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James M.E. O'Grady

James M.E. O’Grady

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle is reportedly angling to succeed Sheldon Silver as Speaker, despite publicly declaring his support for his “friend.”

It’s been more than a century since the assembly had a Speaker from Rochester. Only one Rochesterian has served in that powerful role: James M.E. O’Grady.

O’Grady was born in Rochester in 1863. He attended the Rochester Free Academy, the city’s first public high school, and the University of Rochester. He became a lawyer, serving on the school board from 1887 to 1892. A Republican, he joined the Assembly in 1893 and became Speaker in 1897.

On November 16, 1894, the New York Times reported on the jockeying for the Speaker position:

Mr. O’Grady says he is not depending on anybody’s influence or dictation to get the position, but is after it on his own responsibility and by his own efforts. He evidently is working principally on the claim of this district for recognition, as Tuesday at Buffalo, in expressing himself as hopeful of getting the solid vote of Western New-York, he said:

“Erie County has Comptroller Roberts and Judge Haight; Syracuse has the Attorney General; Utica has the State Engineer, and Albany the Secretary of State, while Rochester has been left out in the cold.”

O’Grady served as Speaker for two years. He was then elected to Congress, serving from 1899 to 1901. He didn’t get nominated for a second term because of a falling out with the local political boss, George Aldridge. O’Grady returned to Rochester to practice law.

O’Grady died in 1928 at Genesee Hospital. he is buried at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery.


New York Times, November 4, 1928

New York Times, November 4, 1928


Sheldon Silver Fallout Roundup:


- Sheldon Silver will temporarily relinquish his duties as Speaker.

- Assembly Republicans plan to force their Democratic colleagues to vote on Silver’s ouster. That could come back to haunt Silver’s supporters at election time.

- The Assembly killed a state law barring exactly the type of bad deeds Silver is accused of.

- David Koon: “I couldn’t get a pay raise for my people or an extra phone or an extra computer or anything without” Silver’s stamp.


Links of the Day:


- Experts say New York schools are not in crisis, as the governor suggests.

- “Educators and parent advocates I’ve heard from since then can’t believe (Cuomo) is so out of touch.”

- There’s an oversupply of teacher candidates, creating a tough job market.

- The Rochester City School District boots volunteers and makes them jump through hoops.

- Here’s reason Western New York gas prices are higher. (It kills me people are complaining cheap gas is not cheap enough.)

- Buffalo area state lawmakers want to kill Wilmot’s planned casino.

- University of Rochester researchers say pregnant women can eat fish.

- Car, go park yourself.

City of Rochester Communications Bureau

City of Rochester Communications Bureau

It’s becoming more likely a performing arts center and perhaps a casino will fill Midtown’s Parcel 5.

The city revealed only two proposals came in for the 1.1-acre site on Main Street. The city won’t allow us to look at the proposals and I haven’t heard back from the two developers on what they have in mind.

The city spent at least $70 million dollars to tear down the mall and get that property shovel-ready. It’s supposed to be prime real estate. It is in the heart of downtown Rochester.

It turns out, few want to take a chance, at least right now. Buckingham has yet to prove it can finish the Tower at Midtown project without founder Larry Glazer. We don’t even know what Buckingham is now capable of pulling off at the building. Glazer’s grand plans are over. Meanwhile, the office market downtown is terrible, so you can’t put that in any building plans. Finally, retail is the great big unknown.

The market just told us Parcel 5 is risky.

The city’s two top choices are likely to let Parcel 5 sit empty or try like hell to get a performing arts center built.

Here’s what may happen: The Senecas will likely look to Rochester to blunt the impact of Tom Wilmot’s Lago casino. They may offer to build a theater at Midtown along with a casino. That solves the city’s Parcel 5 problem and could easily be sold as “economic development.” (Casinos and theaters come with their own costs, of course.) The irony is that this is what Wilmot proposed more than a decade ago. Then-Mayor Bill Johnson said no. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Mayor Lovely Warren gives an enthusiastic yes.

Wilmot is not the only person to have identified Midtown as a good place for a casino.

I have reported that back in July, Delaware North, which owns the Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the city to put a performing arts center at Midtown. Delaware North would have run the theater, possibly even buying naming rights, per sources.

Why would Delaware North get involved? To prevent the Senecas from doing the same. The Senecas wouldn’t be able to offer a performing arts center in return for  allowing a casino. Nothing came of the MOU, as sources say Glazer’s death complicated the picture, as he was working with Delaware North on the idea. With Delaware North now out of the picture, the door is probably wide open for the Senecas.

