Year after year, we keep recycling the same idea: we need to attract people downtown by demolishing X and constructing Y that people from the suburbs and beyond will flock to. It never seems to occur to anyone that the goal should be to attract permanent settlers rather than transient visitors.

            To this end, we need to create new habitat within our downtown area that will attract young couples, retirees, and business people. People who want to walk to work and play. Get enough people living downtown, and the shops and small businesses will invariably follow.

            Put a casino on the fast ferry, and have downtown Rochester build middle-class and upscale housing --- lots of it. The problem is that we have a chicken-and-egg situation. You need people living in an area to attract shops and services but without them, people won't move in.

            Building attractive housing, being willing to give up prime real estate to create small parks, creating new transport to link these developments --- all this takes vision and courage. It is risky. It is (I'll whisper) long term investment.

            I recall the predictions of doom when, in the 1970s, work began on the Washington DC metro. "A two-billion-dollar boondoggle," it was called when lines were extended into areas of low density. What happened, of course, was that new development followed the tracks and not the other way around. There are lessons to be learned from history.

            The naysayers always throw stones at the visionaries. Despite this, there are some good signs in Rochester. New housing is going up in the East Avenue area. There are well-established pockets of revival in Corn Hill, on Gibbs Street, in the Cascade District, and elsewhere. People are living in these places; not visiting these places. Somehow, we need to find a way to convince developers that their investment will be worthwhile. How about selling stock in a new neighborhood development project?

            David Perlman, Stoneham Drive, Rochester


I support your views against a casino for downtown Rochester. What this city needs is long-term, sustainable jobs for poorer inner-city residents, who might be the most likely users of the casino --- out of necessity.

            I am a new resident to Rochester, and I am shocked by the extent of urban blight solely in one neighborhood --- that north of Main Street, known as 14621.

            In addition, I have noticed that young black men, primarily, frequent the city's garbage dumpsters and recycling blue boxes in search of cans and bottles, for the deposit money. Teams of these men efficiently collect huge bags of these every week, using market baskets, bikes, and garbage bags. What is being done for these men, who are truly "nickel and diming" it (as Barbara Ehrenreich put it in her recent book)?

            Although Habitat for Humanity has begun a nine-house building project for the 14621 neighborhood, this is not enough. Why don't we see the kind of housing developments and urban economic assistance through jobs that we see in suburban areas? In those areas, investors have put money into beautiful housing developments by the dozens.

            Investment in this kind of housing can be put into the inner city, and men like the dumpster men could be given jobs in an expanded city recycling program. Rochester's recycling program is nothing compared to the one in the county I moved from, Wayne County, which has recycled all grades of plastic, plus paper, junk mail, and at one point, even Styrofoam (which, by the way, should be banned because it is both non-biodegradable and toxic).

            Also, I have noticed city residents throw away just about anything --- from perfectly good used furniture to computer parts. Such items could be donated to charity --- the Vietnam Veterans Thrift Store or Salvation Army, for example. Computer parts can be recycled (check the Frontier Yellow Pages) to reduce waste and landfills.

            Finally, if the city budget cannot provide these jobs and housing, local businesses and persons of wealth could provide the impetus through charitable donations or foundations. What about Wegmans, which already does some recycling? That way, not only better housing, but also decently paid jobs in an expanded city recycling program ---for which these men have already ably shown their job qualifications --- could be created.

            Isn't this the idea of "trickle down economics" or "faith-based social services"?

            Elizabeth Katz, East Avenue, Rochester


All these folks are absolutely right to defend Bush as a non-liar and Clinton as an out and out dirty, deliberate liar (The Mail, August 4, August 18). The Bush administration is far to savvy to allow their chief mascot to straight up lie when there are so many easy ways to not lie.

            Unlike Clinton, if Bush cheated on his wife he'd be smart enough to stop at the grocery store on the way home and buy himself an apple. That way, when he got home and Laura asked him where he'd been, he could say, "At the store, buying this apple." Then, like a good wife (or mainstream media outlet), she wouldn't ask him any more questions and they'd go upstairs to snuggle.

            Did George W. lie? Certainly not. But did he mislead his loyal wife? Sure. Manipulate? Absolutely. Deceive? Yup. Did he, in fact, avoid telling her the truth? Of course, he did. But none of this makes him an actual Clintonesque L-I-A-R. Nope.

            All the good folks defending the "honesty" of George W. Bush should be able to sleep soundly knowing that their fearless leader and his entourage always do their best to not lie.

            Tim Beideck, Seneca Road, Irondequoit

Maybe the Bush administration sincerely believed --- even before September 11 --- that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US. We may never know.

            I believe that it can be proven, however, that the neo-cons planned the Iraq war prior to the election of Bush, based on the following references:

            • The Project for the New American Century is a neo-conservative think tank with strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. PNAC's web site --- --- says it was established in 1997 as "a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership." Its policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," openly advocates for total global military domination.

            Many members hold highest-level positions in the GW Bush administration. The PNAC's Statement of Principles, written in 1997, was signed by Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz.

            • Another quote, from the chair of the New American Century, William Kristol, in 1999: "Republicans in the coming election will likely propose a very different kind of internationalism. In the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, they will argue that the United States can and should lead the world to a better future, one built around American principles of freedom and justice --- but only if it has the power and the will to use that power."

            Look where the use of that power got us in Iraq. We need a larger force, but Bush does not dare to call for the draft because he would lose the election. We do not hold a better position in the world as result of the declaration by President Bush on the "axis of evil" and pre-emptive war. Those in the above list planned the use of this policy in the late 90's or earlier, and are now his advisors.

            • The following words were published 10 months before George W. Bush was elected, and a year and a half before the September 11 attack. In a January-February 2000 essay published in Foreign Affairs (the journal of the globalist Council on Foreign Relations, to which she belongs), Condoleezza Rice insisted that a war to remove Saddam Hussein would be a top priority of a prospective Bush administration:

            "Nothing will change until Saddam is gone, so the United States must mobilize whatever resources it can to remove him."

            I hope that these references will help to clarify that the policies of neo-cons are now Republican policy, and they will, if continued, get us into more trouble in the world.

            Don Miller, 545 Marquart Drive, Webster


The negative ads launched by the Republican Party and its allies against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry certainly won't change the hearts and minds of independent voters, because the masses of the American people are for a better and stronger country for all.

            Senator Kerry would be a dynamic and sagacious leader if he were elected the next president. He also has begun to demonstrate that he has a positive vision for the country. For a stunning victory for Senator Kerry over President Bush, the voting masses are advised to come out and vote for a change for the better for America.

            You shouldn't be misled or intimidated by fallacies and destructive campaign ads aimed at tarnishing the good reputation of Senator Kerry. Tell the oligarchic government under Bush that it has failed to serve the interests of the American people. Therefore, it has to go.

            Most American working families are saying that the Bush tax-cut policy does not contribute to the country's economic growth, because citizens didn't benefit from it. Is Bush not a president of the wealthy class? Does he deserve a second term in office?

            To preserve the genuine political culture in America, let Bush's minority government go.

            Prince D. George, Lake Avenue, Rochester


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