Mr. Kunstler's statements about the future are interesting. They deserve and shall receive from me more thought than I have been able to devote to them so far. This letter is actually a comment about the editorial decision made in the highlighting of one of Mr. Kunstler's statements.
Why, from a thoughtful and provocative article of 1900 words, was it deemed appropriate to extract, enlarge, and embolden that which was at best but a minor point of the interview ("The public realm has been given no thought whatsoever and no care")? Moreover, why would one draw such attention to something so clearly false and uninformed?
Please go back and review your laudatory editorial-obituary on my friend and a true urban hero, Larry Stid, former director of planning for the City of Rochester. One can accept the notion that not all of the plans upon which Larry labored have been converted into reality. One can also accept that the Saratoga-based Mr. Kunstler, 40-odd years removed from his Brockport schooling and 200 miles removed from Rochester itself, may not be familiar with all of the work done by Mr. Stid and countless of his professional and volunteer colleagues. But one cannot accept City Newspaper's decision to highlight that which it clearly knows to be false. The salient aspects of the interview have been ignored and inappropriate attention has been drawn to a falsehood.
Mr. Kunstler can be excused his ignorance. So, too, presumably, can be author Condé. But editors are there to make decisions about what deserves highlighting and what does not. Fortunately, the discredit earned by this decision accrues not at all to the memory of Larry Stid and others who try to improve the community but to you.
Richard W. Hannon, Crawford Street, Rochester(Hannon, former deputy mayor of the City of Rochester, is now an official with the Rochester school district.)
Mary Anna Towler's response: At issue here, I think, is our definition of "Rochester." I was defining it (and I believe Kunstler was defining it) as "Greater Rochester," not the City of Rochester. And surely you agree that there has been woefully little thought or care paid to the public realm in much of this area. Henrietta? Sprawling malls? McMansions? Farmland preservation?
I agree with you: Rochester's city government, its neighborhood associations, and individual residents have paid a great deal of attention to the public realm, as have some of our suburban villages. If we speak of the broader Community of Monroe, however, Kunstler's statement is true.
As an Iraq veteran, I am personally insulted by this war. The public would benefit more if we were to withdraw our troops immediately.
Since the beginning of the US invasion, more than 2300 soldiers have lost their lives. Think of the myriad other missions that these service members could be doing around the world to promote peace. Think of the lives that could be positively touched by an American soldier helping to build a hospital or school in a less fortunate part of the world.
Now think of the 2300 families that will not have their daughters or sons returning home to them. Think of the distressing emotions felt across the world as a result of this war. The negative implications will span generations and produce anti-American sentiment worldwide for decades.
The question is asked: "What do we do if we leave? Who will clean up our mess?" My solution: send people to Iraq with books, food, and guitars. If the US is truly concerned with promoting peace in the Middle East, does it not make sense to lead by example? Weapons destroy people and property. Education has a fundamental characteristic that weapons can never possess. Education promotes growth and prosperity.
In the upcoming election, we must put pressure on our elected officials to support the immediate withdrawal of our troops. This war has been emotionally and economically disastrous. There are many programs that would benefit if we stopped wasting money on this war. And there are far better uses for our military personnel.
Mike Totten, Laburnam Crescent, Rochester
As one of the many transit riders who live and work in Rochester, I object to being forced to endure a 178 percent fare increase for the convenience the occasional suburban rider. The Rochester commute is not so unbearable, nor the gas prices high enough to make this transit fantasy come true.
For my additional fare (to rise again in October), I must endure a 75-minute ride to go a few miles, deserted downtown streets after dark to transfer, and bus drivers who disagree with scheduled routes and drop me in unfamiliar areas and advise me to "walk over a few streets."
The people in Rochester deserve a dependable, safe, affordable transit system, not a suburban subsidy program for the inconvenienced.
Diane Franzen, Mt. Hope Avenue, Rochester
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