WXXI AM News

City of Rochester

The Rochester Police Accountability Board has asked for $5 million to hire a staff and expand its work. Last week, the mayor's proposed budget included that amount... an indication that the PAB could very well be in the position to pursue its mission more aggressively, and soon.

So how would the PAB spend that money? What would more than 50 staff members be tasked with doing? Our guests make the case:

There have been 22 homicides in the City of Rochester since the start of 2021, and more than 70 percent of those deaths have been from gun violence. State and local leaders, the Rochester Police Department, and local anti-violence groups say the numbers are distressing. The data shows a rise in gun violence: there were 17 homicides in the first three months of this year, compared to six in first three months of 2020, five in same period in 2019, and two in the same period in 2018.

This hour, we’re joined by Senator Jeremy Cooney and representatives from local anti-violence groups to discuss their most recent efforts to curb violence in Rochester and to support victims and their families. Our guests:

Warren’s budget would boost PAB funding, cut police spending

May 14, 2021
Gino Fanelli/CITY

Mayor Lovely Warren’s proposed 2021-22 budget would reduce funding for the Rochester Police Department, expand the city’s crisis intervention services, and provide the Police Accountability Board with the full $5 million it requested.

ZOOM press conference still

A new federal program will provide low-income residents with a monthly subsidy to help pay for internet service.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide a monthly subsidy of up to $50 to eligible residents to pay for internet services, and up to $75 for households on Native American territories.

File photo

Anyone caught illegally riding a dirt bike, ATV, or other so-called off-road vehicles in the city would face stiff fines under legislation introduced by City Council member Jose Peo and Council President Loretta Scott.

The legislation — the first bill introduced by Peo — would clearly ban the use of off-road vehicles on city streets. Anyone caught riding a dirt bike or ATV would be fined no more than $1,000. The vehicle would also be impounded by the Rochester Police Department, and would be held on a fine of $2,000, plus $20 for every day it’s held in impound.

ATVs and dirt bikes are all over the streets of Rochester, and sometimes the drivers are ignoring traffic laws and safety guidelines. Local government is preparing to crack down harder on such activity. But the riders say they have nowhere to go, and they just want a safe outlet for their passion.

So what’s the most sensible way to approach this issue? Our guests:

  • Rachel Barnhart, Monroe County Legislator
  • Jose Peo, Rochester City Council Member
  • Demond Meeks, New York State Assemblymember
  • Lorenzo Jones, ATV rider
  • Raheim Drisdom, ATV rider

After years of public debate and false starts, Rochester’s Parcel 5 has a future, or, at least some new grass seed. The one-acre plot in the heart of downtown has long been a coveted space, and for now, it will become a green gathering place. We talk about what that means for Rochester.

Our guests:

  • Rachel DeGuzman, founder and executive director of 21st Century Arts, Inc.
  • Mary Lupien, member of Rochester City Council
  • André Primus, planner with Highland Planning LLC
  • Ben Woelk, principal at Slow Road Consulting

Which spaces or places in Rochester matter to you? It's a question University of Rochester students and staff will ask as part of a new art project called Blank Placard Dance. The performance builds on an original activism project that emerged in San Francisco in the 1960s. Through dance, Rochester performers hope to map local areas community members deem important when it comes to activism. Participants say the project blurs the boundaries of public intervention and dance performance.

We preview it with our guests:

  • Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Program of Dance and Movement and the Institute for the Performing Arts at the University of Rochester
  • Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, senior lecturer in dance, and director of Blank Placard Restaged at the University of Rochester
  • Catherine Ramsey, University of Rochester student organizer 
  • Almeta Whitis, community storyteller

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Tim Curtin, the head of City Hall's law department, will resign from his position on June 30 and return to private practice, the city stated in a news release Friday.

The announcement comes one week after members of City Council called on Mayor Lovely Warren to fire Curtin over his handling of police body-worn camera footage from the arrest of Daniel Prude. Council is currently considering a resolution formalizing that demand and was set to vote on it later this month.

We talk with candidates for Rochester City Council. Nearly 20 candidates have signed petitions to run for five open at-large seats. We aim to talk with all of them over the next several weeks. It's an opportunity to hear from the candidates about their platforms and priorities for office, and for listeners to ask them questions.

Our guests:

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