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Reader Feedback - 11.30.05

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WITH NEW LEAD LAW, ADOPT HIGH STANDARDS

In response to "Lead Law Close" (Metro Ink, November 2): It appears that City Council has yet to determine the scope of the law as well as determine the testing methods. To be effective, the law must have high standards to identify all cases of lead toxicity, not the mere 40 percent that would be found with visual testing only. This law should apply to all city properties to ensure the health and well-being of all of Rochester's children and future generations.

There is no doubt that the clean-up costs will affect property owners financially, potentially resulting in rent increases for already disadvantaged families, abandonment of property, or defaulted mortgages. As such, City Council should strongly consider subsidizing clean-up efforts to defray costs to the property owner and ensure compliance. Although the initial investment will be high, preventing lead toxicity inevitably will save the taxpayer by mitigating health-care and special-education costs in the long term.

Rochester's children deserve a lead-free environment to grow, learn, and thrive in.

Jennifer Byrnes, Crista Crittenden, SadhnaKohli, SohugMookerjee, RabihSalloum, Teresa Talens, and Erik Thingvoll.(The writers are graduate students in the department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester.)


ABOUT THAT 'VILLAGE'

I am a very proud African-American and one of the villagers with a vested interest in the village that Italo G. Savella vilified ("Stopping the Violence," The Mail, October 26).

Savella wrote: "I am a second-generation Italian-American whose family came from a dirt-poor village in the south of Italy. Many African-Americans came from a South that allowed them only to sharecrop or do domestic work. And yet I am convinced that neither among the peasants of Southern Italy or the 'coloreds' of the segregated South was there the moral poverty rampant in our inner city."

When Mr. Savella's clan arrived in America, African-Americans had been here for 300 plus years --- 246 of those years as slaves (slavery: moral valuelessness?). It was the time of Plessy v. Ferguson, which condoned segregated public facilities (moral valuelessness?). Brown v Board of Education overturned Plessyin 1954, requiring an end to segregated schools, but it did not set a timetable, and it did not outlaw other segregated facilities.

It took the Civil Rights Movement to make changes for this (moral valueless) nation with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Movement was a non-violent movement led by valiant Southern "blacks" who were lynched, bombed, beaten, disenfranchised, and jailed for protesting peacefully (moral valuelessness?).

As a son of the segregated South, I can testify that our communities consisted of more than "sharecroppers" and "domestic workers." There were limited political, social, and economic opportunities, not much different from today in Rochester. The difference is that African-American communities of the segregated South, even with these limitations, worked as that proverbial "village," whereas now these communities are separated along class and generational lines, dividing the African-American community even more.

The poor are segregated into certain parts of the city. Affordable housing is non-existent in some communities. The unemployment rate of young African-Americans is abysmal. Discrimination and segregation is alive and well in Rochester, causing a disparity in the rates of problems. According to the media images, African-Americans are the only poor in Rochester, and young African-Americans are the only perpetrators of violence.

Savella wrote: "The African-American community is suffering from a colossal failure of parenting and an abysmal lack of life-giving moral values." His solution: "The sooner African-Americans come to grips with these dreadful facts, the sooner they start doing something about it, the sooner they can start correcting the problem."

The African-American community in Rochester consists of approximately 86,000 citizens, according to the 2000 census --- nearly 40 percent of Rochester's population. We compose a large portion of this village. "It takes a village to raise a child."

Carl Smith, Lake Avenue, Rochester


GOT IT?

"Let's face it, Rochester isn't exactly a pizza-lover's Mecca," writes Saby Reyes-Kulkarni (Best of Rochester, November 9). Ouch, that hurts. The only advice I can give to that critic is: stay away from Domino's and the other chains and go to Amico's Pizza, East Ridge Road. Oh, and by the way, someone tell Alex Miokovic: real bread, Martusciello's, Lyell Avenue, capiscipaisan?

James M. DeMarco, Hartsville Lane, Webster


THE REAL, REAL THING

One small topic not covered in the excellent survey of what makes our city a great place to be (Best of Rochester, November 9): the best real Gelato.

Since returning last month from a trip to Tuscany, I have wondered: despite Rochester's significant local Italian heritage, where does one go for The Ice Cream of Heaven? Can anyone tell me if the same thing can be found in Greater Rochester? One requirement: you have to have been to Italy to a gelateria and know exactly why I miss it.

Carlos Mercado, VickPark A, Rochester


KEEP IT LOCAL

DaynaPapaleo chirps that the "smartest use for the Wegmans-shaped hole on Mount Hope Avenue" would be a Whole Foods Market (Best of Rochester, November 9). What an ill-informed and misdirected idea.

While the MountHope neighborhood needs a good food store, importing Whole Foods is not the answer. Whole Foods is an outside chain: most of the money Whole Foods collected from us would leave our local economy.

Whole Foods has a stunning record for handsome displays of "natural foods," but an equally stunning record for poor labor and anti-union practices. Organic farmers who sell to Whole Foods report a mixed experience. Some have a good relationship with a particular branch of the store; others have found that Whole Foods has no loyalty to local farmers.

Instead of a big national chain, let's fill the hole with a neighborhood store, run by Rochester people with financial support from the city.

Elizabeth Henderson, Peacework Farm, Welcher Road, Newark (Henderson is an organic farmer.)


WRITING TO CITY

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com 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. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media --- and we don't publish form letters generated by activist groups. 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 about once every two months.

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