Few developers were willing to gamble on Parcel 5. The Senecas, however, might.


Links of the Day:


- Here’s a great look at the federal prosecutor who had Sheldon Silver arrested on corruption charges.

- The state won’t let schools know how much aid they’re getting unless lawmakers pass governor’s education “reform agenda.”

- Four of the top five trending jobs in Rochester are low-wage.

- Three Heads Brewing is considering building a facility on University Ave. in Rochester.




Rank Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse in terms of where you think is the best place for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workers.

Does Syracuse top ANYONE’S list?

No way.

But WalletHub put Syracuse way of ahead of Buffalo and Rochester on its “Best and Worst Metro Areas for STEM Workers list.”

Syracuse ranked 36th, Buffalo 58th and Rochester 78th.

How does Rochester, home to Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester, as well as a host of technology-related companies, fall short? Continue reading



Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Rochester on Thursday and announced the sequel to the Buffalo Billion.

Instead of giving other Upstate regions their fair share, Cuomo said there’s only $1.5 billion for the rest of us.

Oh, and we’ll have to fight each other for the loot.

The governor made this announcement in the only big-city county he lost in November. When Cuomo lost Erie County, he showered money and love on Buffalo. When he lost Monroe County, he thrust us into a game show. Continue reading

Jazz Featured Image


Mayor Lovely Warren asked City Council to approve funding for the Xerox Rochester International Jazz festival at the same level as in recent years. That amounts to $243,000, including the cost of police coverage.

As we learned last year, that money also includes 120 tickets to headliner shows and 20 VIP club passes. The city kept no record of where those tickets went, but council members admitted they snagged a bunch.

I asked a city spokesperson if the way the city handles the distribution of free tickets will change this year. I haven’t gotten a response. It’s very possible that when council members vote on festival funding this month, they know they’ll be getting a mega-perk in return.

But that’s not the only issue with this funding.   Continue reading

A lot of people are talking about the Rochester Business Journal’s Snap Poll of Mayor Lovely Warren’s first year in office. The survey roundly panned her performance. Only 13 percent of respondents approve or strongly approve of how she’s doing the job.

This poll is total crap. Here’s why:

1. This is not a scientific poll. It’s a survey of readers. RBJ provides no information about these readers, including how many responded and where they live. Continue reading

Here are my predictions for 2015. I have been running about 60 percent right in years past. Happy New Year, everyone!



Links of the Day:


- Are NYPD officers engaged in a work slowdown?

- There have been headlines that police on-duty deaths are up. But historical numbers show that’s not true.

- Boston police release names of citizens driving drunk, but not officers.

- The state minimum wage is now $8.75.

- The state is giving money to urban districts to see if they can attract suburban students.

- Motor City is turning away from freeways.

- There are hospitals refusing to announce the first babies born in 2015, for fear they’ll be kidnapped. Abductions of New Year’s babies has never happened before, ever.

- Meet these ten awesome Rochesterians.

Credit: Immagine

Credit: Immagine

I started this blog in December 2011. More than 800 posts later, I am so grateful to have this outlet. My favorite topics include, city and state politics, inequality, census stats, studies detailing what life is like in our region and downtown development. I appreciate our conversations!

Here are the most-viewed blog posts on The Rochesterian in 2014:

10. On the Waterpark: Remember when Mayor Lovely Warren said she wanted a waterpark downtown? Not sure what ever happened to that idea. I looked into the pros and cons.

9. In Defense of the Port Project: I played devil’s advocate on the development plan that angered many in the community.

8. Mayor Warren’s First Year: A look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

7. What I Said 20 Years Ago: My high school graduation speech was a real downer. This speech could be given at almost any RCSD high school today. Continue reading

It’s fair to say Mayor Lovely Warren has had a rocky first year in office. Let’s take a look back at good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:

Warren- Mayor Warren Goes to Washington: The mayor established relationships on the federal level. She met with the Vice-President on creating more manufacturing jobs, drew attention to the plight of young black men as part of the president’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, talked to the president about being mayor of a city with a large number of poor residents, helped secure funding for port dredging and helped to get Rochester selected as a “Manufacturing Community,” making the area eligible for federal dollars.

- Mayor Uses Muscle: Lovely Warren secured the necessary votes among Democrats on the Monroe County Legislature to move the Costco and MCC downtown campus projects forward.

- Mayor and Maggie: The mayor and county executive share a good relationship. Maggie Brooks endorsed Warren for the position, an unprecedented move for a local Republican.

- Facilities Modernization: The mayor pushed to get more provisions for fiscal accountability in the second phase of construction.

