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Palazzo Plaza's a bad deal
So the Daniele family wants to build a new plaza on one of the busiest roads and intersections — Monroe Avenue at Route 490 — in Monroe County (News, July 29).
In return for approval from the Brighton Town Board, they promise to upgrade the walking path behind the new plaza and add some bicycle racks. WOW, really? What a tradeoff. I bet if the Town Board held out, it could get a few portable toilets, too.
I don't even live in Brighton and I can see that this plaza is going to be a bad idea.
Someone must be responsible for property
I recently called a regional bank about an abandoned house on Gregory Street. The friendly rep gave me the phone number for NYS Office of Unclaimed Funds, and I left a message.
This property has been vacant since December 2014 and, in my opinion, should have been boarded up.
The bank that now has responsibility for it sent a work crew a few weeks ago. They removed an entire truckload of vines off the house, and put a tarp over the roof, which was in bad shape 20 years ago.
When I asked if they were going to board up the windows, they said no, but they sealed the doors.
A few days later, we saw wood strips with nails, like the ones holding down the tarp on the roof, between my neighbor's house and the abandoned house. The back door was open. I called the NSC about the back door, and the man said that the city would send someone to close it up.
The blame game does nothing to solve the problem. The combination of a landlord not maintaining a property, having a mortgage from a bank that did not do its homework, and having had tenants who did not keep it clean is an all-around lose-lose for the neighbors and the city. Who is accountable now for this property?
Don't get too excited about photonics
The Urban Journal piece, "Seligman's Very Big Plan for the Very Big Deal" (August 5) is an interesting read. My favorite part is when you write, "No one knows yet how many jobs the institute will create, and the jobs won't all be located here. We'll be the headquarters, the hub of the research and development, but the manufacturing itself, the jobs that grow out of the institute, could be anywhere."
Therein is the rub. While the UR is the 800-pound gorilla in this area due to its being the largest employer, it is not the source of the funding. That brings us to the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
I encourage you and your interested readers to research the Center for Optics Manufacturing — spoiler alert: opened in 1990 and closed in 2003 — at the UR, and the Infotonics Technology Center in Canandaigua to see how these large efforts typically work out. The main difference this time? More money is being handed out to more people in a larger area.
Western New York will be expected to take what money is given, do with it what they are told, and kiss the rings of the people writing the checks. It is a large pile that will have a lot of flies buzzing around it, so we will see how it turns out.
I imagine that you may have deduced that I am not optimistic about the outcome in general.
Low participation by area voters is shameful
Back in the day, 66 percent was a failing grade. Today, 67 percent of Rochester residents are registered to vote. Praise to the 23 percent of those registered voters who participated in the historic election of our first female mayor.
Such a noble but unrepresentative voter turnout makes us wonder how our mayor or any elected official can move forward with an informed sense of community investment.
This November, four commissioners will be elected to the city school board that sets standards that affect each of us. While all seven seats of this lamentable board ought to be up for new perspectives, the four successful candidates will carry on an old Rochester tradition of accepting their elections by a failing voter turnout of a failing voter registration.
How can a city survive such disregard for itself?
If only we had a school board that taught and modeled the win-win correlation between civic participation and academic achievement. If only this new board majority stepped up to teach this city a most precious lesson of democracy and declined to accept their election until a more proper election could be held.
How about an election with a percentage of voter turnout that at the very least reaches the student graduation rates of their board predecessors?
Sadly, even that would still be an unrepresentative failing grade hovering around 50 percent.
What would a proper election look like and, since we can't depend on the city school board, who will teach us?
PETER KEENAN JR.
Say no to expanding the convention center
When one of the best arguments you can make for spending $100 million to expand the convention center (News, August 12) is that it would enable the Rochester International Auto Show to expand, you essentially have no argument.
There is not one shred of evidence that dumping $100 million on the convention center is going to have any payback whatsoever.