Thanks for acknowledging many of my assets in your mayoral endorsement article (August 31), but after reading it, I was frankly puzzled by City's endorsement of Wade Norwood. You criticized Norwood for running a "misleading and needlessly negative campaign." You also knocked his biggest proposal --- mayoral control of schools --- as not addressing the real problem afflicting our schools and our city: concentrated poverty.
By contrast, you characterized me as "the brightest candidate," "energetic almost to a fault," and as someone who "looks for solutions...[and] comes up with creative ideas." Moreover, you noted that my campaign has focused like no other on the very problem that you claim Mr. Norwood fails to adequately address --- concentrated poverty.
The only inference you leave for the reader is that Mr. Norwood is a consensus builder and I am not. That's just not accurate. Wade has a weaker record than he would have you think, and I have a much stronger record than you give me credit for.
Just two years ago when the city school district was expecting an additional $20 million from the state, there was indeed a consensus in support of Rochester's getting the funds, (it included the mayor, myself, and most of the state delegation), but David Gantt failed us and Wade Norwood sat silent. In this current race, consider the dynamics of the campaign itself, as illustrated by City's own analysis of the "insider" aspects of party politics ("Power Play," August 24). Clearly, the Democratic Party at present is in anything but a state of consensus. Indeed that division has been fueled by Wade's candidacy. As I've said repeatedly, regarding this internal party battle, I am the anti-war candidate.
I have an extensive track record as a political consensus-builder. It has been my leadership and negotiation that brought us the Responsible Bidder Ordinance, a ban on tobacco billboards, the city's first AIDS Policy, a compromise that got the Living Wage Ordinance passed, Domestic Partnership benefits and registry, neighborhood connections to build up the Genesee River Trail, a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance, and this area's first ever tax relief fund --- and that's just a sampling. The millions I've saved tax payers required securing support from my City Council colleagues and from the mayor. I can point to similar successes at my school, and I have strong healthy relationships with all members of our state delegation.
While I have successfully developed consensus, it is also true that I can be independent. I am not a "go along to get along" sort of politician. Yet I believe independence should be a valued asset for an executive position, like mayor. Your observation is correct, I am indeed the candidate of energy and ideas. With the support of voters on September 13 and again on November 8, I will have the opportunity to put them into action for the people of our great city.
Tim O. Mains, Rochester (Mains is a candidate for Rochester mayor.)
It saddens me to think that the passion I have for this community and for our children would be termed as hostility (Endorsements, August 31). Certainly, City has the right to endorse whoever they believe are the best candidates. However, I see young people on the streets of Rochester everyday who have given up seemingly without hope. They are having children much earlier than they should. They are on the street corners selling drugs and engaged in violent behavior. Most of those young people did not finish school. In the African-American community our forefathers stressed that equality comes with an education. In fact, they told us we that have to be twice as good just to be considered equal. A lack of education will ensure inequality for so many young African-American girls and boys.
I am "concerned" because as the school district currently operates, it does not work for the majority of our students. It is embarrassing that we have such poor graduation and suspension rates. It is embarrassing that the bureaucracy of the district makes it virtually impossible to succeed.
All of us should be concerned, because what affects one of us, affects all of us. If I am "hostile," I'm hostile for the taxpayer; if I am hostile, I am hostile for the children; if I am hostile, I'm hostile for the families; if I am hostile, I am hostile for our community. City Newspaper terms it hostility; I term it "passion."
I believe with all my heart that we can make our school system effective. It depends on the people that you choose for the School Board. I am one of those people who can make it work. There are models of success available that can work for our school system. I have effectively implemented those models.
I am proud to say that Rochester has been very good to me. I want Rochester to be just as good or better for the next generation as it has been for me.
Cynthia Elliott, Rochester(Elliott is a candidate for the Rochester School Board.)
In some of Bob Duffy's TV ads, many of his supporters are grieving families of murder victims, community activists, and PAC-TAC'ers who are supporting him because of his great compassion. While these are wonderful qualities in any public official, they do not afford the skills, knowledge, and qualifications necessary to be an effective mayor.
Bob Duffy is a great guy who works well with the public, but he does not exhibit the necessary background to do the job. His experience is largely limited to law enforcement, with no experience in any other area of government administration. His stated plan for solving Rochester's problems is to call together numerous commissions, which suggests that he does not have solid ideas himself.
Even in his major area of expertise, he lacks effectiveness. Recent annual crime statistics bear this out. And the Police Locust Club endorsement of his leading Democratic opponent, Wade Norwood, shows a lack of esteem from his former employees and a lack of leadership.
What the city needs is not commissions, personal charisma, and compassion alone. What the city needs is action. Wade Norwood has the skills, knowledge, qualifications, and most of all the leadership necessary to be an effective mayor. And unlike all the other candidates running, Wade has the connections with Albany and Washington to correct the shortfall of state and federal dollars that Rochester so desperately needs.
Louis T. Amico, Bardin Street, Rochester
I am terribly disappointed in City's viewpoint on local politics, especially the mayoral race. City must feel itself an established entity no longer needing to follow its "alternative" calling. When you dismissed Chris Maj's political presence with the language of the establishment, I pretty much knew the paper was politically dead.
The phrase "doesn't have the knowledge and experience" is the language of the "collusive elite." It is the mentality of those in power and those who have a stake in the status quo, i.e., the political "in" crowd. This is the Viva Zapata story all over again.
I am sorry to see the "alternative" neon sign flicker out in our one-store town.
Terry Monroe, Park Avenue, Rochester
As a resident of the 21st District, I believe Carrie Andrews should have been your clear endorsement choice for CountyLegislature, 21st District.
Her superior "breadth and depth" and policy knowledge (both of which were acknowledged by City) and her refreshing perspectives on county-government accountability make her the best choice for the position. Her tremendous work ethic, great ideas, and ability to relate to voters have made Andrews --- an outsider in the local Democratic scene --- the frontrunner, both in terms of exposure and fundraising support from literally hundreds of individual donors.
I believe the 21st District deserves a CountyLegislator with Carrie Andrews' qualifications.
Katie Castern, Melville Street, Rochester
Regarding your endorsement of Travis Heider for CountyLegislature in the 14th Legislative District: A reason you cite for selecting him --- "political experience" --- is exactly the reason I have for not choosing him. Specifically, his key role in Mayor Johnson's pitiful run for CountyExecutive and his association with Richard Dollinger. And aren't those in power now, those with "political experience," the people who have led us into the financial mess the county now faces?
Mr. Heider appears to be just another political insider that Democratic Party leaders decided has paid his dues. Therefore, he is their "designated candidate." Key word: "their."
Mr. Heider has been challenged by two other Democrats, Mary Ellen Blanchard and Nelson Lopatin. My choice is Nelson Lopatin. At a time when so many new faces will be in the legislature, his 35 years of business experience will be invaluable, and his determination to do the right thing will not be hampered by having to answer to party bosses or special-interest groups.
With all 29 CountyLegislature seats on the ballot, this is a unique opportunity to create real change. Nelson Lopatin has the experience and the work ethic to make those changes. He has the courage to do what's best, not for himself, but for the community.
Tony Glassman, Highland Avenue, Brighton