- Party in the Park: This is a minor win, but moving it from the parking lot seemed like a good idea. We’ll know when the attendance numbers come back.

- More AIM Aid: This is sort of a half-win. Rochester got an extra $6 million from state lawmakers in the budget, but the city still gets the lowest amount of aid per capita compared to other cities. It also has to give the school district $119 million every year, while Buffalo and Syracuse can give far less to their districts. In addition, the state ignored the mayor’s request for $100 million for a performing arts center.

- Focus on Early Learning: Warren formed an Early Learning Council and has tirelessly promoted reading among young children. It’s too early to say if these efforts have paid off.

- Bloomberg Grant: The mayor helped to secure a $1.95 million grant to fight poverty using innovative techniques.

- Inner Loop: The mayor helped secure the final pieces of funding for the project to move forward. The project to fill in the Inner Loop started way before the mayor took office, but she’s been executing it according to plan.

- Police Reorganization: The mayor’s plan to create five police sections is extremely expensive and some say it’s not necessary, as crime has declined dramatically. But she is fulfilling a campaign pledge to bring police officers closer to the neighborhoods they serve. If this works, it will be a big part of her legacy.

- Transgender Benefits: Warren announced transgender city workers would have their treatments covered under medical insurance.

- Hart’s Grocery: The city played an active role in getting this downtown store open. The store received a tax abatement and federal loan.


The Bad:


- Uncle Reggie: The scandal now known as “Uncle Reggie” involved lying and nepotism. Hiring her uncle and another man as highly-paid security guards didn’t go over well. Neither did lying about how many times her uncle was stopped on the Thruway with her in the vehicle. Neither did ignoring reporters.

- Port Rollout: The mayor inherited this project, so it’s not fair to blame her for the plan to build a marina and develop the surrounding land. (Though she was on City Council and didn’t voice objections.) But when the project started to become real, Charlotte residents went beserk. It didn’t help that residents weren’t involved in the developer selection process and that the developer’s basic designs fell flat. As a result of the outcry, the city later involved residents in the design and planning.

- Officer Daryl Pierson’s death: This tragedy could have happened under any mayor, but it counts as a significantly awful event in her first year. Warren showed grace and leadership in the days following the shooting. The city did an excellent job planning a funeral that touched thousands of people. However, the feelings of goodwill evaporated when Warren posted about the Ferguson grand jury decision, saying Officer Darren Wilson had no regard for human life. This outraged supporters of police officers, who believe Wilson had no choice. The Pierson family jumped into the controversy, making harsh comments about the mayor. It was an ugly episode.

- St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The city removed the parade from East Ave. without soliciting any public input. When the public got wind of the plan, people were outraged. The move was a huge blow to East End businesses and patrons. The city backtracked, offered alternative routes and held a public hearing. A final route was chosen that goes down part of East Ave. The city claims the detour is temporary and necessary because of the Inner Loop project, but officials did a very poor job explaining their reasoning.

- Deaths of Larry and Jane Glazer: After they died, the city went out of its way to say everything would be the same, that development at Midtown would proceed according to plan. We now know that’s not true. The city has a dilemma on its hands with Parcel 5, which Larry Glazer had been eyeing. I suspect no one wants it now. Proposals are due January 15.

- Rochester Housing Authority: The mayor engineered the replacement of nearly all board members, who promptly fired the executive director and replaced him with a city councilman. The mayor claims she had nothing to do with this, though her associates were quietly warning the media weeks beforehand this would happen. Now the previous director has to be paid a yet-to-be-revealed sum that’s sure to be embarrassing. Councilman Adam McFadden was forced to resign as the new director when HUD started sniffing around. At any point during this process, the mayor could have roundly condemned these shenanigans. Instead, she protected her board members. This poorly-executed political patronage scheme has severely tarnished the agency.

- Staffing Problems: The deputy mayor was arrested for drunk driving. A city attorney with a previous DWI was promoted to a high-level economic development job, but got demoted after clashing with his superiors. The chief communications director, who clashed with reporters, was recently demoted to a job of “executive assistant,” but is still earning $98,000.

- Homeless Fight: The city ticked off a lot of bleeding hearts when it bulldozed the tents where homeless people had been staying. The city said the tents were not safe or sanitary and offered brick-and-mortar shelter to the residents. This kind of housing does not meet city code, nor is it appropriate to allow such a development on city land. But advocates claim they had no warning about the city’s intentions to plow the place down. In yet another City Hall “do-over,” the homeless have been given a short reprieve and their tents can stay up through New Year’s Day.

