Weekly Rochester Events #329: Is That Bacon Burning?
Thursday, April 28, 2005Let me get this out of the way first: this Saturday is the last Saturday of the month, so we'll be at Patrik's Culinary Kreations (847 S. Goodman St., formerly You Dirty Dog pet grooming) for lunch that day. I stopped by a few weeks ago and had a great chicken Caesar wrap: and I'm no fan of wraps. Definitely worth checking out.
Last Thursday I went to the Mayoral Forum at Hoyt Auditorium in The University of Rochester (Elmwood Ave. at Intercampus Dr., details on River Campus Map) to see candidates Robert Duffy, Tim Mains, Wade Norwood, and John Parinello have a debate/discussion with moderator Curt Smith. The discussion began with opening statements, then Mr. Smith began a round-robin questioning which — while it made it more difficult to compare candidates on any one topic — it allowed more topics to be covered and avoided the advantage one would have if they had a few minutes to ponder the question while their opponent was "on the spot." A lot of ground was covered in the two hours ... I guess I'll restructure my notes by candidate — alphabetically, following suit with Mr. Smith, and see how things shake out.
Robert Duffy opened by saying that he'd focus on the economy, education, safety, and retaining college graduates. I thought Duffy made some good points that were innovative and intelligent. About the fast ferry, he felt that it's here and we should make it succeed: the city should solicit support from the region in exchange for the benefits the entire region will receive from its presence. Concerning violent crimes, he noted that kids in gangs were willing to take real jobs over selling drugs since the drug problem is fueled by economic issues, not addiction. On the other hand, in response to a question from the audience about lowering business taxes, Duffy said the cost of doing business is too high, so we should get more money from Albany — an overly simple response because that would simply mean that state business taxes would go up to compensate.
Tim Mains opened by highlighting his goals to rebuild downtown, fix the schools, and reduce poverty. Commenting on the way other states entice businesses by spending money on good marketing, he felt we should copy that model and spend money to get businesses. About the The University of Rochester and its success in creating private enterprises, Mains said the city should keep the pathway to creating private businesses open and easy. On the other hand, he responded to the point about how New York is spending more money per student but getting less than in other states by summarizing that everything costs more here.
Wade Norwood opened by talking about how the city is in the midst of national economic change and we can't be among the "have-nots." While somewhat idealistically vague, his solution to stopping businesses from leaving involves building a knowledge-based economy, exploiting our cultural and social assets, and keeping in mind that our situation is the same as all of Upstate. In response to a question from the audience about how City Hall is not responsive to citizens, Norwood said he wanted to "shake up City Hall" by aligning departments' missions, make citizens valuable, and keep open dialog with state government. I thought he fumbled a bit answering a question about what he thought Rochester's marketed image should be by responding that we are a community of educated people to make the world a better place — a blandly obvious answer that casts a shadow of uneducated destroyers of society in all other lands.
John Parinello opened by noting that in 1972, he sponsored elected mayorship. He said that all the problems in the city today are the Democeats fault since they are in power, and that he'd work for a casino, better transportation, and revitalization. Parinello's brash style was significantly different from the other candidates, so I'll need to divine the good ideas from what I feel are typically poor implementations of those ideas. For instance, he feels bullying in primary schools is caused by a socioeconomic prejudices made apparent by the quality of clothing students wear; his solution is to have school uniforms — and to subsidize the purchase and cleaning of the uniforms for the poor. This is flawed on a number of levels, the first of which being that socioeconomic prejudice is only one of many factors in bullying, so fixing that won't stop bullying; the second being that we're in a budget crunch — especially in our schools — so spending significant money does not seem like a wise solution to me. He also feels we need a casino in Midtown, retail space in the old Sibley's building, and the Renaissance Square project — I find the conversion of Sibley's to retail a good idea and the casino and Renaissance Square projects terrible; but what's this got to do with being mayor anyway? It sounds more like a business plan. Finally, in what I'd qualify as a wholly negative trait, Parinello plays the "candidate for everyone" by playing both sides on a number of issues: he feels the fast ferry is a terrible project doomed to failure yet also says he supports it; and he says he fights to keep the Constitution alive, yet wants a "hit squad" with the ability to kick down the doors of "known" drug houses — is that with or without a court-approved warrant?
Back in February at a discussion at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) I had a chance to ask Dr. Ruth Scott about how decisions about projects like Renaissance Square are being decided mostly by wealthy, white, male business owners, so what can we do to ensure our entire community is represented? She suggested that I should ask this of our new mayoral candidates every opportunity I get ... and this was such an an opportunity. By the design of the Q-and-A, I had to pick a candidate, so I asked Robert Duffy who didn't really answer the question directly, but talked a bit about getting more people involved. John Parinello piped up and said Renaissance Square is private: a campus for MCC, a venue for entertainment, and a hub for transportation, but I didn't argue that, first of all, it affects the entire community and should be open for discussion, and second, that it's being partly funded with tax money which is public.
