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Reader feedback 4.14.04

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Wind-power harm

Regarding "As the Windmill Turns," March 24:

            As a Prattsburgh resident who has spent the past eight months researching wind power plants, one of the most exasperating aspects of the threatened takeover of our hills is that people who are concerned about coal mining and air pollution automatically assume that wind power as it is proposed in western New York State is going to produce enough electricity to reduce emissions.

            Yes, wind can make electricity. And yes, under limited and specific circumstances, with solar or hydro backup, it can reduce emissions. However, commercial wind power plants, the way they are proposed, are not going to do that. The 210, 400-foot power turbines being funded by the state Energy Research and Development Authority will be spread out literally over thousands and thousands of acres of land and will produce something like 6/10 of 1 percent of the electrical demand in New YorkState. That is not enough to keep up with the yearly increase in demand. As wind feeds the grid, demand will increase and new coal and nuclear plants will be required to keep up with that demand.

            The wind companies are in this for the money, despite their protestations of care for the environment. Wind power plants are not benign. They are noise and light polluters; they affect the ground water, the birds, and the animals. And there are serious safety concerns because of blade and ice throw.

            And while some of us have received flack for caring about the way the towers will mar the beauty of the Finger Lakes, please remember that when nature is uglified, there is even less incentive for people to treat the planet with care and love.

            What nobody wants to consider is that the only way we will ultimately reduce emissions is to cut back on unnecessary electrical demand. Individuals and businesses can get off the grid using small wind towers, hydro, and solar at the same time that we all work on ways to cut back on the electricity that we are using. With respect to wind towers, it makes no sense to destroy the environment in an attempt to save it.

            RutheMatilsky, Baker Road, Prattsburgh

Support at Planned Parenthood

My heart goes out to the young woman harassed as she went to Planned Parenthood for a routine checkup ("Casting the First Stone," The Mail, March 17). As a volunteer escort at Planned Parenthood, I've witnessed the kind of verbal bullying that brought her to tears. I wish I'd been there that day.

            I'm one of a group of well-trained volunteers who are present every Saturday morning. It's our job to ensure that people feel welcome and comfortable as they walk into the building. Just by our presence, we are also a reminder that there is support in the community for women to have the power to make their own moral decisions as to when (and whether) to have children, and to take care of their own health.

            As bad as the protesters may seem, there is a federal injunction in place which keeps the protesters back from the driveway and the sidewalk entrance from the street. Really, all they can do is yell their wish to impose their beliefs on you.

            They certainly get energy from negative responses, so we encourage people to stay calm and not answer their provocations.

            I can assure anyone coming to Planned Parenthood that the situation will be as safe as we can make it. Keep focused on your goal, watch for our blue pinnies on Saturday mornings, and don't let those bullies intimidate you!

            Marsha Peone, Sequoia Drive, Chili

Children at risk? From whom?

Jay Widener's letter (The Mail, March 24) reminded me of a great bumper sticker I've seen around town recently: "Straight but Not Narrow."

            Mr. Widener's arguments are vague, illogical, and stray far from fact. Most adoptions are made by heterosexual married couples. Mr. Widener asks what happens to an adopted child if a same-sex couple decides to divorce or separate. He says children's welfare should be given special attention if they are adopted by same-sex couples. He implies a sense of urgency. Mr. Widener, here are some urgent statistics to ponder. In fact, you might say they imply an emergency:

            According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (US Department of Health and Human Services) www.acf.hhs.gov, in 2001 there were:

            51,000 adoptions

            126,000 children awaiting adoption

            534,000 children in foster care

            According to the Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (USDHHS), in 2000 there were an estimated 1,200 child deaths from abuse and neglect. Of those deaths, 79.1 percent killed were due to maltreatment by a parent or parents.

            According to Americans for Divorce Reform, www.divorcereform.org, in 2000 there were 957,000 divorces.

            How many of these kids do you think were raised by traditional opposite-sex married parents? How can gay parents be a threat when most children killed are by their own birth parents? Why are children so desperately in need of a loving family up for adoption in the first place? Do you really think that the kids up for adoption are from failed same sex unions?

            And finally, what does the Bible say about 1200 children dead a year because of their parents?

            Alicia C. Ainsworth, Hamilton Street, Rochester

Missing Popick

It's a great shame that Jon Popick's movie reviews are no longer part of your paper. Popick's style was a nice departure from the rather bland and stuffy reviews of George Grella and Popick's apparent replacements, Erica Curtis and Andy Davis. I'm a graduate student who does quite a bit of writing for a living, and I still have no clue what point Grella is trying to make in his reviews. Not that this bothers me; I simply choose to not read his reviews.

