We were surprised and confused by Mayor Johnson's comments about the incoming mayor and his transition team ("Troubling Transition at City Hall?" December 14). He probably is struggling with the emotions that confront all of us as we cope with life's passages. Certainly, Mayor Johnson has given much of his life to our city and community these past 33 years, first at the Urban League and then as mayor.

But we found ourselves disagreeing with his perspective. Had Mayor Johnson been elected county executive, we do not believe he would have retained the services of the many loyal Republicans at the county for the sake of institutional memory. We believe he would have put together the team he knew would work for MonroeCounty residents under his leadership, just as Bob Duffy is doing today.

Perhaps Mayor Johnson felt uncomfortable when he took the reins at City Hall about making changes. He had been an outsider to city government, coming from the not-for-profit sector. His interactions with government were likely quite different from Mayor-elect Duffy's. Duffy brings almost 30 years of city-government experience to his current position; as a customer, a rank-and-file employee, and a department head. This gives him a unique insight into what is and isn't working for our city.

Johnson's suggestion that Duffy is beholden to members of the business community because they supported his candidacy strikes us as a bit hypocritical. The reality of any campaign is that it takes money to get your message out to the community. In his bid for county executive, the mayor encouraged a group of business leaders to raise money on his behalf. With the financial support of those business leaders, Bill Johnson and Maggie Brooks set a new record for spending on the county executive's race. We think it is fair to say that Mayor Johnson did not feel beholden to those interests because they supported him. And the suggestion that Bob Duffy will translate that support into patronage appointments for the "nearly breathing or incompetent" goes beyond the pale.

This community has much to be thankful to Bill Johnson for. He in turn owes, to the community he has loved and served, respect for the person its citizens have selected to guide us for the next four years. Some of those citizens voted for Mr. Duffy because they believed in his strength of character and trusted his judgment to make different choices than his predecessor --- even if those choices are not popular --- if it is in the best interest of moving our community forward.

Tony and Terry Correa, Rossiter Road, Rochester


At the bottom of the apparently unending flap over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is this simple truth: no one knows that they didn't exist when we went to war.

Or that they don't exist now!

As one Iraqi lieutenant has observed: "Dig anywhere in Iraq and you'll hit one of two things: oil or weapons." In the last year or so, US soldiers have chanced upon a number of Iraqi weapons caches. There are probably many more. Buried.

At 168,754 square miles, Iraq is about three times the size of the state of New York. About two-thirds of Iraq is desert sand.

Think about it. How hard would it be to bury WMDs in Iraq, even a nuke warhead, though WMDs needn't be large? How many of those 168,754 sq. miles do you think the "inspectors" inspected? And how far beneath the surface did they look?

Here's the thinking that so many seem to find reasonable: "Our inspection team poked around here and there in this unthinkably, impossibly huge haystack and, not finding a single needle, conclude that no needles exist."

The sands of Iraq could easily conceal whole arsenals of WMDs. Right now.

Peter Dzwonkoski, Westmoreland Drive, Rochester


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