Friday, October 12, 2007

Say No to No Tolerance

It's Day Four of the City's asset freeze caused by our lily-livered mayor's decision to kowtow to his police buddies (who are getting quite the handsome raise). Does anyone actually believe that the current police state imposed on this city will do anything long-term to curtail crime? Give me a friggin break! I know I'm not the only city resident pissed off by this decision. More police do nothing to prevent crime. You know what actually prevents crime? Jobs, hope, economic opportunity. These are the things that we need to be investing in. How about our popular Mayor go and sit down with the assholes on the COMIDA board to talk to them about how their decisions are decimating our city? How about he go and address the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and give them a piece of our collective mind? Oh wait, there's a travel freeze on city employees.

You see, the "growth" that we're experiencing locally is almost exclusively coming at the expense of those who need it most. Why do we continue to allow jobs to move out to the periphery of our urbanized area? Why do we get excited about new manufacturing facilities popping up in Avon, Canandaigua, and Ontario? You tell me how these facilities will ameliorate the situation for the chronically-impoverished in our city? Would someone please give me a realistic long-range plan for addressing our city's poverty crisis!??!!??! Sending every uniformed officer into the streets to arrest every non-conforming individual they encounter will not help. Sure, there may be a two-week lull in violent crime (although there hasn't been much of a lull at all so far), but what happens next month? What happens when these degenerates are allowed back onto our streets and back into the gangs, drugs, and guns that they were involved with before incarceration?

I can remember the late-1990s, when crime in Rochester was at decades-long lows. Why was crime so low? Because the economy was thriving. People had jobs, people had hope, people had opportunity. Where are the jobs, where is the hope, where is the opportunity? Wherever it is, it's nowhere near the homes of those who need it most. There is no other way; we must reverse these trends. As much as I hate the guy, I can admit that Giuliani did clean up New York City. The overall crime rate in Rochester is roughly equivalent to those in New York's worst 'hoods nowadays. How did he do it? Through gentrification; through leveraging his city's wealth to create opportunities in inner city neighborhoods. By reaching out to the corporate elite and encouraging them to invest in "America's City." Can we not even try to do the same here? While our current City administration is busy wasting tens of thousands of our tax dollars on police overtime, there are dozens of small businesspeople wishing they could get tax breaks. For every "criminal" arrested tonight, there is a company willing to invest in our city if we'd only engage them. Throwing money at the RPD is nothing more than spinning our collective wheels; we need real economic change, the type of change that cannot be created by the City alone. Maggie and Minarik, please look into your souls and do the right thing. Leadership isn't about getting re-elected; leadership is about doing the right thing and letting the people decide if they agree. The suburbs have a key role to play; sadly, their elected officials are too selfish to give a damn.