- “Stay in Your Lane”: People angry about how the homeless have been treated messaged the mayor’s Facebook account. A Facebook message sent from her account in return told people in the suburbs to mind their own business and “stay in your lane.” The city said Warren’s account was “compromised.” Here’s the big problem with that theory: Hackers don’t quote city talking points. The episode appeared to be another example of a City Hall that can’t get its story straight.

- Polarization: The mayor has become a polarizing figure. People love her and people love to hate her. Some of her detractors are very racist. Some of her supporters think she gets more scrutiny because of her race. Warren has fierce defenders and fierce detractors. Some of this is her fault, as this “bad” list contains entirely preventable situations. But some of the criticism against her is profoundly unfair.

It would be nice to see Warren become a more unifying figure in 2015. She can change the conversation and public perception by racking up wins and avoiding stupid mistakes. There’s plenty of time left in her term and I don’t believe we’ll see another year like this one.


Links of the Day:


- After major pushback in the Southern Tier, Cuomo is now interfering in the casino site selection process. (Does anyone believe he didn’t before?)

- “Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now muscling in, promising to save New York’s deficient school system…”

- This story of a Buffalo start-up needing venture capital from Buffalo to stay in Buffalo comes across like a shakedown. I realize VC is hard to come by in Upstate New York, but nothing suggests they have to move if VC comes from elsewhere.

- Finger Lakes wineries are fighting a gas storage plan.

- This makes me not want to see “Selma.”

- Guidance counselors are not a priority in many high schools.

- Let’s help out the historic train room in Rochester, a hidden gem.

- Will the ice bike be the next iconic Buffalo thing? Its developer hopes so.


Pedestrians are People, Too



Florida Passes New York in State Population



It’s official. Florida has surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Florida added an average of 803 residents every day between July 1. 2013 and July 1, 2014. Florida now has 19,893,297 residents compared to New York’s 19,746,227. New York is growing, too. It’s just not growing as fast as Florida.

What’s going on? CNN reports:

Manufacturing jobs have diminished in northern New York cities like Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse. Florida, on the other hand, is seeing jump in tourism, real estate, construction, medicine and finance, (University of Miami’s Thomas) Boswell said.

But immigration is also an important factor in explaining Florida’s rise.

“Florida’s growth for many years has been due primarily to migration,” (University of Florida’s Stan) Smith said. “Typically, 80 to 90% of growth in the state has to do with people moving in.”

The spike in immigration includes people moving from other states as well as from abroad, Smith said. Based on responses to BEBR surveys, Smith said, most people moving to Florida do so for job-related reasons. The state also draws retirees seeking a warmer climate.

Florida is the number one destination for people leaving Rochester. Between 2007 and 2011, Monroe County had a net loss of 1,082 residents to the Sunshine State. Monroe County’s population hasn’t dipped because of immigrants.


Links of the Day:


- In New York State, you’ll never see the internal investigation or disciplinary against a police officer. The only time I’ve see one made public was the Craig Heard shooting. The info was contained in lawsuit court paperwork.

- Experts say New York’s new casinos won’t have a big economic impact.

- Racetracks are very worried about the casino expansion.

- This is why nuclear power plants, including Ginna, are in trouble.

- Young women who don’t go to college are more likely to be raped.

- From $10 million to $10 an hour: Donte Stallworth, former NFL wide receiver, is working as a Huffington Post intern.

- Phew. This map shows Rochesterians like “dude” and “buddy” more than “bro.”


Tweet of the Day:


City of Rochester Communications Burear

City of Rochester Communications Burear

In pushing for more casinos in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said gambling is already everywhere. As this map shows, the addition of three Upstate casinos makes a saturated market even more saturated.

So, you might not say, “This is a great time to open yet another casino!”

But that’s exactly what the Oneida Indian Nation is doing. The tribe, which runs Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, is now opening the “Yellow Brick Road Casino” just outside Syracuse. Continue reading



When Broad St. was a canal

When Broad St. was a canal


Rochester, this could be us.

We also have a canal and a river downtown. But all we’ve managed to build over the last decade is Corn Hill Landing, which is a great place to have dinner, go for a summer stroll and watch the fireworks. It’s no main attraction, however.

Last week, the Democrat and Chronicle rehashed the idea from Broad Street Underground to turn the aqueduct into a mall. Yes, a mall. Like we don’t already have a daunting task to fill up retail space at Sibley and Midtown. Even worse, this half-baked plan includes a tunnel between the Blue Cross Arena and the convention center. “Gee I wish there was an underground walkway so I can get from my luncheon to the hockey game,” said no one ever.  Continue reading

Washington Post

Washington Post


The Washington Post reports the middle class is in trouble, with median incomes peaking in most counties many years ago.

