Keep, upgrade the apartments at Cobbs Hill
In the April 11 Feedback section, reader John Thomas characterizes the Coalition for Cobbs Hill Park as seeking to evict 60 existing residents from Cobbs Hill Village. This has never been the position from the Coalition. It is not in our printed materials, our presentations, or our words to City Council, as Mr. Thomas surely knows.
The Coalition for Cobbs Hill Village seeks to keep the current buildings. They are affordable to Rochester seniors with low and extremely low incomes. The funding source Rochester Management Inc. plans to use for new buildings on the site, Mitchell-Lama, is primarily for those with middle incomes, which will lead to significantly higher rents and further gentrification of our surrounding neighborhoods.
In the 25th Congressional District, and Rochester is where most of the district's poverty is concentrated, 81 percent of those with incomes at or below 30 percent of the annual median income pay more than half of their income in rent. In Rochester, the annual median income is $28,000. This means that eight out of ten of those with extremely low incomes have less than $14,000 a year to cover food, medicine, transportation, and the like.
The current apartments cater to this population. On the other hand, only 11 percent of those for whom the proposed units are primarily designed, those with incomes close to the AMI, pay more than half of their income in rent. The disparity in need is huge.
Rochester Management has now said, and I think the Coalition can claim some responsibility for this, that it will maintain 20 units at prices affordable to those with low and extremely low incomes. That still results in a loss of 40 units for those in greatest need.
The current units have many years' life left in them, and they should remain where they are as long as they are serviceable. Yes, they need minor improvements, and we would support plans for those improvements, but it just isn't possible to build anew for the population the current village is able to serve with the funding that Rochester Management proposes to use.
History and PhotoHistory
On our article on the April 20-22 PhotoHistory / PhotoFuture event: Rochester has hosted PhotoHistory Symposia since 1970, attracting speakers and participants from around the globe. The local Photographic Historical Society, formed in 1965 and still active, presented these events every third year to great success. When it became necessary for the Society to give up the event, RIT graciously stepped up and is taking it to a higher level, far beyond the Society's wildest dreams.
Other aid for defendants
Thank you for the article "Bail Trap; Poverty Keeps Thousands Behind Bars." One juncture in the justice system when a judge can impose bail is where a defendant is arrested on a bench warrant. This type of warrant is issued when a defendant fails to comply with a court order, such as not appearing in court on an adjourned date, missing a meeting with a parole or probation officer, or skipping appointments for drug or alcohol treatment or other rehabilitative programs, including job training.
The many crippling life consequences resulting from jail time, described well in the City article, apply equally in these circumstances. And since the defendant has been noncompliant, the likelihood of a judge imposing bail is significant.
Not infrequently, the failure to attend is simply because the justice-impacted person cannot afford transportation. A sad circumstance, given that the fare for a round trip bus ride is $2 to $3 dollars, an amount negligible to the fortunate among us, but out of reach for many indigent defendants. So, for lack of a few dollars, a lot of taxpayer money is spent to house these accused individuals in custody.
A not-for-profit organization called Ticket2Ride (affiliated with Delphi Drug and Alcohol Council) is working to reverse this. It raises money to buy bus passes to avoid unnecessary bench warrants, police at the door, jail nights, and the negative after-consequences for those imprisoned. Ticket2Ride is currently accepting requests for bus passes from agencies that provide services to individuals who are accused of a crime and have limited means.
More information about the organization is available at ticket2riderochester.com.
Morris is chief operating officer of Ticket2Ride.
Anonymous insults are cowardly
After taking a hiatus for a few months, an anonymous, nameless Twitter site is up again and is insulting, mocking, and trying to humiliate a political candidate for US Congress (who I do not support). It is called "Fake Rachel Barnhart." This kind of thing really bothers me and offends my sense of human decency, fairness, respect, and justice.
I find nothing funny about publicly mocking and insulting someone and making accusations such as that she has "an outsized ego" (as if that is some kind of rarity among political candidates) and is somehow a "prom queen." No one deserves to be treated like this.
This mocker and insulter should at least put his or her name to this rather than being anonymous and nameless. That seems cowardly. I am putting my name to this letter. Why doesn't this person do the same?
This is not how we should be treating each other in this country. Surely, we are better than this.
STEWART B. EPSTEIN