office. That is what our nation was founded on, and it would be so awesome to see God Blessing America again. I am sure there are more people who feel the same way. I choose Bush for 2004.

            Adam P Hartman, Cook Road, Hamlin

Reviewing the critic

The reasons for eagerly awaiting the weekly edition of City are probably as diverse and eclectic as the population of Rochester itself. For this reader, the reason is the insightful articles of Adam Wilcox, your reviewer of restaurants and other food-related matters. His writing is honest, straightforward, and refreshingly non-idiomatic, e.g., his description of "distressingly perfect food" in his article about Max Restaurant and its chefs, Tony Gullace and Mark Tupelo (February 18). It is now time, however, for this reader to turn the tables on Mr. Wilcox: It is time to review the reviewer.

            I use the word "reviewer' and not "critic" because Mr. Wilcox's articles are so much more than criticism. They go to the heart and soul of the restaurant: its chefs and its owners. Mr. Wilcox's unending curiosity also embraces the whole exciting world and economic range of the Rochester restaurant scene --- regardless of ethnic background.

            And if you view, as Mr. Wilcox does, the creation of food as an art form, consider the "insane" daily pressures on a chef: a Picasso or a Rembrandt has a timeless life span, but a chef must arise each day to create a masterpiece which is intentionally destroyed --- i.e., consumed, and never to be recaptured, except in our own imperfect memories --- and then the process is repeated thousands of times throughout the chef's career.

            (I refer you to two pieces Mr. Wilcox has done: one on Peter and Joanne Gekas and The Olive Tree, Rochester's premier Greek restaurant, which just celebrated its 25th year of producing "distressingly perfect" food, and the other on "The Corn Man," Robert Gentle of Gentle's Farm market, who, with an incredible amount of labor, skill, care, and pride, personally (not his staff!) hand-picks untold thousands of ears of corn, which, to this reader, are a privilege and an honor to enjoy.)

            In a larger sense, though, this "review" is also a tribute to your newspaper, which has allotted the space that permits Mr. Wilcox's articles to be so exceptional. What other regional newspaper would permit Mr. Wilcox to write more than 1000 words to describe his search for Rochester's "perfect" hamburger?

            Lest anyone think that I am not critical of Mr. Wilcox, however, there is one complaint: I wish that Mr. Wilcox would taste more wine. However, if his next article is comparing delta-grown watercress with watercress grown by hydroponics, all is forgiven.

            William D. Smith, East Boulevard, Rochester

Role model

Recently I substitute taught at a local suburban high school. At the end of the day, I was walking down a crowded hallway with a stream of kids. One of them began challenging another kid a few paces ahead of him in a loud voice and with vulgar language. Having taught high school for 30 years before retiring in the late '90s, I was not shocked by the language, but I became concerned about the building tension and the potential for violence. I could not detect any other adults in the hallway.

            Our stream of humanity poured out the door, and the young man continued his taunts. Sensing the possibility of a fight, kids hung out expectantly. There were still no adults nearby whom I could discern. As a 60-year-old man, I had no intention of getting into the mix to break up any fight that might occur, but as the only adult present, I felt it my duty to at least be a witness to the impending scene.

            What occurred was extraordinary --- and heartening. A very tall boy in a leather jacket and baggy pants appeared, seemingly from nowhere, walked up to the bellicose student and, in a gentle but firm voice, told him to stop what he was doing and leave the area. The boy he addressed tried to resist his advice, but the gentle giant spoke to him again in that same firm manner and with gentle force led him away a few steps. The situation was defused.

            As the tall boy and some friends were walking away, I thanked him for doing the responsible thing. He was gracious in his acceptance of my thanks.

            My generation, or any generation, has no monopoly on decency and responsible behavior. Once again, to that gentle giant: thank you.

            Ed Scutt, MacIntosh Drive, Greece

Also see: Letters on Nathaniel Rochester.

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