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.


AGH!! Duffy, Let.It.Die!

OK, so I’m not much on grammar when it comes to the Renn Square Project. But now Duffy’s on-again, off-again support for Renn Square appears to be on-again. And isn’t that lovely? Goodness knows we wouldn’t want to waste an opportunity to throw good money after bad on this misbegotten troglodyte of a project.

Can someone at least tell me what “Renaissance” means in this context? I mean, without any of the theaters?


Pile-On Alert!

The Rochester Business Journal asks: How are Duffy and Brooks Doing? Geeze, kinda like asking “Are You a Democrat or a Republican,” only playing cutsie.

Don’t hesitate to give them your opinion.


I Guess a Rochester Tribute Isn’t Good Enough?

H/t to Rachael Barnhart of 13WHAM. From the “Entirely too sensitive” files:

When Ms. Kennedy visited the Democratic headquarters in Rochester recently, local officials ushered her eagerly into a conference area known as the Kennedy Room, decorated with pictures of her father, her mother, her younger brother, and Ms. Kennedy herself as a little girl. Ms. Kennedy, while polite, did not appear particularly moved.

“She never responded to the pictures,” recalled Robert Duffy, the mayor of Rochester and the meeting’s host. “She looked and perhaps nodded. She never said a word about it.”

Call me nutty, but does this not strike you as a remarkably strident observation of a potential Senator by the Mayor of Rochester? Does Ol’ Duff know something we don’t, or does he not care?


Maybe a Little Less Blues and a Bit More Rhythm?

Now that Bob Duffy is fully ensconced in his role as mayor, there is a profound and noticeable uptick in the number of things going on in downtown Rochester for which he is to be commended.  I’d really like to extend my appreciation for a man trying very hard to bring more people into the city and make it a destination rather than a dare for people in the suburbs.

But the only downside to the current selection is – and I don’t want to appear ungrateful – the fact that almost everything seems to revolve around ribs, bar-b-que and blues music.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all those things, but there needs to be just a bit more diversity in the selection.

Last year, they had the Big City Summerfest.  This year, they appear to have opted to split that one big festival into a bunch of smaller festivals.  The trouble with this is that they all seem disjointed, it’s difficult to stay up to date on what’s going on, and when they mostly seem to involve the aforementioned elements, it just seems like a pile on of one thing.

So, I’d recommend (though I’m sure they’re not listening to me) that a “Big City Summer Festival Series” be formed around the idea of all these individual festivals, even some of those festivals that were not previously associated with it, maybe.  That way, you’ve got one “brand” on a large number of downtown city festivals, giving them some synchronicity, and you can share one website (with however many ancillary sites you’d like) to find out what’s going on all summer long.  Obviously, Park Ave Fest, Corn Hill and all those others would remain their own entities.

Mayor Duffy?  What say you?


Bob Duffy Warns the Partisans

Bob Duffy has gone with the flow quite a bit since taking office, remaining out of direct spotlight whenever partisan issues come up, if possible. I’ve been critical of that many times, especially since the partisanship is actually hitting Rochester and Monroe County where it hurts with things like the FAIR plan.

But apparently, the MCC situation has gotten under his skin. H/T to RochesterTurning for bringing this video to my attention, wherein Duffy lays out in stark terms his displeasure with the nakedly partisan politics – and money grubbing, let’s not lie – of the MCC situation. He even goes as far as to say that the “spirit of cooperation” is cosmetic, which in political terms is quite harsh. Duly so, of course, but harsh nonetheless.

He points out that 25% of MCC students are City residents, and that gives the City a large stake in resolving the issue of the MCC president appointment. Moreover, he goes as far as to threaten that Governor Patterson can even play a role in this by appointing members of the board of the Renn Square project that perhaps the Republicans might not like.

“We’re impacted, I’ve never been asked to submit a name for the board,” he said, “But we have a new governor. And the governor has the ability to put people on the board and Governor Patterson is a true partner with us and I will be in touch with Governor Patterson.”

He says “a lot of things pass through this office,” and that he’ll use as many as he can to change the situation.