            All I care about, when reading a review, is whether or not the movie is worth seeing. Popick's reviews always got that point across. Not only that, but those of us who were not offended by his writing (and I'm pretty sure there's a lot of us) found his comments quite entertaining. In my opinion, losing Popick lost City a large number of young, college-aged readers who respond well to his style.

            Dave Pogorzala, Park Avenue, Rochester

            Editor's note: We, too, are sorry that Jon Popick is no longer writing for us. While often controversial, he did have a sharp, entertaining style, which we, like reader Pogorzala valued. As for Curtis and Davis: all of our writers have their own style, which we encourage, and we're receiving praise about both of our new additions. And we continue to value --- and hear frequent praise for --- long-time film critic and UR Professor George Grella. One of the reasons we've been running more than one review each week is that we recognize that readers have different interests. Some want a thoughtful analysis of a movie, with context. Others simply what to know whether the reviewer finds the movie "worth seeing."

Big-box sprawl

Currently, the Town of Webster is considering a plan to develop a commercial shopping center to serve as an alternative to East Ridge Road in neighboring Irondequoit. The latter shopping district, mind you, was similarly developed as an alternative to Main Street in downtown Rochester in the 1950's and 1960's, as was Jefferson Road in Henrietta at the same time.

            Now, as East Ridge Road is beginning to suffer the same fate of blight as Main Street, and the shopping centers around Jefferson Road have had their share of empty space, big-box stores want to settle further from the urban core, as they have constantly been doing.

            Next, business will be in WayneCounty. In fact, Victor, just across the OntarioCounty line, has been growing, along with its Monroe neighbor Perinton, at the expense of the city and its inner-ring suburbs. When will we learn from this sprawl of big-box businesses and big highways? This is not growth, but merely decentralization.

            Kevin Yost, Middle Road, Rush (Yost is a volunteer with the CommonGoodPlanningCenter)

Clarke's truths

I had my worst fears confirmed March 21, watching President Bush's former top terrorism expert, Richard Clarke, on 60 Minutes. Clarke spoke clearly and without reservation about the Bush administration's weak record on terrorism leading up to and following the September 11 attacks.

            According to Clarke --- who has served under Presidents Reagan, George HW Bush, and Clinton, as well as the current administration --- President Bush and his top officials:

            • Ignored current warnings from early 2001 that the United States faced an imminent threat from al Qaeda.

            • Focused on Cold War priorities while ignoring the threats that developed over the previous eight years. It was as if the Bush son took up where the father left off.

            • Looked at attacking Iraq immediately after September 11 and consistently confused Americans by putting his father's unfinished business with Iraq before American security regarding 9/11.

            • Pushed Clarke to draw a false connection between Iraq and al Qaeda and repeatedly rejected the evidence that no such connection existed.

            • Ignored the common-sense idea that invading and occupying Iraq, as predicted by al Qaeda, will incite and recruit more terrorists to attack, as in Spain's March 11 attack. Offensive war is an old and discredited idea, as Europeans know.

            Clarke's book, Against All Enemies, proves that the reason given for invading Iraq was ill-founded.

            It is remarkable that President Bush sent Congress a budget that was $520 billion in the red and did not even include the cost of the war in Iraq. The recent additional $87 billion requested for the Iraq operation is just one more installment of debt on our children.

            Hal Bauer, Dansville

Wrist-slapping

Outrageous! A New York elected official, Assemblyman Roger Green, bilks the taxpayers for $3,000 for more than 30 bogus trips between New York City and Albany, and what does he get? Probation and a $2000 fine. What an absolute travesty! He says he was "caught up in a faulty system"!

            This as the state tax department collects billions of dollars (among the highest taxes in the nation) from hardworking taxpayers in the face of monumental budget gaps caused by the excessive spending of our elected officials. Let's not forget the contrived and unnecessarily complex New York income-tax filing process that makes the federal 1040 seem downright easy!

            And here, one of those guardians of the public trust --- responsible for deciding how to spend the billions collected from New Yorkers each year --- can't figure out the appropriate travel and reimbursement policy. If he worked for a non-governmental employer and bilked his employer of $3,000, he would have been fired.

            This is indicative of the arrogance of many of our free-spending, self-indulging elected officials. With leadership like this, does anyone wonder why New York is losing jobs, working population, and its future?

            D. Giambattista, Rosscommon, Fairport

What choice?

Where in the Constitution does Stewart Bedasso find any reference to political parties and that there should only be two? What I see is a framework for a nation's government and the requirements for the positions in that frame.

