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Links of the Day:

– The Democrat and Chronicle says the Trayvon Martin case is a reminder there’s a “perception of racial injustice in the country among people of color.” The editorial says the courts are filled with black and Hispanic defendants, while juries, court personnel and law enforcement officers are mostly white.

The paper said the justice system needs “shoring up,” implying it’s seriously damaged. I’m sure there is racial bias and diversity is an extremely important goal. But the editorial ignores the reasons there’s a preponderance of racial minorities in the justice system: drug laws, poverty, segregation and the lack of educational opportunities. Diversifying the Hall of Justice may not result in different outcomes.

In the wake of Trayvon’s death, I understand reflection about racial profiling, Stand Your Ground Laws, gated communities and police conduct. But I’m not sure the Trayvon case is symbolic of extensive racial bias and injustice in the legal system. (The case is far from over!) And I don’t think the Democrat and Chronicle‘s remedies – while necessary – will do anything to fix what’s really broken.

– Xerox CEO Ursula Burns has an ominous quote in the Democrat and Chronicle about the future of the company in Rochester:

While Rochester will remain the headquarters and primary hub of Xerox’s technology business, Burns said, “The thing that made Xerox ‘Xerox’ in Rochester, which was the maker of technology, will not be the exclamation point after that.”

As the company moves into the service industry, the impact on jobs in Rochester is unclear. Burns says if the new call center, which she prefers to call “customer care,” is successful, that could be an area of growth. That’s not particularly heartening, as those jobs, while needed, pay an average of $25,000. Engineers earn significantly more.

– School districts have a devil of a time removing bad teachers. Gannett runs down a bunch of teachers accused of misconduct who are still on the payroll. These kinds of stories are important, but they miss a larger issue. The arbitration system needs to be reformed. It’s costly and lengthy. Furthermore, BOTH sides abuse the arbitration process. ALL government entities that use arbitration have a hard time removing employees. The focus is on teachers because they deal with children, but arbitration laws in general need to be overhauled.

– A Syracuse company owns hundreds of Burger King restaurants across the country and is playing a key role in overhauling the brand. Burger King now has a stake in the firm.

– The drab Hamilton highrise on Mt. Hope Ave., now part of the Erie Harbor development, underwent a colorful paint job and renovation. This is the Paris version.

Should weird modern buildings be saved from the wrecking ball?

The Trayvon Martin case reminds me of Roderick Scott. In both cases, a man claiming to be protecting his neighborhood notifies police about an unarmed 17-year-old boy he thinks is causing trouble and minutes later shoots him dead, sparking debate about guns and self-defense.

Scott shot Christopher Cervini in 2009 in Greece on a windy and rainy night. Scott saw Cervini and his friends rifling through neighbors’ cars. He went outside with a gun as his girlfriend called police. Scott confronted Cervini and said the youth ran at him. Scott shot Cervini dead.

Police wasted no time charging Scott with murder. A grand jury knocked the charge down to manslaughter. Scott testified in his own defense. A jury acquitted him.

Scott was charged right away. No charges have been filed against George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon. Scott is black and Cervini was white. Zimmerman is white and Martin was black. People think race was a factor in Martin’s killing. People thought race was a factor in charging Scott.

There are many more differences than similarities. But the similarities stood out. Nothing is ever simple.