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Parcel 5 potential
A plea to our Rochester city officials: please consider Parcel 5 at Midtown as a viable green space and entertainment venue. The site is perfect: easy access for food trucks, near parking and the transit center, decent amount of space for relaxing, walking, lunching, kiosks, tents, stages. Just lay down some sod, and add some foliage, tables and chairs or more stone benches, and we have the makings of Bryant Park West.
As I was enjoying the Friday evening Fringe entertainment, I looked around and saw all of the potential daily Parcel 5 visitors plus the opportunity for festival/entertainment events. Mayor Warren: Plant It and It Will Grow.
Title X deserves support
Since the 1970's, the National Family Planning Program, also known as Title X, has protected millions of low income and uninsured Americans. Title X is the only government grant dedicated completely to funding family planning and reproductive health services.
Title X has provided five million individuals with contraceptive care, STI screenings including HIV testing, and cervical cancer screenings. These Title X-funded centers are there for those most in need. Ninety-one percent of patients served by Title X earn incomes at or below poverty level and 51 percent of patients are in their 20's.
Not only does Title X benefit communities in need, but it benefits taxpayers, too. In 2008, public money spent on contraceptives saved the taxpayer an average of $3.74 that would have otherwise been spent on Medicaid expenses related to pregnancy, delivery, and infant health care. This number does not even include the money saved from the preventative treatment of sexually transmitted infections and cancers. Not to mention the fact that absolutely zero dollars of Title X funding go toward abortion services.
Funding reproductive health care and family planning services is at the very core of good government. By enabling women to be in control of the timing of their pregnancies, allowing them to prepare for their pregnancies, and in effect be in control of their lives, Title X is one of the most important federal grant programs to our society as a whole.
The Obama administration has taken a stand to make sure that anti-choice lawmakers cannot divert Title X funds away from Planned Parenthood. As a woman and as a young person, I fully stand behind the Obama administration's proposed rule to protect Title X, and if you believe in equality on a fundamental level, so should you.
Media demonizes Israel
Doug Noble's comment about Israel's "illegal occupation and annexation of Palestine" (Feedback, September 14) should not pass unchallenged. This is a false contention; there is no such "illegal occupation and annexation."
Anyone with a basic knowledge of history knows that there has never existed a nation called Palestine. "Palestine" is the name given to the nation of Judea — the land of the Jews — by Roman armies after they expelled most of the indigenous Jewish population.
There is no illegal occupation, per international law. In a defensive war, Israel captured the Judea and Samaria area from Jordan, its illegal possessor. These settlements are not illegal, but contested. In addition, Jews purchased land from its former owners; they built their kibbutzim, their Jewish towns, and also settled in towns that exhibited Arab majority.
What I would ask the presidential candidates is what they are doing to combat the global epidemic of hatred and violence against Jewish people: the increasingly violent BDS movement, the acts of terrorism directed against Jews and Israelis, and what they plan to do to support Israel. Several presidential administrations have promised such support and have ended up interfering in Israeli elections and compromising its security.
If the US cuts off sales of weapons to Israel, as Mr. Noble wants us to do, then Israel will find another way to defend herself.
This is a tiny bit off the topic, but I should like to remind CITY's readers that Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East, the only nation in which the US flag has not been publicly burned, the only nation that has a permanent memorial to the victims of 9/11 and an annual memorial service to them.
I, and I am not alone in this, am tired of the relentless media campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel. Syracuse University recently capitulated to threats of violence from BDS-ers and canceled a planned presentation by an Israeli academic; a real victory for freedom of speech, eh? I invite others to join me in striving for accuracy and fairness in media coverage of Israel, and combating the destructive influence of BDS at www.roc4israel.org.
Readers respond to a guest essay by Roger Brown of the Community Design Center on how to transform Rochester (September 21).
Wow, this isn't even close to addressing the problems. The problems with the city are education and poverty. You can fix up the river, which already has some nice parts near UR, and you can build more housing downtown and a hotel for the Museum of Play, but that doesn't help anyone living in a slum. All that does is create even more separation for the rich and well off from the typical Rochester person.
Also, the transit issues aren't as bad as people think. The new bus station is a beauty, if not kind of pointless without seating. They need to make the city's bus line schedules clearer, but they already have late-night service and weekend and holiday service, which is more than even Boston can claim. Yet very little has been done to address biking issues in the city.
If you don't help with education, people remain poor, poor people will sell drugs, drugs equal crime. You can throw some paint on the river and add useless streetcars to make the city look pretty, but it will just be an illusion.
I'd like to build on the points made in the essay and suggest that the goals of an enhanced river corridor and better public transportation are closely linked. "Active transportation" encompasses people walking, riding bicycles, and using public transportation as an integral part of how they get around.
The Genesee River Trail is the crown jewel of our river today, and if extended through downtown, could be the heart of a world-class active transportation corridor. This corridor would be a great asset to residential, commercial, and recreational development on our river.
Integrating this corridor with enhanced public transportation, ride sharing, car sharing, bike sharing, cycle tracks, bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, and most importantly, well-maintained (and clear of snow) sidewalks will help make Rochester a great place for people of all incomes and ages to live, work, and play.
I always visualized trams running over the river gorge up to Charlotte from downtown. It would give people a chance to see the falls and would be a rare nature river-gorge cutting through the city.
The reality is that the Rochester metro area will not ever become an attractive city with its extremely high property tax burden.
If we dropped the current, nearly 3 percent property tax down to about 2 percent, the city metro area would literally skyrocket in popularity. We already have amazing stuff to offer; people know it's here, but they don't want to pay the property tax, so they go elsewhere to live. That's the sad truth.
CHARLIE EDWARD SHOEMAKER
If Rochester improves transportation within the city, transportation to and from the airport, and puts one hostel in the South Wedge and one hostel downtown, it will be TRAVELING HIPSTER PARADISE.