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Metro ink - 1.18.06

Take a Chance


SWF seeks midsized city with high hopes and little logic for a short-term and very expensive rebound relationship. You are a hopeless romantic and very optimistic; you like to take risks and aren’t afraid to lavish money on me. It’s OK if you’re boring, as long as your neighbors aren’t. I’m an Australian cutie, a 284-foot, 1400-ton lady of the sea. I’m high maintenance, I carry a lot of baggage, and I’m not afraid to break down. I’m spontaneous and a little fickle. I travel a lot. Fired from my last job and a little in debt --- looking to relocate. If you’re waiting for your ship to come in, call me.

School Board fill-up

The Rochester School Board may act as early as this week to fill the vacancy left by Darryl Porter's move to City Hall. By last Friday, the deadline for submitting applications, at least nine people had expressed interest in being appointed to the seat.

Among them: long-time board member Rob Brown, who retired from the board when his term ended in December. Brown did not seek re-election last fall.

The new board member will serve through December and will have to run for a full term in a special election in November. Ink wasn't able to reach Brown early this week, but board president Domingo Garcia says Brown indicated that he was interested in serving only through the end of the year.

Among others who sent in letters of interest: Penfield teacher Jeff Henley, who narrowly lost the Democratic nomination in the September primary, and community activist and frequent district critic Howard Eagle, who is also a teacher in the district.

The board's next meeting is January 19, and Garcia has called a special session an hour earlier to review the applicants. The successful candidate will need votes from four of the seven board members. If no one gets the four votes and the vacancy goes beyond 30 days --- which will be February 2 --- Garcia can make the appointment himself, says district counsel Michael Looby.

In filling the vacancy, the board could face a touchy issue: race. Some of the candidates, including Brown and Henley, are white. Others, including Eagle, are African American. A political action group called Rochester's Citizens for Real Education --- which is supporting Eagle --- says the seat should be filled by an African American because Porter is African American. Rochelle Coley, a spokesperson for the group, says the board set a precedent when it appointed Garcia to succeed another Hispanic. And when Joanne Guiffrida left to join the district's administrative staff, the seat was filled by another white female, Willa Powell, notes Coley.

Eagle says if he isn't appointed to the board now, he'll run for the seat in the November special election. But Eagle's first problem may be his employment with the district. He insists that it isn't a conflict of interest, but Looby says the state law is clear on the subject.

"The general rule is you can't have two offices of employment in the same organization," says Looby. "You can't be your boss and your employer at the same time." Eagle can seek the School Board seat, he says, but if he gets it, he'll have to resign from his teaching post with the district.

CofU hearings on hold

Mayor Bob Duffy announced last week that he'll evaluate a controversial licensing program for small businesses. Simultaneously, officials suspended hearings of business owners who have refused to pay the $100 licensing fee. The fee is part of the city's Certificate of Use program, which also requires business owners to submit to background checks and inspections.

Neighborhood Empowerment Team Director Molly Clifford says that hearings were required of people who had failed to comply with the CofU requirements. Business owners who refused to pay the licensing fee have been incurring fines --- the largest, so far, now at $2,850, says Clifford. It's premature, she says, to comment on whether fines will be reduced or waived.

Clifford says the hearings suspension doesn't foreshadow the CofU's demise. The challenge, she says, is to create a more equitable policy. More immediately, Clifford says, she and her staff have to determine how to appease irate business owners without rewarding them for noncompliance.

Movin' in

They've moved into City Hall. Now they face another move. Top city officials are required to live in the city, and that rule affects at least three people in the Duffy administration: Deputy Mayor Patty Malgieri, Neighborhood Empowerment Team Director Molly Clifford, and Environmental Services Commissioner Paul Holahan. All must move in by July 1.

Malgieri, whose home of 18 years is just one street outside the city, isn't complaining. "We're actually very excited about it. We don't have any restrictions, because it's just my husband and me," says Malgieri, whose two children are in college. She and her husband, attorney Patrick Malgieri, have decided to "look at every neighborhood," she says.

Holahan, who was in the process of selling before his appointment, has already found a buyer for his Greece home.

Meshing with metal

Since September, Montage Grille owner Tim Miller has shared ownership of his downtown club with metal musicians Jack and Brock Thrasher. And the combination has breathed new life into the joint.

Now operating under the name Montage Live and MontageMusic Hall, the club features national and local metal and hard-rock acts on weekends. This has added to the club's already eclectic line up of roots rock, jazz, blues, funk, rock 'n' roll. So you've got folks like singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III one night and heavy-hitting hardcore like Inherence the next. The audiences may not overlap, but Miller says the addition of metal to the mix has been great for business.