In Monroe County, the article’s interactive map shows income peaked in 1969, when the inflation-adjusted median household income was $71,214.

The Washington Post reports:

It used to be that when the U.S. economy grew, workers up and down the economic ladder saw their incomes increase, too. But over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 83 percent, after adjusting for inflation — and the typical family’s income hasn’t budged. In that time, corporate profits doubled as a share of the economy. Workers today produce nearly twice as many goods and services per hour on the job as they did in 1989, but as a group, they get less of the nation’s economic pie. In 81 percent of America’s counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago.

In this new reality, a smaller share of Americans enjoy the fruits of an expanding economy. This isn’t a fluke of the past few years — it’s woven into the very structure of the economy. And even though Republicans and Democrats keep promising to help the middle class reclaim the prosperity it grew accustomed to after World War II, their prescriptions aren’t working.

Do you think our best days are behind us?


Links of the Day:


– Why women don’t work: U.S. lag behind in family-friendly policies.

– There is not much evidence the state’s Regional Economic Development Council grants create a lot of jobs.

– Like Rochester, Buffalo’s housing authority is also in turmoil and there are calls for the mayor to fix things.

– A Hobart College student, who was expelled, was acquitted on sexual assault charges.

– This is why state lawmakers might actually need a pay raise.

Rochester is lagging behind on snow this season. Don’t worry, plenty of time to catch up.

– Why are the magazines at doctor offices always out of date?


Tweet of the Day:



New York Times


The New York Times mapped the employment statistics of men aged 25 to 54 in every census tract in the U.S. The bottom line is that fewer men are working compared to decades past.

The New York Times reports:

On the whole, however, it’s vastly more common today than it was decades ago for prime-age men not to be working. Across the country, 16 percent of such men are not working, be they officially unemployed or outside of the labor force — disabled, discouraged, retired, in school or taking care of family. That number has more than tripled since 1968.

The data for Rochester is scary. There are census tracts in Rochester where more than half of men in this age group are unemployed. About two-thirds of men in some northeast city neighborhoods are not working. 

This statistic should be cause for alarm on a number of levels.

Read more about the employment data for men here.


Links of the Day:


- Did New York City police officers plant guns on innocent suspects? There are similarities among cases.

- Video surfaces of a Buffalo police officer beating a man.

- Following Rochester’s lead, Syracuse bishop considers outing priests with credible sexual abuse accusations against them.

- Micro-units are coming to Rochester’s Alexander Park development.

- Rochester city officials don’t appear to be interested in municipal broadband, even though two of five households does not have Internet.

- Stimulants are common for children on Medicaid.

- School discipline for girls varies by race and hue.

- The journalist uninvited to Syracuse University has died.


Duffy Needs a New Twitter Handle


Urban SuburbanThe Spencerport Central School District held a meeting Tuesday night about possibly joining the Urban-Suburban program. During this packed meeting, many parents expressed concern, fear and anger over the prospect of 70 minority children attending their schools over the next decade. The children would be accepted as space permits and taxpayers would not pay extra.

It’s been almost 20 years since Urban-Suburban generated such controversy.

In 1998, 10-year-old Jessica Haak wanted to transfer from Rochester City Schools to West Irondequoit through Urban-Suburban. When the program administrator found out she is white, her invitation was rescinded. Urban-Suburban, founded in 1965, is only open to students of color. Haak sued in federal court, saying her rights were violated. The district court judge agreed with Haak. But a federal appeals court found reducing racial segregation is a compelling reason to have a program such as Urban-Suburban, and sent the case back to the district court for trial. The court based its ruling on a handful of previous cases dealing with school desegregation schemes.

In their opinion, the judges note why there is de facto segregation in New York:

There is no question that New York State structures its public school system such that each student has only the right to attend the school in the district in which he or she lives. Moreover, the evidence in the record indisputably shows that the (Urban Suburban) Program was enacted in 1965 to deal with racial segregation in the Monroe County schools resulting from this policy in combination with segregated living patterns.

But the judges identify the major flaw with the Urban Suburban program. A concurring judge wrote:

The statistics with which we have been supplied during this appeal suggest that in the 35 years of its existence the minority pupil population in Rochester City School District has increased from 25.6 percent to 80 percent…. It is extremely difficult to see how this program has had any meaningful impact upon the existence of schools or school districts with “a predominant number or percentage of students of a particular racial/ethnic group.”

