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Lower poverty? We've found ways to do it

On Urban Journal's "What Can We Do About Our High Poverty Rate?": How about taking a look at things that have worked in the past? We keep acting like we haven't found the solution, but I believe we have found solutions, and have abandoned them for not very good reasons.

For example, the question of integrated education. My son attended the original Wilson Magnet School, from which he graduated in the late 80's. I signed him up for this school, because it was everything I wanted for my son: diversity, city location, high standards, and freedom for students to follow their natural talent.

I was proud to say my son attended Wilson Magnet and prouder yet on graduation day, when the seniors who had received a scholarship to higher education were called on by name to stand up and receive applause. Student after student after student after student took their turn at standing. Almost every student had received some kind of scholastic assistance reward (perhaps with the help of inspiring school staff?). Tears came to my eyes.

Today, my son is successful and doing well. His three best friends today were in that same graduating class that night. They too are doing well.

Let's review what we've already done that at least started out with success, and then something happened. Have we been shooting ourselves in the foot?

Let's find out.


What happened at College Town

On Chow Hound's "Are You There, College Town?": "College" Town is a 20-minute walk from U of R's undergrad campus. College Town is surrounded on one side by a cemetery (dead people don't spend money), on one side by a hospital with its own cafeteria (more convenient for hospital workers), and on the other two sides by R-1 low-density residential.

This is not enough residents for a critical mass of foot traffic. Goler House residents aren't enough. If you look at the most successful walkable commercial strip in Rochester, Park Avenue, it's surrounded by R2 and R3 (medium and high density) residential zoning. It's not rocket science.

This means that College Town could thrive if more residential units are added. It's not doomed to failure.


Truth is, a survey one or two years ago suggested that U of R students are more Rochester worldly than just the immediate College Town surroundings. They listed favorite brunch place as James Browns Place on Culver Road, nowhere near the campus. I've seen students get lunch at McCann's Local Meats. So it's not about them being lazy, it's about them being discerning and adventurous.


The state of the Dems

On Urban Journal's "The Nation Under Trump": This editorial was obviously written before Tuesday's election, a lightning bolt through the clouds.

In discouraging times, I think of a cartoon news anchor closing the broadcast with these words: "If you don't like the news, create some of your own." Clearly, many of our fellow citizens did just that on Election Day 2017.

Our "happy anniversary" ought to be a clarion call for us to "go and do likewise."