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Campaign Q&A:

On the economy, stupid

Kodak's down. Valeo's out.

Sure, every month or so we get word of a company moving here or expanding local operations. And COMIDA's doing a bang-up job of creating employment opportunities one or two at a time. But a few dozen jobs here and there don't really even begin to offset the much larger numbers many of Rochester's traditionally large employers are hemorrhaging.

And following those jobs out of Rochester and the rest of the Northeast is our population base, our critical mass of people.

Without people or jobs or both, our property values and tax base dwindle, which means so does the pot of money we can spend on highways, police, and schools. Which means we graduate kids less prepared for the 21st century workforce, further deterring businesses. Without feasible jobs, it's hard to blame many of those kids for profiting from the drug economy instead of sitting in unemployment lines.

This tangled-up problem doesn't have an easily identifiable beginning or end, and lots of people are involved. But plenty of people look to City Hall for leadership. Yes, we all know that the mayor --- or any governmental body for that matter --- can't solve all our economic problems. But in case we ever decide to stop kvetching about this town's woes long enough to want to do something about them, we'll probably want to have a mayor who's up to that challenge.

Two weeks ago we laid out the problems ("It's the economy, stupid," July 27), through the eyes of many of the people who know this community and its economy best --- business leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, economists, the list goes on. Then, armed with their perspectives, we turned our questions on the men seeking to represent the Democratic Party in the race for mayor. Edited transcripts from those interviews follow. To view our comprehensive election coverage, go to www.rochester-citynews.com and click on the Election 2005 tab.

--- Krestia DeGeorge


Read City's interview with Tim Mains by clicking here!

Read City's interview Wade Norwood by clicking here!

Read City's interview Bob Duffy by clicking here!

In This Guide...

    Tim Mains: On the economy, stupid Q&A

    City: What would you do differently from the Johnson administration when it comes to economic development? Mains: I have an aggressive plan to use tax reform and a specific tax proposal to leverage economic development to create an incentive.

    The mayor and the schools: who’s in charge?

    Elections are about the future, and the Rochester school district may be a mirror of the city today, and what it could become. Shrinking enrollment --- shrinking job market.

    Wade Norwood: On the economy, stupid Q&A

    City: What would you do differently from the Johnson administration when it comes to economic development? Norwood: I would look to build greater synergies between economic development and community development.

    Bob Duffy: On the economy, stupid Q&A

    City: What would you do differently from the Johnson administration when it comes to economic development? Duffy: I'd form an economic-development impact team of business leaders, community leaders, and labor leaders that would create a business plan for our city.

    Pop quiz:

    Wannabes face their second test
    How much do the Democratic candidates for mayor know about the city they want to lead? We thought we'd put them to the test --- no prior notice, no research allowed.