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Tell the truth about the tax rate

If a landlord who previously included utilities in the rent started charging tenants for water or electric usage but kept the rent the same, would we applaud that landlord? So why do we applaud Maggie Brooks for keeping the tax rate the same by increasing fees and chargebacks?

The press should report the bottom-line impact to residents. Whether the amount is called a tax or a fee, at the end of the day it's still an increase to residents.

Ignoring this only encourages the county government to get more creative with pulling expenses out of the budget and reclassifying them as fees.


School board should hire Cala

Rochesterians constantly read and hear about how the City School District lacks the money to fix the problems in its schools. I have a small, yet reasonable suggestion. The district can save between $150,000 and $200,000 by not contracting with an outside consulting firm to conduct a national search for a new superintendent and instead hiring Dr. William Cala to fill the role.

Dr. Cala has the commitment and the proven experience as an outstanding school leader. He truly understands the relationship between effective teaching and learning; a required skillset to move the district forward.

The district can distribute the savings among its elementary schools, secondary schools, and school programs. It's not a bonanza for schools by any means, but where would you rather see your tax dollars going, to a high-priced consulting firm or to the schools and their students?

Dr. Cala demonstrated his administrative competence during his brief stint as interim RCSD superintendent several years ago. With an $800 million annual budget, city schools are still struggling. The board must hire a long-established leader who knows how to improve academic achievement while working collaboratively with community stakeholders, parents, administrators, teachers, staff, and local agencies.

The best person for the job is sitting in our own back yard, ready and apparently willing to serve.


Breast cancer stories inspire

Great story (Completing the canvas, November 18)! TeeJay is well known and dearly loved in the breast cancer survivor community. Deep gratitude to Debbie and Kyra for being so open in sharing their deeply personal experiences.

I would add that choosing to get a tattoo is a personal decision and one that was right for these two women. There are many reasons women decide to forgo this step, with the full support of boyfriends/partners. Also the statistic cited about recurrence in the other breast may have been accurate for Kyra, but this is definitely not the case for the majority of women.

Thank you for spotlighting two amazing women and their truly gifted and talented tattooist. Breast cancer may wreak havoc on lives, but a willingness to share stories like these reduces the isolation and despair that so many women and men feel.


Executive director of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester