In his article "Taking on Crime," Krestia DeGeorge states: "It's hard to imagine a political campaign where crime is unimportant." This will be especially true this election season, since many politicians will cozy up to the nearest photo-op on September 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America. In light of this, I would like to suggest a way to honor our public safety personnel (police and firefighters), since many of them gave their lives in defense of our citizens on that terrible day.

There is a disturbing trend sweeping the country:the gutting of health insurance for police and firefighters as part of contract negotiations with local governments throughout the land. It is a disgrace to allow politicians to slash the very health insurance that these men and women will rely on after they become ill or injured from job-related activities that defend our communities. The same officials who are behind the cuts in public-safety benefits and salaries often run for office on a "pro-law enforcement" platform. That's some gratitude.

I suggest that our US senators and representatives introduce federal legislation protecting the health-insurance benefits of our law enforcement and firefighter personnel from attack during labor contract negotiations. Entitle the bill the "September 11th Heroes Health Care Protection Act" or something similar. This will leave politicians who profess to support law enforcement little wiggle room to vote against this legislation. If the Democrats draft this legislation, they will have a tremendous opportunity to steal this issue --- support of law enforcement --- from the GOP in the 2006 mid-term elections.

Michael A. Bertolone, Parklands Drive, Greece (Bertolone is executive vice president of the Monroe County Law Enforcement Association, the union representing deputies assigned to the New York State court system.)


I have sent a letter to County Executive Maggie Brooks urging her to take action to keep the art by Nancy Jurs, Wendell Castle, Richard Margolis, et al at the airport. The battle for this public art, which has already been fought, was unnecessary and humiliating to this city the first time around. It is hard to believe we are back to square one.

What wonderful gateways to Rochester Nancy Jurs' and Bill Sewart's magnificent pieces are. And surely there can be no objection to Margolis's photographic representations of Rochester landmarks? Are we to lose all these for another few yards of screaming commercials?

The 1-percent-for-art mandate was turned into an absurdity by the political agenda of the then-Conservative Party. The need to raise private funds for projects that were mandated in the airport construction costs, and selected and commissioned by due process, was humiliating and wasteful. How can Rochester pride itself --- justifiably --- for the strength and diversity of its artists and cultural institutions and act the yahoo (no exclamation point) again and again in decisions about support for these individuals and institutions?

Maggie Brooks' performance as county executive has been thoughtful, fair, and constructive. I trust she can find a solution to this issue.

Joan Lyons, Rutgers Street, Rochester


The Rochester "International" Airport is becoming an embarrassment. The security and employees are first rate and a pleasure to deal with. However, instead of adding more art to make it esthetically pleasing, the art is disappearing.

This airport was distinguished because of Wendell Castle's, Nancy Jurs', and Bill Stewart's work. What's the deal about putting cars on display? How totally bush league! The trend is toward beauty, not car dealerships.

Edith Lunt Small, Connemara Drive, Pittsford


In regards to "Selling the Saints" (Metro Ink, July 26): I am keeping my fingers crossed that someone will step up to the plate and save this jewel.

Ss. Peter and Paul Church has been a fixture on the west side of Rochester for over 150 years, first on King Street in the 1800's, then after a fire, on West Main Street. I worry that with the sale of this architectural gem by the Diocese of Rochester, we will lose another piece of our rich history on the west side. Economic development has missed many opportunities in this area of the city. Let's not waste another.

I commend the efforts of University of Rochester student Andrew Slominski to rally support for a performance-art center at this facility. This type of re-use for our historical assets will ensure that the building's beauty and history will remain intact. Cooperation by city officials and the university to make this occur would be a reason to cheer for the city's west side.

Think about all the future west-side plans that are being discussed: re-watering the canal, the FrederickDouglassResourceCenter and Museum, and Susan B Anthony's voting site memorial. Let's add a performance-art center to this list and the sky is the limit on future west-side economic development opportunities. The creation of a West End Historical District is within our reach; let's save our historical assets now!

Dawn Noto, president, Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association


Seventy years ago, I happened to be in China on a painting trip around the world. The newspapers there were full of alarming reports that because birds eat valuable seeds, they all had to be murdered, even seagulls. This was actually done.

A country without birds is silent and ominous. One result was an enormous increase of mosquitoes, flies and other insects. There were no birds to eat them.

The murder of thousands of dogs in China by beating them to death --- instead of having them protected by anti-rabies inoculations as we do --- is similar. Let's hope China learns more humane solutions to problems.

Nancy Watson Dean, Rochester


Many people have been suggesting that Mel Gibson should use some of his money to speak out against prejudice.

Here's hoping that the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations will not form partnerships with him. Gibson is a wealthy Hollywood personality who has clearly demonstrated his skill at making millions of dollars. He has also demonstrated his shortcomings as a human being. If he feels he needs therapy, that's his personal business. Money corrupts, and that means it corrupts any who would be persuaded to form alliances with the richest of the rich. One should choose one's friends and associates with care.

A huge number of people used no care or discernment at all when it came to Gibson's "Passion" film. Instead, they appeared to be blinded by the clever marketing, enthusiastically endorsing and even selling tickets on behalf of the man and his movie. This included far too many members of the clergy.

If the recent events gave those who are willing to be self-critical cause to repent, lessons might also be learned by those who have helped to fatten the Gibson bank account. This man's true nature was an open book long before he turned to plunder religion.

Martin Fass, Linden Street, Rochester


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