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Add it up

Tim Louis Macaluso quotes Rochester legislator Joseph Morelle as saying that "on the question of state aid, the argument that Buffalo receives more help than Rochester is more perception than reality" ("The Buffalo Blues," News). Furthermore, Morelle stated, "when you add in the money Rochester has received for various local projects (Midtown, Eastman Business Park etc.), Rochester's financial aid is nearly on a par with Buffalo." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Rochester community leaders have for many years complained about the lack of fairness associated with Rochester's share of state aid. They estimate the disparity to exceed $40 million annually when compared to Buffalo's. Per capita aid in Rochester has been pegged at about $419 per person while Buffalo receives $617, yet Morelle and his fellow state colleagues have done nothing to correct this imbalance.

Rather than address the inequity here, the state will pump an additional $1 billion of taxpayer money into Buffalo to further economic growth and help energize the area. You would think that our Albany representatives might push for similar treatment here, considering recent data that suggests Rochester is saddled with the third most poverty-stricken area in America together with possessing the second worst economic growth record in the country. But silence prevails.

It is obvious that Rochester is barely treading water and has many needs that should be addressed. The local state delegation must get on board, accept the shortfall, and fix the problem. Rochesterians deserve their fair share of state aid and economic development dollars. If our representatives have any clout, the goal should be to "bring home the bacon," not just accept the crumbs that are left behind.

Incidentally, the project aid that Assemblyman Morelle mentioned (Midtown, Eastman Business Park etc.), which he indicated helped Rochester level the playing field, was, for the most part, associated with funds secured through the competitive Regional Economic Development Awards. Buffalo and other regions of the state likewise participate in the state program, and Buffalo has received a like amount of dollars for initiatives there. No edge for Rochester here.


Protect the children

My heart goes out to the children fleeing the violence in their countries. They are just children, like yours and mine. The majority come from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, countries in which our government often has been involved militarily.

In 2009 a covert CIA operation helped Honduras generals overthrew a democratically elected government. Honduras is now called the murder capital of the world. In 2013 alone more than 400 children were killed there. The US has repeatedly given military aid to the brutal dictatorship in Guatemala that oppresses and kills its own people. The School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, has trained military personnel on killing and torturing their own people, resulting in the death of six Jesuit priests and tens of thousands of Salvadoran citizens.

Anti-immigration reform media want us to believe that these children come only because of economic reasons. It is true that we have harmed their economies with the free trade agreements, which destroy the livelihood of the Central American farmers. They can no longer sell their products on their own markets because the American crops are cheaper.

We have an obligation towards these children. They are very vulnerable. We have to abide by the law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, signed by Republicans and Democrats alike in 2008, requires that every minor receives a fair hearing. 


Greece prays

As a Bible-believing, born-again Christian, US citizen, and resident of Greece, I think this is wonderful ("An Atheist in the Town of Greece," News). We need more inclusion, not less. We need more viewpoints, not fewer. I'm proud to live in the Town of Greece, where the expression of diverse views is welcome.

The Supreme Court's decision was wise. There is an appropriate place for religious spiritual and moral expression in our civic life.


Thank you, Dan Courtney, for reminding us that men and women are capable of critical thinking to make moral decisions without relying on the gods to determine (let alone agree upon) what's right and wrong.


The US Senate and House start their sessions with prayer every day. The president of the United States has participated in the National Prayer Breakfast for the last 61 years. There are chaplains in every branch of the armed forces to tend to the spiritual needs of its members. Law enforcement, fire departments, and hospitals have chaplains, as do public universities.

Eighty-six percent of the people in Greece, according to the Census, are Christian. An overwhelming 65 percent are Roman Catholic. Majority rules in this country. That a small handful of shrill atheists want to ram their opinion of a Godless world down everyone else's throat doesn't mean they should be allowed to run roughshod.


While I strongly favor elimination of all this superstitious nonsense within our government, several things make the situation in Greece especially troublesome. The invocations in Greece do not convey any respect for those present who are not practicing Christians.

A town board meeting is not at all like a legislative session. Regular citizens are coming in to make their case to their town government, "to petition for redress of grievances." First thing you are confronted with is a highly sectarian prayer. You can either pretend to be one of these Christians, or you identify yourself as an outsider, not of this club. The board members all "amen" right along with almost everyone else.

No Christian I know would condone the intolerance expressed in these invocations. I can only hope that a large contingent of attendees starts walking out at every one of these invocations. C'mon, Grecians: how 'bout standing up (and walking out) for what's right!


Women and the Supremes

The Supreme Court, including the three women justices, was unanimous – in being wrong? ("Supremes Launch Attack on Women's Health Care," Urban Journal) They overturned a Massachusetts law requiring pro-life activists to stay 35 feet from reproductive health facilities, including Planned Parenthood.

"Reproductive health facilities" and Planned Parenthood: be careful what unfiltered words get by you. Your columnist wrote, "But I don't see how requiring protesters to keep a respectful distance is a serious restriction on their right to speak." What's a "respectful distance" for those without a voice, for whom this "medical procedure" is 100 percent fatal?

Let's talk about a solution, though. On the one hand, there's the "termination of a living being; life-long regret by the mother; a loving, childless person or couple. On the other hand....

Political note: When are the Dems in Albany going to pass the pending 9-point women's-rights, 1 point unborn-children's-rights bill, call it a win, and redirect that energy on education, cutting taxes, etc.?

November elections are coming.


Here is the scenario between an amorous husband and wife:

He: How about some sex tonight, dearest?

She: Oh, I'd love to dear, but my employer won't pay for my contraceptives, so I guess the answer is no.

He: That darned conservative Supreme Court! Messing with your "health" this way. Maybe I should pay for my own contraceptives and then we can do as we please.

She: Well, I suppose you could, but why should you when someone else can? Heck, with Obamacare we can have sex any time, anywhere, with anyone, any way we like, wherever we like as often as we like and my employer will pick up the tab. Is this a great country or what!

He: Well, maybe we should just forego the sex act until such time as we can save up enough money to buy our own contraceptives!

Maybe I am a little right of center on this issue, but for heaven's sake, sex is personal. Why should government be involved? Washington pols, please stay out of my bedroom; that invisible god in sky that Tom Tomorrow is so concerned with is looking!