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Rochester report


Rochester is in need of fundamental transformation, said Mayor Tom Richards in his State of the City address on Monday night. Refusal to acknowledge that fact or to insist that nips and tucks will do the trick is to condemn the city to failure, he said. | Richards' speech touched on public safety, education, housing and business development, municipal funding, and opportunities for minorities. | He said the city would engage neighbors by offering competitive grants for neighborhoods to work with police to develop their own ideas for fighting crime and violence near their homes. The city will also continue to work to break up gangs, Richards said. | Richards has also put money in the upcoming budget to study how best to deploy police resources. Some people in the community want the city to add police sections — Rochester once had seven, but is now down to an east-west model. A smaller downtown section will open this summer. | On education, much of what Richards said was similar to goals stated by Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, including making sure children are reading at grade level by the third grade. He also said he supports universal pre-k and longer school days — both also favored by Vargas.