Therefore, even though the defendants may have had a sufficiently compelling interest to justify the program at its inception, it is difficult to see how the interest continues, given the program’s limited impact. If a compelling interest no longer exists, it seems to me that the entire program may fail as being unconstitutional, and the plaintiffs would have no remedy.

A dissenting judge made the same point:

Therefore, even though the defendants may have had a sufficiently compelling interest to justify the program at its inception, it is difficult to see how the interest continues, given the program’s limited impact. If a compelling interest no longer exists, it seems to me that the entire program may fail as being unconstitutional, and the plaintiffs would have no remedy…I do agree that there is no more effective means of achieving the reduction of racial isolation than to base decisions on race alone. It is the most effective means; in this case, it just is not a constitutional means.

While Spencerport parents expressed all kinds of concerns about Urban Suburban, they missed the biggest one: Urban Suburban doesn’t work. It’s goal is to “voluntarily reduce racial isolation, and the segregation of academic opportunities.” It undoubtedly helps the nearly 600 students who participate every year, and it presumably helps their classmates who benefit from being exposed to children unlike themselves. But as Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski has said, “it’s tokenism.”

Urban Suburban makes participating school districts feel like they’re making a difference, even though our schools are still some of the most racially and economically segregated in the nation. Spencerport parents could have embraced the program for what it is – a small gesture.  Instead, they exposed Urban Suburban for what it is not – true change.


Links of the Day:


- I do not see anything groundbreaking in U of R’s plan to save East High. Implementation and execution will be key.

- Amy Pierson acknowledges all that unity after her husband’s death has evaporated.

- “It’s one of the most shocking documents ever produced by any modern democracy about its own abuses of its own highest principles.”

- The incomes of young Americans are shrinking.

- It takes 146 days to get a dermatology appointment in Syracuse.

- Minorities at Harvard, other law schools seek delays in finals because they’ve been busy protesting.

- Corporations have meteorologists, too.

- A Rochester man wants to collect fire patches before he dies. He’s getting a lot of help.

- The crows are back!

Compare Young Adults Across the Decades with Census Explorer



They’re known as the Boomerang Generation because so many returned home to live with their parents. New data released by the U.S. Census shows today’s young adults are indeed more likely to be bunking with mom and dad. This generation may be less financially secure, but it’s also more educated.

The census has an interactive mapping tool to compare Millennials, considered to be between 18 and 34 years old, with previous generations. Rochester’s Millennials are similar to their counterparts across the country.

Here are the main takeaways:

1. A lot of Milleninals live with their parents. In Rochester, 29 percent of young adults are living with a parent, compared to 23 percent in 2000, 24 percent in 1990 and 23 percent in 1980. The national rate of young adults living with their parents is 30 percent.

2. Interestingly, the percentage of Millennials living alone has stayed steady over generations in Rochester – 8 percent.

3. Rochester’s Millennials are not as financially secure, with 21 percent living in poverty,. That comparedsto 15 percent in 2000, 12 percent in 1990 and 11 percent in 1980. The national Millennial poverty rate is 20 percent.

City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

4. Far fewer Rochester Millennials are employed – only 67 percent. But that’s better than the national young adult employment of 65 percent. In 1990, 74 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds had jobs. In 2000, 72 percent were working.

5. Rochester’s Millennials are not getting hitched. Seventy-three percent have never been married. That compares to 66 percent nationwide. In 1980, more than half of 18 to 34-year-olds had tied the knot at least once.

6. There is no brain drain, as I have pointed out previously. The percentage of 18 to 34-year-olds in Rochester mirrors that of the country. What’s more, Rochester’s Millennials are more educated. Twenty-five percent have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 22 percent nationwide. This generation of Rochesterians has a higher rate of college degree attainment than previous ones.

7. Millennials are more diverse. Nearly one in four Rochester Millennial is non-white, compared to nearly one in 10 in 1980.

8. Millennials are still driving alone to work – 86 percent. But the rate dipped slightly from the 88 percent who drove alone to work in 1990 and 2000.

Read more about the data here.


Links of the Day:


- Cleveland police tactics violated rights of citizens, the Justice Department found.

- “I was told something as a new rookie officer: You’d rather be tried by 12 jurors than carried by six pallbearers.

- The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on NFL blackoutsand the Bills took center stage.

- When Larry Glazer died, the city pretended everything would go on as usual. That’s not going to happen.

- A New York appeals court ruled that chimps are not people.

- Research casts alarming light on decline of West Antarctic glaciers. Rising sea levels will impact coastlines.

- Someone make these tired, worn-out lists stop.

Update: The New York Post reports state officials did not take into account updated snow totals from NWS. The Buffalo News appears to take a shot at TV stations over their forecasts.


