Invest in schools
As I began to read Charles Deering's comments on the Rochester school budget (The Mail, April 23), I settled in to enjoy his sarcasm as he imitated ignoramuses who believe that schools are not the most important investment we can make. Imagine my shock when I realized that his ludicrous comments were said in all seriousness.
I could not resist taking the paper to school to show to all my friends so they could join in my indignation. Yes, I am lucky enough to attend Webster Schroeder High School, a well-funded school district in a very supportive community.
In his most offensive comment, Mr. Deering stated that he should not have to pay for school lunches and "parents should stop having kids if they can't afford a family." I'm sorry; would he prefer to starve the future of our country?
I am sure that Mr. Deering never took in to consideration the results of under-funded education on people's ability to get a well-paying job, their knowledge of birth control and child-rearing, and their understanding of the finances required to support a child. Thanks to a course in child development, one Mr. Deering may consider a waste, I now understand these important considerations.
I am not certain how many people may agree with Mr. Deering's proclamation that he is "sick and tired of these damn kids," but I disagree that they are not our future because they will not "be able to vote for another 10 years." Is Mr. Deering anticipating his death in the next 10 years? I will be voting in the next election and I am a product of my education, beginning from the time I was 4 years old.
We will never solve our country's problems by cutting off the children. A well-funded school district provides a quality education. Education has broadened my mind and given me countless opportunities and encouragements to change the world.
I hope and pray that someday all our leaders will understand this and look to improve the future by investing in the present. My best wishes to the Rochester school district in its continuing struggle.
Rachel Bradley, Hawley Drive, Webster
Give us back our neighborhood
In response to SJ Farrell's letter (The Mail, April 30): As a Highland Park neighbor, I am not whining and complaining about the Lilac Festival. I am well aware that tourism benefits the city and the county. So why not make the festival a citywide and countywide event? Not all the attractions have to take place at Highland Park.
An eight-hour rock concert has no place at Highland Bowl. There is no parking lot; there are no bathrooms or other amenities one would expect at such an event. The concert should be held at a proper venue: Frontier Field or Blue Cross Arena. No doubt the businesses in the High Falls district would welcome such a proposal.
At a recent neighborhood meeting, a representative from the Rochester police department agreed that a concert for 10,000 spectators should not be held at the Bowl. He declared that such an event would tie up traffic on South and Mt. Hope Avenues. Both are major roads leading to hospital emergency rooms. Police, fire, and ambulance response would be delayed or nearly impossible.
As a homeowner for 20 years in the Highland Park area, I have watched the Lilac Festival grow bigger each year. The problems have multiplied along with the growth. What was once a lovely way to spend a spring day has turned into an ugly, crass, and commercial monstrosity. Unlike the Corn Hill and Park Avenue weekend festivals, our neighborhood is forced to endure 10 days of excessive traffic, noise, lack of parking for residents, and other inconveniences.
We have forgotten what the Lilac Festival is about: the lilacs. Those of us who enjoy living here would like our neighborhood back so everyone can smell the flowers and enjoy springtime in our city.
The rest of you, who want to swill beer, eat sausages, and listen to loud music, can hold your own festival somewhere else.
Richard Guerino, May Street, Rochester
The Bowl's for all
SJ Farrell's information on the Highland Bowl concert (The Mail, April 30) is incorrect. The neighborhood association does not oppose concerts in the Bowl. What it opposed is concerts where admission is charged.
These commercial events have been a problem because of the fences erected, the concentration of people within these fences, and particularly the concentration of drunk, disorderly people who seem to abound at such paid events --- not to mention that the parks department doesn't get one penny of the gate from these shows, despite having to absorb the cost of cleaning up the mess afterwards.
Similarly in error is the assertion that there was an "informal agreement made by County Legislator Kevin Murray to end the Highland Bowl shows." The agreement was to end admission-charging shows only. In fact, community members support free events in the bowl that welcome all regardless of ability to pay.
As members of this community, I and my neighbors agree completely that "[t]his is a public park" and that everyone has "a right to enjoy it," not just those with the price of admission.
Victoria Posner, Rochester
Now that the war on Iraq is over, there seems to be a deafening silence among the supporters of this invasion who were recruited on the pretext of pre-empting the use of weapons of mass destruction by a mad man.
Shouldn't these cheerleaders of war be asking where these awful weapons are? Don't they wonder why the mad man didn't use them in a last desperate attempt to save himself? Don't they wonder why this administration refuses to let the UN inspectors help them search?
I do. Vladimir Putin does. Even Saddam allowed the UN inspectors to return.
What will we do if no weapons are found? Will we hold this administration responsible for a Hitler-style invasion of another nation that did not attack us? Will we apologize to the survivors for killing their families and ruining their nation? Freedom, freedom, freedom fries. Come on, America; we are better than this, and you know it.
John Kastner, Ericsson Street, Rochester
Another art loss
Rochester is losing another art gallery. In its final days, some have questioned the value of art, thus revealing an even sadder aspect of this event.
The value of art? Maybe it isn't the first thing we think about when funds are low and food is needed for the table, but as an artist who has questioned her ability to continue when times are challenging, I know that a very valuable part of who I am begins to shrivel and die at the thought of giving up.
As a teacher of art, I see renewed spirit and life come to mature students who had become discouraged and had given up in their earlier days. I see a young college student, taking art to fulfill an elective, tell the class in gleeful disbelief that her mother, upon seeing her art project, said she was gifted.
Every time I fail to show recognition to an artist whose creation has moved me, I feel as if I've neglected to honor soul itself. When a community loses its art it loses its soul.
Gloria Betlem, Livonia
Writing to City
We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: email@example.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester 14607.
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.