The Punk In Me is Starting to Root for Johnson

Let me start by saying that I don’t have a dog in this race and no longer live in Rochester, proper. I can’t vote in this next… well, whatever it is.

But while I’m hardly the anti-establishmentarian that some of my friends are and have always been, if there’s one thing I don’t particularly like, its a coronation. And if there’s two things I don’t like, that second one has to be when the group gangs up and decides they’re going to demand things be the way they want them to be. And if there’s three things i don’t like, that third thing has to be that shitty music they play at DSW when I’m trying to buy shoes. Seriously? When did I enter a gay nightclub? But I don’t suppose that’s really relevant to this post.

I’ve been paying small attention to the whole mayor flap in Rochester, in that I’m reading headlines, watching Twitter but otherwise not bothering to get too deep into the subject. Rochester politics were never my forte anyway. There’s lawsuits and the Rochester City Charter and not-so orderly transitions of power.  There is very little doubt that, over nearly a year in which a solution could have and should have been devised, it wasn’t. And frankly, none of that is my problem, nor yours unless you actually work for the Democratic Party. This really is one of those, “figure it out, asshole” kind of moments.

But its clear that not only can the Democratic Party not figure it out, but when one of their own tries to inject something like a logical solution – have an election, almost as if we were a democracy – the party will do as any kid failing his math quiz will do: cover his arms over the test and say, “I can do it!!” Joe Morelle issued a statement that read in part:

“Bill Johnson’s attack on the integrity of Bob Duffy and his administration is an insult to the citizens of Rochester.”

Akshully, no. Its a call for a fair election with real choices, which is a tribute to a citizenry accustomed to such things. It is an insult to the Duffy Administration and the Democratic Party (not to be left out), one that they heartily deserved. You boys fucked up. Man up and take some responsibility. Mayor Duffy did fine work – if with more than a touch of prevarication at critical moments – for the city. I appreciated his dedication to raising the cultural profile of the city, promoting festivals and dragging people out of the ‘burbs and downtown. But we’re not playing Jeopardy, here: a bunch of right answers do not make up for a wrong one.

So, my opinion of this situation is hardly rooted in history or political reality or even a particularly astute observation of current events. It’s not rooted in a sense of responsibility to the City of Rochester, though as a Rochester blogger and somewhat wistful expatriate, I do certainly want what’s best of the city. Really, my first reaction to the news of Johnson’s intention to run was less than enthusiastic. Elections are about the future, not the past. The trouble is: if left to their own devices, the Democratic Party would prefer there not be an election. At least not now, while they are still trying to find someone to coronate.

If only because a certain anarchist streak wants to see the Democratic Party of Rochester get blowed-up, at least a little, I’m starting to warm to the idea of a Johnson Administration, The Redux.

Late Update: Here is the full text of Morelle’s response to Johnson’s announcement.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

2 replies on “The Punk In Me is Starting to Root for Johnson”


It’s not that I don’t love all you folks that live outside my city’s limits, but I gotta say I really don’t give a fuck if you all stream into the city to buy things at restaurants and stores that are owned by your neighbors in the suburbs. Doesn’t really make our lives any better. My daughter’s school is still sliding toward oblivion.

Which is my snot nosed way of saying that I totally don’t understand why City Hall prioritizes downtown development and festivals over jobs for residents and neighborhood revitalization (although I might be wrong about that – it would be good to see a breakdown of the budget – maybe the downtown rhetoric isn’t matched by the numbers).

I guess I’d have to see some evidence that that kinda stuff leads to some sort of capital infusion. Cuz, aside from some bourgie lofts downtown, nothin’s happening.

And kids are shooting each other.

I don’t believe I declared the entire revitalization of Rochester a complete deal, Jon. I do suppose there are a few other issues to address along the way.

The reason they prioritize downtown is simple: things were a lot better across the board when the suburbanites hadn’t abandoned the city as a festering wound, which is more or less the way they think about it now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ll bet that the county could help with a few things downtown as well, no? Won’t happen so long as the ‘burbs continue to vote for politicians who don’t give a shit because they don’t give a shit.

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