One guy from the audience said that as a homeowner and a family man, he was trying to decide who he'll vote for. He said that like in a company, upper management shouldn't be unionized, adding that the two councilmembers (Mains and Norwood) have not demonstrated the ability to carry out their plans. The money available to fund the things being discussed is drying up, and nobody seems to be thinking globally and acting accordingly.
None of the candidates answered his charge to drop the politics and speak about who they are and what they stand for.
On Friday, in honor of Earth Day, I went around the house hunting for "power vampires:" devices that use power even when off. I put most of the video equipment in my entertainment center that I don't use too often (DVD, VCR, video repeater, etc.) onto a separate power strip saving about 30 watts, set up the laser printer similarly (by default I'd just leave it on since it's "Energy Star") saving another 20 watts or so, and added remote computer control to the backup webcam I don't use very often (12 watts) and to battery chargers (10 watts, but now I just let them run an hour a day to keep the batteries topped off.) All told, that makes about 72 watts I turned off, or about 52 kilowatt hours a month. Cheers to me for saving the power ... jeers for having wasted it all this time ... not to mention all the other waste and "waste" (depending on if you're me or somebody else.)
That night I finally got back to Dicky's Restaurant (791 Meigs St.) for a cheeseburger and it's indeed quite good. Maybe not the best burger ever, but getting close to that "exceptional" range ... somewhere about as good-or-better than MacGregor's (381 Gregory St.) Later on I stopped by Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) and they had new art going up. It's all quite good ... I particularly liked Jay Lincoln's portrait of Charles Bukowski and some of Andrew Fisher's surreal nightmares.
I stopped by Daily Perks (389 Gregory St.) afterward and got to see Dr. Hilda Chacón perform Bossa Nova in Portuguese. Everything was really top notch ... I thought "Garota de Ipanema" ("The Girl From Ipanema") was even more sultry in Portuguese (then again, maybe its common English rendition is just sanitized.) The call-response between the sax and percussion in "I'll Remember April" made me laugh for some reason ... sometimes music does that. I also thought "Samba Numa Nota So" ("One Note Samba") was pretty funny in a more deliberate way even without the translation ... you get the idea pretty quick. I liked "É" (literally, "It Is," but "Yeah!" probably represents the spirit of the song better) was really catchy with its appealing pop sound: it's a bit of a patriotic song about the people of Brazil (if I remember right.)
On Monday I got to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see the latest Emerging Filmmakers Program. Delivery by Patrick Smith was a slow paced but slick animated commentary on materialism. I thought that Endless Winter by Aaron Weiss and Bryan VanCampen was kinda weak but fairly funny movie about snow shovelling. I really liked American Dreams #3: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Moira Tierney as an excellent meditation on 9/11. The pleasant-surprise-of-the-night was The Sleep Seeker by Jayne Morgan and Staci Swedeen which was a haunting twist on the Telltale Heart: it was well paced and the editing for the jarring scene transitions was brilliant and seamless. Parallel Worlds by Dave Puls, was a nice use of Dave's animation skills for a political end ... it documents his time working in the local psychiatric ward and how the abuses there reflected those in Abu Ghriab in Iraq.
I talked a bit with Dave afterward about my theories on people, actions, and good-and-bad. Basically, we can only judge actions to be good or bad, but even at that, the judgement can change based on circumstances or point-of-view. We can't judge things: there's no such thing as a good knife or a bad rope — morally, at least. Further, we can't judge people: it seems convenient to be able to add up the morality of someone's actions and claim that total is the morality of a person, but people can grow and they change. By assigning a total, it makes the transition to from bad-to-good insurmountable for any incremental step in one's present is miniscule compared to the sum of the past.
Anyway, to wrap things up, on Tuesday I made it out to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) to see the bands there. I liked them all. The Grievants played good high-energy punk-rock with a distinct ska influence. Tiger Cried Beef was still good ... I'm going to stick with my "1980's style perfect-rock" for a description ... I'm not sure how else to put it. The Shipping News finished things up ... they play excellent, thick, ambient-power-rock ... if that makes any sense at all.
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On this day ... April 28
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About the title ... 329 years ago in 1676, Nathaniel Bacon led Bacon's Rebellion and burned Jamestown, Virginia to get better representation in the government.
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including Monroe County and occasionally the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
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