When the Buffalo area is out of danger, there will be a lot of discussion about how local and state government prepared and reacted to this storm. Why wasn’t the Thruway closed earlier? Why wasn’t there a concrete plan to dig out? Why didn’t people understand the magnitude of what was about to happen? Despite the fact it would have been hard for anyone to wrap their heads around this much snow – and the dangers presented – these are still legitimate questions.

Governor Andrew Cuomo offered one theory. WGRZ reports:

Cuomo said the Weather Service did not indicate that the heavy snow bands would remain stationary and blast South Buffalo and the Southtowns with the incredible rate of snowfall.

Cuomo said that’s part of the reason why New York State is building its own linked weather forecasting system that will be superior to any other state system in the country.

“No one had an idea that it was gonna be that much snow that fast. Snow coming down at the rate of about five inches an hour. No one had an idea. The weather service was off. By the way, I said this in my state of the state last year we’re putting in our own weather detection system,” said Cuomo.

There might have been a communications failure. But this doesn’t seem to be a forecast failure. Meteorologists tweeted that the National Weather Service did predict this monster storm.



Links of the Day:


- Could climate change bring more lake effect snow?

- A government committee will decide if Buffalo area snow broke a record.

- Fun lake effect memes.

- Downtown landmarks in Syracuse are illuminated with colored lights some call garish.

- DHD Ventures is renovating some well-known downtown Rochester properties.

- Denver Post explores our broken mental health system, one that only treats people after they’re far into illness.

- Adam Lanza’s mothers refused treatment recommendations for her son, who was 6 feet tall and weighed only 112 pounds.

- Washington Post goes very in-depth on Cosby accusations. Numerous women have same story of being drugged and attacked.


Adam McFadden Facebook Page


Adam McFadden wasn’t the only person to question whether Bob Duffy’s appointment to the CEO position at the Rochester Business Alliance would get as much scrutiny as McFadden’s appointment to the Rochester Housing Authority.

Supporters of McFadden and Mayor Lovely Warren have repeatedly said black politicians get more heat in the media than white politicians. I vehemently disagree. Ask Maggie Brooks, whose husband is under indictment, if the media has been soft. If you don’t want the media breathing down your neck, don’t do questionable things. Better yet, don’t run for public office.

But while there are many difference between the RHA and RBA sagas, McFadden is right that the Duffy appointment should raise our collective eyebrows.

First, let’s talk about the differences.

RHA is a government entity, thus the public has a huge right to dissect its dealings. RBA is not, though it has close ties to government. At the RHA, someone was fired before McFadden could get the job. RHA insists Alex Castro was terminated because of wrongdoing. Until they spell out Castro’s failings, it looks as though Castro was pushed aside so McFadden could step in. Castro’s firing could be very costly to taxpayers.

Now let’s talk about the similarities.

1. Both of the appointments raise ethical issues.

As lieutenant governor, Duffy was in charge of the economic development councils, which awarded grants to the very businesses for whom he will now lobby. Duffy tells Gannett he recused himself. There’s also the matter of the Public Officer’s Law, which has varying interpretations of whether Duffy can lobby for two years after leaving office. Duffy says he’s cleared by JCOPE, the state’s ethics commission. Duffy should release that JCOPE decision, and if one is not in writing, he should get one in writing.

The Rochester Board of Ethics is looking into whether McFadden can serve on City Council and run the RHA. Council has very little to do with RHA, as the ethics board is discovering.

2. People lied.

George Moses, the chairman of the RHA board, lied to the media the day after Castro was fired, saying the board still had to interview candidates for interim director. He did not disclose that McFadden was hired at the same meeting Castro was fired.

Sandra Parker, whom Duffy is replacing, told me last year she was delaying her retirement because there was more she wanted to get done at RBA. She said she wasn’t involved in the search for a new CEO and didn’t know if Duffy was in the running. But yesterday she admitted she delayed her retirement so Duffy could get the job. Her statement calls into question whether Duffy really withdrew his name from consideration, as he asserted last year.

3. McFadden and Duffy both got the jobs because they hold elected office and have friends in high places. Putting aside whether they’re qualified, they got these top jobs because of who they know.

There’s no way McFadden, the head of a $1 million nonprofit, a man with no experience working in housing, would have been appointed to lead a $62 million agency if he was not a councilman with close ties to the mayor.

There’s no way anyone would delay their retirement for a year for someone who was not a friend. There’s no way a search committee would decide not to do any interviews for anyone other than the lieutenant governor, a former mayor who decided he didn’t like state politics and needed a job.

