BARGAINING WITH GANNETT
Thanks to City for its coverage of the recent Newspaper Guild of Rochester pickets at the Democrat and Chronicle. The four Democratic candidates in the mayoral primary --- Tim Mains, Chris Maj, Wade Norwood, and Robert Duffy --- all showed a tremendous commitment to the working men and women of the city and region with their refusal to cross the picket line for interviews by the newspaper's editorial page.
As City noted, the Guild was asking for nothing more than the intervention of a federal mediator into bargaining, which will soon enter its 14th year. But Gannett could not see fit to even agree to mediation. Perhaps Gannett considers bargaining to be like a fine wine --- improving tremendously with age.
It was especially telling in City's coverage of the picket that Gannett could not give an answer as to why it continues to rebuff mediation. The fact is, there is no good reason. But the Guild continues to bargain in good faith, hoping that the new publisher, Michael Kane, will show the leadership to move this process forward.
Steve Orr, president, and Gary Craig, secretary, Newspaper Guild of Rochester
We know the scenario: Some lackey will have to fall on his sword to save Bush. And Bush will try to convince us that his photo ops with survivors are evidence of his compassion --- hoping we'll forget that he played golf the day after the hurricane.
But maybe it won't work this time. Perhaps Americans dying before the TV cameras will catch our attention, and generate the outrage and shame that a hundred thousand dead Iraqis could not.
The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina should wake up sleeping Americans to the total incompetence of the Bush administration, and the insidious racism and "classism" that is alive and well in our country.
Lynda Howland, Brook Road, Pittsford
In response to Steve Walter's letter in the August 17 issue: While everyone has a right to make their own moral decisions, I get particularly prickly at the spread of blatant misinformation. Any individual is free to decide for themselves whether the ancient practice of cannabis consumption is a "vice," but they should do so knowing that marijuana does not cause "dementia, paranoia, and impotence." Your readers might find NORML's 2005 Truth Report informative. It's available here: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5513.
Marijuana use is not relegated to a group of unmotivated individuals with drooping eyelids on society's fringe. The vast majority of pot smokers are responsible members of the community with careers and families. The only difference between them and their neighbors is their cannabis use. The Rochester Cannabis Coalition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws were hosting an event at the Bug Jar earlier this week, the purpose of which was to disseminate information to open-minded individuals regarding the many uses of cannabis --- as a medicine, as a source of industrial hemp, and as a tool for relaxation and spiritual edification. There were to be representatives present from a variety of social and religious persuasions, economic brackets, and age groups.
True, marijuana is not for everyone, but that doesn't mean that it's not for anyone.
Solomon Blaylock, Argyle Street, Rochester
I read with some amusement the "irritation" at the current popularity of the regionally-brewed Yuengling Beer in Rochester ("Invasive Species," August 24). Twenty years ago, a case of Yuengling could be bought at the Public Market and pretty much nowhere else. Beers of the World stocked all varieties of Yuengling up until the early '90s, when Yuengling withdrew distribution from New York state. There was no advertising here, and the beer wasn't selling --- a case in point, because now Yuengling is selling like crazy here, and the only difference is a good ad campaign.
Cheers to the Yuengling customer; raise your glass high and toast to the success of the local and regional brewers of America!
Robin Reese, Rochester
WORKING WITH WITNESSES
Thanks for printing the letter by Tom Hartlieb ("Why the Stereotype?" The Mail, August 31). In my practice years, I served three counties, which meant that I cared for children in at least six families of the Jehovah's Witness faith. We worked together in a sense of communication, mutual respect, and understanding. This included ongoing discussion of therapeutic options for various conditions. I'm not sure whether today the Internet would change all of this. Hopefully my "families" might still remember me.
Bernard A.Yablin, MD, South Winton Road, Brighton
WRITING TO CITY
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