'No' to ConCon
On the November 7 ballot proposal regarding a Constitutional Convention in New York: Opposing a constitutional convention is not an endorsement of the status quo. It's an acknowledgement that nothing positive could come out of such a convention, given the divisive nature of our politics and the destructive impact that constant media coverage would have of the proceedings. In the 21st century, change can only come in incremental steps.
Should we rewrite New York's constitution? Given the high level of selfishness, political and historical ignorance, demagoguery, and assorted bigotries loose in America, the answer is "no." Not just no, but "HELL NO!"
Sounding off on Parcel 5
On Urban Journal's "A Theater for Parcel 5? Some pros and cons": Obviously, we all want "life after 5" for the city, but I'm wondering what the professional urban planners are saying. Does this project really have a chance of fueling an enthusiasm for central-city lifestyles that's already underway? Right now, it's just a hope and a promise.
We're listening to sales pitches that aren't answering specifics. Isn't the theater too large? Why are there an onsite restaurant and retail spaces if the intention is to get people walking around for these complementary amenities?
This project seems risky, and it's troubling that Mayor Lovely Warren's attitude is one of overconfidence.
Frontier Field was expected to bring people to the neighborhood. Ask the businesses in that neighborhood if it helped. My guess is it didn't. The suburban folks who come downtown for entertainment park as close as they can to the venue and leave as soon as they can. They don't walk around at night in the city.
KATHRYN QUINN THOMAS
Someday I'd love to see a civic "improvement" project in Rochester whose business case didn't boil down to: If we build it, they will come.
We have way more than our fair share of pessimists in Rochester. What a terrible way to go through life. What's in your glass? Is it half empty or half full?
If we can conceive it and believe it, we can achieve it.
I recall Bill Johnson and CATS, with the unquestioning assistance of the local media, claiming that the ferry would run 360 days a year, make four trips a day, carry 1 million passengers the first year of operation, and bring in $92 million to the local economy.
How'd that work out, guys?
There are financial ramifications from such a decision. If everything goes according to projections, all the people can sit around a campfire and sing folk songs. But what if things do not go according to the sales pitch? What would be the financial hit to the city, if any?
The demographics of the RBTL attendees is also a mystery. Are they mostly older suburbanites – who are unlikely to do a walk-about after the show – or young, urban singles who are then looking for something to do? It matters. Because it is the city, not the county, that is making financial commitments.