Could there have been a moment more moving, or more full of substance, in showing people of diverse backgrounds coming together in common support of public progress, than occurred at the most recent meeting of the County Legislature? An audience of minority students from the City of Rochester gave a standing, cheering ovation to the mostly suburban Republican legislators who had just approved a new urban campus for Monroe Community College at the Kodak site downtown. There in the moment, and in the life of this project going forward, the concept of "Unite Rochester" lives in tangible substance, not mere talk.
You'd think this would rate a front page photo in the Democrat and Chronicle, which launched the "Unite Rochester" initiative, ostensibly to bridge gaps between urban and suburban, between black and white. But nothing. Silence. No image. Instead, just a sour editorial a few days later, demanding that politicians like Joe Morelle and State agencies interfere in the decision of the MCC President and Board of Trustees to proceed with their new urban campus.
Just a few years ago, wasn't it the same newspaper that declared autonomous operation of Monroe Community College to be sacrosanct? That was when the College Board of Trustees was considering some candidates for the college presidency who -- horrors! -- were reported to be on good terms with the Republican county government that funds the college. "Hands off" was the message. "No political interference."
Today, however, the D&C and others demand political interference in the operation of the college.
Democratic stakeholders, including not only the newspaper, have been sensitive about the College moving out of the Sibley building. Originally because it could create problems for a major Democratic contributor. Now they oppose it for reasons less clear, although we think Mayor Richards, at least, has principled considerations behind his position on the matter.
The college wants to move. Sibley needs a tenant.
We suggest a modest compromise.
You know who who else needs new office space? And has committed to finding it downtown (which it defines as "inside the loop")? The Democrat and Chronicle! A month ago or more its publisher announced the paper was selling its building at Broad and Exchange in search of new digs. Let the Democrat and Chronicle fulfill its dual goals of securing new space and demonstrating its unshakable commitment to the city core by relocating to the Sibley Building!
Last time the D&C moved operations it was to move all of its printing ... to Greece. Hey, business is business. But the paper can now expiate its Greece move and champion inside-the-loop Downtown by attaching to its masthead the swank address of the Sibley Building.
And if the space is too big for the future no-paper, all-digital newspaper, no problem. The Monroe County Democratic Committee can relocate from University Avenue to take up the extra space at Sibley. Think of the efficiency of having all the Democratic Party infrastructure, both administration and communications, under a single roof.