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Reader feedback 8.27.03

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Keep fighting the transit center

Recent news, as well as Senators Schumer's and Clinton's support of the transit center, would indicate that the community has finally reached a consensus that will lead to its construction. It appears that only Congresswoman Louise Slaughter maintains her position that there are alternatives that would benefit bus riders, the community, and ultimately the taxpayers.

                  In reality, a significant number of Monroe County residents share her opinion and are becoming more vocal in their opposition. Congresswoman Slaughter, who has questioned the wisdom of the transit center in its present form, should be commended for her steadfast position, in spite of the constant verbal abuse leveled at her. It's an established fact of politics that proponents of the center will vanish once the center is built and it proves to be a financial albatross.

                  Main-Clinton needs a facelift, but a transit center is not the answer. Over the years --- and admittedly far too many --- downtown has shown signs of revitalization, the most dramatic improvements being new housing built by private developers with the support of the city. I believe the trend will continue and eventually spill over to other areas of downtown, making the Main-Clinton section desirable for redevelopment.

                  I share Congresswoman Slaughter's opinion that the transit center in its present form will have a negative impact on downtown. I find the process that led us to this point disturbing. Bill Nojay, president of the Transportation Authority, has continually berated anyone who dares question his position. Congresswoman Slaughter, concerned citizens, local architects, and anyone else voicing an opinion have been subjected to personal insults.

                  Rochester has a tradition of community involvement. Neighborhood associations, citizen panels and city residents acting on their own have been responsible for improving the quality of life in our community. The process is sometimes time-consuming and oftentimes contentious, but the end result is almost always a better solution.

                  City residents, beware. You are about to see a major change in your community, and you will have very little say in how it will look, how much it will cost, and how we will pay for it.

                  City Newspaper has published a number of thought-provoking letters on this subject, detailing real concerns. Unfortunately, proponents of the center are not listening. That is not a reason, however, to stop voicing your opinion. There is still time to stop this unconscionable waste of money.

                  The transit center is a bad idea, and our senators need to know that we are, as a community, not in agreement.

                  Bill Coppard, East Avenue, Rochester



Golf serenity?

I have to object to Rick Scott's pronouncement that the world is a better place because of golf ("Growing up a golfer," Metro Ink, August 13). He, like many other golfers and fans, has buried his head in a sand trap. Golf courses may appear to be serene, beautiful places, but actually are environmental disaster areas.

                  According to Chee Yoke Ling and Mohammad Ferhan Ferrari of the Malaysia-based Asia-Pacific People's Environment Network, "Golf development is becoming one of the most unsustainable and damaging activities to people and the environment." (Asia is experiencing a golf course building spree.)

                  XL Environmental (formerly ECS Underwriting), an insurance, environmental-risk control and claim-handling company, concurs. It maintains that, among others, golf courses create the following environmental problems:

                  "• Over-fertilization with pesticides/herbicides, resulting in gradual contamination of groundwater and surrounding streams or ponds and harm to vegetation and wildlife;

                  "• Use of fill materials which contain unknown contaminants;

                  "• Improper on-site storage of [golf cart] batteries, resulting in soil contamination;

                  "• Improper maintenance of PCB-containing electrical equipment;

                  "• Leaking underground or aboveground storage tanks."

                  Or consider the comments of Billy Casper, former professional golfer, quoted in the Journal of Pesticide Reform, Fall 1991: "One year, in a tournament near Miami, I had to withdraw after 36 holes. The course had been heavily sprayed, and there was weed killer in the lake. When I got to the course for the third round, I couldn't hit a wedge shot 30 yards --- I didn't have enough strength. My eyes were bloodshot, my complexion was very ruddy, and my right hand was swollen from taking balls from the caddy. My doctor said it was acute pesticide poisoning."

                  Mr. Scott says, "Golf is a study in slowing down and turning inward." If a person really wishes to turn inward, yoga or karate would be a healthier choice by far.

                  Scott Fisher, East Broad Street, Rochester



Burning the county

The current fiscal crisis shows how damaging the Republican "slash and burn" tax policy is to our community. If the county Republican leaders had simply taken a responsible approach to tax cutting --- say by reducing rates by half of what they have over the last decade --- the county would have enough money to cover the past two years worth of budget deficits, and then some, while still substantially reducing taxes.

                  Of course, that would have meant foregoing political grandstanding and running the county like a responsible business --- one that looks to expand its revenues and not spend more than it takes in. No one likes to pay taxes, and ours probably were too high. But you can't expect to maintain needed services while arbitrarily holding revenues flat --- which is exactly what Republicans did with the property-tax levy over the last decade.

                  By holding the levy flat, our tax base hasn't benefited one cent from the millions of dollars in development we've had. And now it's led to a revenue crunch that's reflected in our multi-million dollar budget deficits.

                  "Slash and burn" tax cuts may be politically popular, but in the end, it's we as citizens who end up getting burned.

                  Jeff Moore, Pearl Street, Rochester



Praising Perinton

Thanks for the article on Perinton ("City on a Hill," August 6). I practiced pediatrics at Perinton Hills Office Park for 20 years and met some wonderful families. Besides the amphitheater area, please don't forget the excellent Fairport Public Library, the Fairport Central School District, and finally, the Fairport Lay Clergy Council, which includes among its members almost all of the local churches and Congregation Etz Chaim, a growing Reform Jewish Congregation, which is able to use space made available by the United Church of Christ on Mountain Rise.

                  Dr. Bernard Yablin, South Winton Road, Brighton



High Falls bedlam

I have been supporting the Triphammer Grill in High Falls for 10 years. During those years, the restaurants and businesses around the High Falls area have come and gone many times (and many of them had substantial city tax breaks).

                  I work in Gates and Greece. I live in Pittsford. I have told many people about the pleasant times I have had at Triphammer, especially in the summer sitting outside on the deck overlooking the falls. I have taken friends from Webster, Greece, Pittsford, and parts of Rochester to High Falls. Guests from all over the county (New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston) have enjoyed the unique location and experience.

                  Unfortunately, once again city government has interfered and cast a negative shadow on a pleasant situation. On August 9, several friends were there for an individual's birthday. We were having a pleasant time on the deck, when all of a sudden there was an awful, loud screaming noise. The concert down the street was so loud that the four of us couldn't have a conversation.

                  I had a headache from the noise. Many of the other customers left. My table moved inside to finish our dinner. Needless to say, this disrupted an enjoyable time.

                  The City of Rochester must have better planning for outdoor concerts and events. The city should impose and enforce noise ordinances on these venues, and the events should be scheduled at more appropriate times.

                  How much public money has been spent on the High Falls area? How many businesses have failed? How much advertising will be done to promote the area? Will that amount be enough to overcome the negative effect of August 9? Word of mouth in the suburbs must be positive if the area is to succeed.

                  Clifford Hurley, Pittsford



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, 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.

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