Regarding recent letters about the transit terminal from Paul Haney, Doug Midkiff, and others (The Mail, June 25):
A couple of years ago, during one of our community's endless and self-defeating rounds of bickering about something or other, I asked a business leader how we could change the culture of our political, cultural, and business leaders to focus on the positives instead of the negatives.
He responded with the story of the Maryland crabber. It seems that two tourists were walking along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, when they came upon a crabber. The crabber was picking up crabs and throwing them into his open-topped basket.
The tourists said, "You'd better put a top on that basket, or else those crabs will crawl out." The crabber replied, "There's no need. You see, these crabs are so stupid, every time one of them starts to climb up towards the light, another one pulls him back down."
It's well past time that we find ways to work together to move our community forward. Those crabs wound up in a steam pot.
Bill Nojay, Pittsford (Nojay chairs the board of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority)
Use the aqueduct
Rochester already has an underground transportation terminal: the Broad Street canal aqueduct across the Genesee River and the former Rochester subway station. There even seems to be adjacent property available for office space, on the corner of Broad and Exchange.
An Aqueduct Station would have many advantages over the Mortimer site:
1) Hardly anyone would take a trip just to see a bus terminal, but many people would take a ride to tour the old subway station. (See the many websites dedicated to pictures folks have taken exploring down there.)
2) An Aqueduct Station would not only serve people from the east side of the city and link them to the skyway system, but it would also finally give skyway access to westsiders. This would get even more folks out of the rain and cold, Mr. Nojay!
3) An Aqueduct Station would be a destination in itself all week long. Folks could take the bus to work, to the Convention Center, to the hotels. Jurors would finally not have to fight for parking due to direct Aqueduct Station access to the Civic Center complex.
How about taking a bus direct to the War Memorial arena? The library borders the Aqueduct Station, and the station would not be a long walk from High Falls and Frontier Field. It would also provide a great link for taking the bus to the Corn Hill Festival in the summer. How much more of a central station could it be?
Jim Buckheit, Gold Street, Rochester
Changing our culture
Thank you for the illuminating article by Jack Bradigan Spula on the project bringing Greece religious youth into city day camps, child-care centers, etc, to bridge divides and bring together people from different communities ("The Bridge at the Edge of Town," June 11).
The article made me think of something social policy professor Paul Stein of the U of R spoke of recently, about the importance of "relative deprivation" in our quality of life and our understanding of ourselves. He said, "Social inequality kills you not through allotment of resources but through mediation of that allotment."
Our experience of our relative social position builds us up if we are near the top, or brings us down if we are closer to the bottom, even slowly kills us. This is not to discount the fact and harm of absolute material poverty, only to add the social and emotional parts of deprivation in a wealthy land.
Stein also talked about changing what the "pie" is made of, from financial and other material resources, to social relationships ---that is, changing our culture.
Your article about suburban youths participating in city camps, etc., and enjoying this helping out, made me think of this kind of culture change. If we as a people can change our focus from material goods to relationships in the widest sense, and develop feelings of obligation for each other's well being, maybe we can eventually achieve a humane county, state, nation, and world.
Claire Olson, Benton Street, Rochester (Olson is a student in the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work Program)
French, after XXI
After the sudden visit from the Lord-High Executioner, I simply can't just disappear into the ether after six years of a relationship with classical music listeners at WXXI-FM. It's been too personal. I absolutely must say "thank you" for being so supportive and kind with your many phone calls, letters, and items you've sent. Thank you for sharing your comments, insights, and even corrections so warmly.
I was doing what I intended to do for the rest of my work days, but a radio career has now come to a premature end. We were dealing with what I call "God's original soul food," which I eat, drink, breathe, enjoy, and love so passionately. What I will miss most is the ability to share it with you (and that door swung both ways).
Several persons have said, "You're a well-known voice in this community. If you ever lose your job, you can at least sell your voice." I answered, "Yes, but while they know who I am, I don't know who they are." If you liked my work over the years and if you can use it in voice-over work in audio or video production in advertising, promotion, sales or training or education materials, etc., do contact me. I now need you. I'm in the phone directory (224-9655) or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gil French, Wisconsin Street, Rochester
Losing Gil French
Fans of classical-music radio 91.5 WXXI will be devastated to know that Gil French, the station's peerless weekday announcer, was summarily laid off recently, apparently the victim of the management's decision to make room for additional automated programming.
It is disheartening enough to learn that WXXI-FM would allow the further depersonalization of its airwaves by subscribing to such a service, but to pave the way for it by firing its finest classical-music announcer (and voice of the RPO) is nothing less than a tragedy.
Not one of the live announcers remaining on the WXXI roster comes close to being able to fill the gap left by French's abrupt dismissal, and indeed quite a handful of them fall light-years behind him. A big loss for serious music lovers in this area, and a big mistake on the part of a station trying hard to maintain support from a community as culturally adept as ours!
E. Thomas Glasow, Oaklawn Drive, Rochester (Glasgow is editor of The Opera Quarterly)
The flag's meaning
Regarding "Flag This Vote" (Metro Ink, June 25): Surely the Congress of the United States has more important matters to discuss than a proposed amendment to the Constitution to ban flag burning. When will the honorable members of the House of Representatives and the Senate realize that the symbol is replaceable, while the rights, privileges, and protections the symbol represents are often difficult and costly to replace?
What the flag represents was not won by the symbol. The rights and privileges we enjoy today have their foundation in what happened 574 years before the Constitution was adopted, when the Magna Carta was approved at Runnymead, England.
The ideals embodied in the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment, have been nurtured by men and women who fought against the very tyranny Congress would impose on the nation with this foolish amendment. Has not the Supreme Court made it clear that such an act is in clear violation of the First Amendment?
Freedom is a messy business. Yet out of this messiness has come the strength of this nation. I believe it was Ben Franklin who, when asked what the Founders had created in July of 1776, said, "We have given birth to a republic if you can keep it. " An amendment banning flag burning undermines the principles on which this nation was established.
While I may disagree with the person who is burning the US flag, I will gladly defend their right to do so. Their right to protest and disagree with me is more important than the flag. It is also the very embodiment of what the flag represents.
Wayne Dillenback, Cedarwood Terrace, Rochester
Next week's mail:Readers' comments on the WRUR-WXXI partnership.
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