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Policing the city
In "Paging Officer Friendly," our current mayor challenged anyone who presents an alternative to what the police department is doing right now to "be specific about what they mean and how they're going to pay for it." I'll take that challenge.
When I discuss Community Policing, the most important part is getting the officers on the street. After all, the best deterrent to crime is a police officer. In Rochester there are 507 officers in the patrol division, of whom roughly 300 work each day. Unfortunately, over time many of these have been assigned to non patrol duties like crossing guards downtown, watching cameras, desk positions, neighborhood service centers, and many more. As a result, many of the officers are not patrolling. Even the patrol officers are frequently driving to or from the station downtown, further diluting the coverage.
It does not have to be this way. If all 300 officers were on patrol each day, there could be two officers in each square mile of the city every hour of the day, with roughly 25 additional officers every shift to provide support, supervision, or transport or to respond to calls for back-up. This would allow officers to crack down on open air drug markets, keep track of vacant houses, deal with noise, ticket illegally parked cars, and help the residents keep an eye on their community.
Perhaps we could even find ways to get some of the non-patrol officers on the street. After all, many of these officers are doing clerical or technical jobs, which could be done by people without all the extra training that police receive. Best of all, a small reduction in staff would cover the cost of the non-officer personal so this would not cost more money.
So you see, not everyone is calling for more police while, once again, reducing other services. This is just one of the many improvements that would improve policing in our city. I look forward to discussing this and other solutions like restorative policing, a strong civilian review board, and recreation as crime prevention at community forums this election season.
White is the Green Party candidate for Rochester mayor.
University Ave plan's a plus
As a longtime homeowner in the East Avenue Preservation District, I am keenly aware of what a unique neighborhood this is and how important it is that development be carefully planned. There are a number of examples on East Avenue where historic houses were demolished in the 1950's and 1960's, before there was a Preservation District, and replaced with non-descript apartments without regard to how they fit into the streetscape. So when I first heard about a proposed apartment project to replace the Monroe Voiture building on University Avenue, I read and studied everything I could about it.
The result is that I am completely in favor of this development. The proposed drawings show a building that would blend in well with the neighborhood. It would address a serious housing shortage in this part of the city. It would add a major property to the tax base. It would relieve the Monroe Voiture members of a burdensome financial responsibility while providing them with a permanent clubhouse.
Finally, the addition of 100-plus new residents would only add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood. I see this as mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
ED CAIN, ROCHESTER
Second class, thanks to DOMA
With most marriages comes the security and comfort knowing that your physical and emotional wellbeing are protected and cared for. However, on a recent work related trip to Washington D.C., I came to the realization that is not the case for same-sex couples. I was legally married in New York, but once I crossed the Pennsylvania border, I vaulted into second-class citizenship. I was somewhat relieved to know when I entered Maryland and the District of Columbia that most of my civil rights were once again restored.
This is a type of psychological bullying that no right-minded American should experience. Today, with the Defense of Marriage Act wreaking havoc on American families everywhere, the federal government continues to impose its discriminatory nature on me and my loved ones. God forbid one of us gets sick or has an accident on the road – my wife Anne of 6 years (together 20) would be treated as a complete stranger.
I'm forced into a legal lie by having to file our federal taxes as single even though I file as married in New York State. DOMA must be overturned now. The hoops we go through as a family are unacceptable and should not be tolerated by anyone who believes in equal protection under the law.
BESS WATTS, GATES
One and a half million Armenians were killed after they were legislated by their government to register and then give up their guns. Ten million Ukrainians were forced to starve to death after they gave up their guns.
Twelve million Germans were worked to death or killed outright years after first registering and then surrendering their firearms. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge confiscated all guns. Within years 2 million were killed, worked, or starved to death.
What happened at Sandy Hook is truly a tragedy. But are we willing to risk the lives of millions in the hopes of saving hundreds?
KENYATTA DACOSTA, ROCHESTER