            Ralph Nader, along with others, is exercising his right to pursue the presidency of this nation. Though I shall not cast my vote in his favor, I applaud his sense of civic duty to place himself and his ideas in front of the public to be found acceptable, or not, in running this nation. Perhaps someday we will be presented with a real choice for president, and it need not come from within the two major political parties.

            We don't need any more choices? I wasn't aware we'd been given much of one.

            Jock Thorpe, Chimney Heights Boulevard, Wolcott

Nader was best

I have a problem with the idea that everyone who voted for Ralph Nader in the last presidential election would have voted for Al Gore if Nader had not been an option. I voted for Nader, as I am a member of the Green Party and because I support his platforms. I would never have voted for Mr. Gore; frankly I think the man could not lead a moth to a flame.

            Stewart Bedasso knocks Mr. Nader's run as "an ego trip" (The Mail, March 24). What politicians aren't on an ego trip when they run for office? That's not such a bad thing, either. I have found that people on an ego trip are willing to fight for what they think is right. I'd rather have a candidate on an ego tip who supports such things as social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, decentralization, community-based economics and economic justice, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility and future focus and sustainability, than one who claims to have invented the internet.

            I love Mr. Bedasso's claim that Mr. Nader's campaign was "well-funded". Yeah, well-funded in comparison to a high-school math team's presidential campaign. Here are the facts, the numbers taken from Open Secrets (www.opensecrets.org). George W. Bush raised $193 million and spent $185.9 million. Al Gore raised $132.8 million and spent $120 million. Pat Buchanan raised $38.8 million and spent $39 million. And Ralph Nader raised $8.4 million and spent $7.77 million.

            Fourth, Mr. Bedasso doesn't respect America's history of change. Our history has included several political parties. How did we get to today, with two big parties? Through change. Maybe in a few decades, the Green Party will be one of the two big guys. I challenge my fellow voters to allow for several parties, whatever you support, and to respect our country's history of change.

            Vanessa M. Paniccia, Rosedale Street, Rochester

Dems and Bush

Ralph Nader harbors no illusions that Democrats will be voting for him. Many of his so-called supporters have abandoned him, including such left-wing darlings as Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins.

            (As an aside, the Green Party of Monroe County is not endorsing Nader's candidacy only because the national party has not made a decision on whom or if to run. That will be done in June. In the meantime, we are focusing on local races.)

            Democrats did not "have to" vote for such abominations as invading Iraq, the Patriot Act, and the No Child Left Untested Act. They voted for such things because, theocracy aside, they are different sides of the same coin.

            As to Nader costing Gore the election, a multitude of facts show that this is not the case. For example, approximately 200,000 Florida Democrats voted for Bush.

            Lastly (I can't believe I have to even say this): the Constitution says absolutely nothing about a two-party system.

            Dave Atias, Park Avenue, Rochester(Atias is chair of the Green Party of Monroe County.)

A third voice desperately needed

Where does Stewart Bedasso ("Nader's Ego," The Mail, March 24) think new ideas and renewed dreams come from? Not from the entrenched, who, while probably nice people, are content with things as they are.

            Years ago a reporter was talking to Barbara Bush in the White House. It was in an informal room, and children were playing and watching TV, which was showing scenes of a massacre in Africa... bodies, killing right there.

            The interviewer asked Mrs. Bush, "How do you explain this to children?" And she answered: "I tell them not to worry. It will never happen to them."

            This is what Ralph Nader goes forth year after year to condemn, to plead for an awakening to the fundamental wisdom shared by almost all the world: that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us, or, conversely, that what we do to others usually returns to us in some way.

            What Ralph Naderspoils is the complacency of sports philosophy: Don't ask if the plays are all legitimate, as long as it is a good show, and close. It's not "just a show" when you lose your job, or can't pay for a needed operation, or fall behind and get a message that your utility service will be shut off unless you pay. Or if you bury your young soldier-child.

            Without third parties, a government soon stagnates into a one-party system where Congress, sometimes "with one voice," makes a terrible decision. The third voice is desperately needed to balance thinking, and to dare to introduce unexpected solutions.

            Mr. Bedasso will have a chance to change the Democrats in Congress who voted for all the things he wishes to rescind.

            I suggest that Mr. Bedasso reread the Constitution, which does not limit political parties. It deals with the balance of powers, three in number: Congress, executive, judicial.

            The purpose of third parties is not to win, an unlikely chance, but to voice new ideas, to criticize the untouchables, to "speak truth to power." For doing this, I cherish Ralph Nader and a long line of distinguished, intelligent patriots who have kept open space for free discussion.

            Open your mind a crack for just a minute, now and then, to listen!

            Barbara Williams, Wellsville

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. 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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