This last point is why we should care about both of these stories. The media – and the public – is a check on power. You can decide how much you care, but you can’t decide if we don’t tell you what’s going on.

Update: I deliberately did not discuss the qualifications of McFadden and Duffy to perform these jobs. But someone pointed out to me that I’m implying McFadden cannot do the job. I do not want my statement interpreted that way. I was only saying he got the job because of his connections, not that he isn’t capable of performing well in the post. McFadden has as many – if not more – credentials as other people placed into city and county management jobs over the years.


Tweet of the Day:




Links of the Day:


- Remember when the state promised no one would ever be stranded on the Thruway again? Yeah…

- What it’s like to be stuck on the Thruway for 24 hours.

- Ban the Box law went into effect this week in Rochester, but many employers were not aware.

- Blacks are arrested at far higher rates than whites in Monroe County.

- Turning Stone plans $100 million expansion, including upscale stores, movie theater and dining.

- Boston’s charter schools have high suspension rates.

- There’s a growing movement to make sure students accused of sexual assault have due process and representation.


Credit: City of Rochester


Last month, I wrote about our community’s digital divide. Data from the 2013 U.S. Census American Community Survey showed lower rates of computer ownership and broadband Internet adoption in the City of Rochester compared to Monroe County as a whole. Three out of four households in the county have high-speed Internet, compared to three of five households in the city. The county’s Internet connectivity is on par with the national average.

It turns out Rochester is one of the least connected cities in the entire country. Governing Magazine ranked cities with more than 100,000 people based on the percentage of households that have Internet of any kind. Rochester ranked 280th out of 296 cities. That’s absolutely abysmal.

Governing writes:

To a large degree, Internet adoption mirrors a city’s demographics. Poorer households might not sign up because of the cost. Whites also report higher Internet adoption than black and Hispanic households. Age is another pronounced demographic divides. About 64 percent of the 65-and-over population reported having Internet subscriptions, compared to 81 percent for the rest of the population.

The census data shows 13 percent of Rochester residents only have broadband on their smartphones.

There are real benefits for the city to getting more people online. The Internet is the whole world’s library – at your desk. High-speed Internet helps both children and adults develop literacy, skills, innovations and more. Knowledge is power.

Is the digital divide an issue the city should take on?


Links of the Day:


- The Rochester Housing Authority has not yet posted the job of executive director.

- We still don’t know how much the state spent to lure Amazing Spider-Man 2’s production.

- I was touched by the D&C’s story of a victim of violence who became a perpetrator. This story is so common – and so sad.

- Ten thousand tons of unwanted Concord grapes grown in New York will drop to the earth.

- Harvard has a cool online survey to gauge your heart health.

- “Do it for Utica?” Residents are not happy with an op-ed in the New York Times.


Stat of the Day:


It appears the city vote was key to Louise Slaughter’s victory:


Monroe County Board of Elections

Monroe County Board of Elections


Crazy Photo Op of the Day:


The city actually shut down the Inner Loop for several hours five days early so politicians could throw ceremonial dirt – that was later swept away by city cleaning crews.


Credit: @whec_nrudd

Credit: @whec_nrudd


Crowd gathers at Four Corners to hear bugler on Armistice Day, 1930

Crowd gathers at Four Corners to hear bugler on Armistice Day, 1930


On this Veterans Day, here’s a snapshot of the Rochester metropolitan area’s veteran population.

There are 62,832 veterans, down 9 percent from 2011.

– Gulf War II (2001 and later): 8 percent

– Gulf War I: 12 percent

– Vietnam: 36 percent

– Korean: 11 percent

– World War II: 9 percent

Many of our veterans are aging, with 28 percent over the age of 75.

Our veterans are financially more secure than non-veterans. They have a poverty rate of 7 percent, compared to 13 percent for non-veterans. They have a higher median income and lower unemployment rate.

One out of four veterans has a disability, compared to one out of seven for non-veterans.

The U.S. Census compiled facts about veterans nationally and did a separate breakout on their economic status.


Links of the Day:


- “Despite their sacrifices, and those of thousands more, all we have to show for it are two failed wars.

- Today is the 220th Anniversary celebration of the Canandaigua Treaty.

- New car sales are way up in Monroe County.

- The Mormon church revealed founder Joseph Smith had 40 wives, some of whom were very young or already married.

- The Asian population is growing in Monroe County.

- Bats are hackers! Mexican free-tailed bats will jam other bats’ bio-sonar to steal food.

- The Oatmeal: “Dear Senator Ted Cruz, I’m going to explain to you how Net Neutrality ACTUALLY works.”