In response to "Do Something" (October 5): I am the director of the Women's Coffee Connection, a social-purpose enterprise that serves as a retail on-the-job training center for women who need employment skills in order to move from welfare to work.
As an out-of-the-box non-profit agency, I always hit a dead end when it comes to government funding. Even though we provide a service that is needed and has well-documented outcomes, the system does not see us as part of the equation to reduce poverty.
We believe that women need a hand up, not a handout, but the system has not changed for years. The Department of Human and Health Services is still operating at an all or-nothing-at-all level. Women who come from generational poverty need a step program that provides work training, life-skills training, and assistance as they gain entry-level, $7.50-an-hour employment.
Some would say that providing recipients with food stamps, subsidized day care, and rent is sufficient, but it is not. I challenge those who think this way to live on $7.50 an hour plus the previously mentioned subsidies. What about utilities, clothing, phone, school supplies, toiletries, personal items, school events, and time off work for personal or children's illnesses?
I have experienced life in a third-world country and know what John Klofas is referring to when he describes the effects of social isolation. The wealthy communities there have increasingly walled themselves in, using more and more security to protect themselves from the violence and kidnapping. Is this our future? More walls, more separation, and more police? That's a spiral in the wrong direction.
I agree that we need to take an innovative approach to solving the problem, one that includes job training, life skills, job creation, and housing. Meanwhile, I will continue to do what appears to work.
Nancy Sawyer-Molina, South Avenue, Rochester
STOPPING THE VIOLENCE
So we have another under-18 victim of a senseless crime, the sixth or seventh for the year (who is counting?), all apparently, African-American.
We may be on our way to setting a record for murders this year, and we have the highest murder rate in the state. But we have a Democratic Party candidate, Bob Duffy ---police chief until a few months ago --- who claims to have made the city safer. It's enough to make one split at the seams in laughter if it weren't so tragic.
Disgusting, that's what it is.
But almost as disgusting is the coverage of these crimes by our local press. The Democrat and Chronicle is full of the usual politically-correct drivel about how popular the victims were. And from City, we'll hear all about the "poverty" that is the root cause of these ills, won't we?
Oh, there's poverty all right, but it's not material poverty. I am a second-generation Italian-American whose family came from a dirt-poor village in the south of Italy. Many African-Americans came from a South that allowed them only to sharecrop or do domestic work. And yet I am convinced that neither among the peasants of Southern Italy or the "coloreds" of the segregated South was there the moral poverty rampant in our inner city.
It's time to stop this garbage, folks! The African-American community is suffering from a colossal failure of parenting and an abysmal lack of life-giving moral values. There was a time when their role models were Jackie Robinson or George Washington Carver. Now, they are more likely to be Latrell Sprewell or P. Diddy, with the likes of the "reverends" Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton encouraging a dependency culture that has become a cottage industry. I lay this at the feet of the welfare state.
The sooner African-Americans come to grips with these dreadful facts, the sooner they start doing something about it, the sooner they can start correcting the problem. No government program, no hand-outs, no Hillary Clinton and her "village," is going to do it for them.
Italo G. Savella, Fernwood Park, Rochester
Voters on the city's southeast side and in parts of Brighton have a unique opportunity to elect someone whose resume bespeaks a candidate who should be running for County Executive rather than for one member of a bloated County Legislature.
Unlike most candidates for elected office, Paul Haney is firmly grounded in local politics and has historical memory reaching back to the 1950's. He is a native Rochesterian with deep roots in the Tenth Ward and is a product of its neighborhood schools.
As a City Council member from 1974 to 1985, he served as financial committee chairman, working to improve the city's financial position by reducing debt. Chief financial officer of the Rochester Health Network, Monroe County finance director, and currently a consultant for the health-care industry: CPA Paul Haney is uniquely qualified to shed light on the legislative process.
Ivan Lennon, Beresford Road, Rochester
WRITING TO CITY
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