Mayor Warren's second annual freak show lacked all the glitz and glamor of last year's.
It was held in the warehouse of the Genesee Brewery. Cramming an insufficient number of chairs to accommodate 400 people into that small space, it interfered with the police color guard's performance.
Most of the chairs were reserved for local political celebrities, their staffs and the mayor's senior management team.
There was a platform and a podium erected for the purpose, and two small screens that featured slideshows of carefully posed photographs of the mayor and videos of the same nature.
The hoi polloi, scrambling for unreserved seats at the back, couldn't see them well. They didn't miss much.
The low production costs paralleled the low production values. The setting was decidedly third rate.
Despite the cleanliness of the warehouse, it was tacky.
The mayor later explained the location of her little "do" as being both unique and appropriate; according to her, the history of the Genesee Brewery reflected Rochester's own history.
And now, on with the show.
A first grader from the mayor's alma mater, Wilson, led the "Pledge of Allegiance."
Cute but trite.
A bunch of first graders from Wilson repeated "I Am Somebody," which was featured at last year's event at Wilson.
Immediately afterwards, the kiddies and their mommies left, vacating a few dozen more seats for the common people attending the event. There were still not enough chairs for everyone.
Pastor David Valle did the Invocation, saying how proud he was to have a mayor who believed in the power of prayer.
She should. She counts on miracles daily.
The mayor's administration is minister ridden, and religion is the opiate of the masses, upon whom rests her power base.
Introductions were made by the Deputy Mayor, Leonard Redon, who was dragged out from either a hospital bed or rehab to perform at this event. Nobody has seen too much of him since his arrest for DWI more than two years ago. Redon was in charge of announcing all of the political dignitaries present, mispronouncing most of the names of people who are far more famous than he will ever be.
Maggie Brooks and hubby were there, too. She just can't stay out of the limelight, like dirty old men in their trench coats. Redon never mentioned them at all. They are just too unsavory to be associated with.
Chris Sirchio, CEO of North American Breweries, was up at the podium next. Since he owns Genesee Brewery and was therefore the host, that was to be expected. He went on to talk about the brewery and its goals.
Bob Doofus, ex police chief, ex mayor, ex lieutenant governor, currant big shit at the Rochester Business Alliance and accomplished political con man came up next. He was praising Mayor Warren, whose candidacy for mayor he opposed in 2013.
Still a smarmy, hypocritical sonofabitch.
Then, enter the mayor.
These are just some observations.
Lovely Warren is an attractive woman who usually knows how to present herself before a crowd. Red is definitely her color, and her red gown highlighted by black stones and black pumps were stunning.
She should have shot her make-up artist, however. Whoever did her up failed to account for the harsh lights, under which her features looked washed out and pale.
For the next forty-five minutes we got to hear how much she was doing or going to do for Rochester.
She described that she would be bolstering the power of the city's Office of Public Integrity, which was a subtle swipe at County Executive Cheryl DiNolfo, whose lying over the I-Square fuck up has lost her a great deal of respect and might probably make her a "one hit wonder" in that office.
We got to hear how crime is flat and at the lowest level in decades. Shootings are up, but the police department's clearance rate is at 80%.
She failed to mention where most of the homicides took place: in the ghetto.
She mentioned how the fire department installed hundreds of smoke detectors and CO2 detectors last year.
This makes Rochester a good place for investment. It has already produced thousands of jobs here.
In the same breath, she mentioned the ugly but true fact that for it's size, Rochester is the worst in the nation for child poverty.
I guess all the jobs coming here haven't made a dent in that yet.
She mentioned how Rochester has continually reinvented itself. It will now be the photonics capital of the world.
Nobody has every explained what photonics is, what it does and when it will start here. Everyone says that it will bring a lot of jobs. It is the new panacea to Rochester's ills, whatever it is.
She went on to talk about building up both the neighborhoods and downtown Rochester, filling in the northern Inner Loop in the process. That's a pretty stupid idea. It will create more traffic along the main streets, which are already congested enough during the daytime. Since there is nothing in downtown after dark worth going to, the Inner Loop provides a quick way of circumventing the nothingness that downtown has become.
There was also talk of more subsidized housing in Rochester, probably located at the filled-in portions of the northern Inner Loop, just adjacent to the ghetto.
Mayor Warren proceeded to talk about her literacy campaign, which was honest and to the point. Her team has put more books into the hands of children. But then, so has one of the local Rotary Clubs.
She further mentioned that through her efforts ( yeah? ) 94% of Rochester's four year olds are in Pre-K. That is remarkable, given the better than 50% truancy rate our city schools have on any given day.
She then proceeded to talk about the dismal state of Rochester's schools, which are the worst in the state and among the worst in the nation.
The mayor wants our schools to become beacons in our neighborhoods, and singled out school 17 as a shining example.
It isn't. Check out its truancy rates and incidents of violence.
The mayor also wants to have a greater role in Rochester's schools, especially those in state receivership, although she does not want mayoral control of the schools.
That is asinine.
The current system of an elected school board, combined with uncaring or absent parents, has the created the shithole Rochester's schools have become. The mayor doesn't want to control the schools because it would eliminate that same school board that is home to some of her friends that have fucked up the schools.
I have stated previously that I do not like the concept of mayoral control of the schools, but the time has come for a radical solution that the mayor lacks the courage to contemplate. She wants a half assed compromise that really won't solve anything, but that won't hurt her friends.
For more, you can check the local news media who taped the whole pantomime.
When it was over, and everyone was rushing to leave, City Hall employees ( who made up the majority of the audience because they had to be there ) were saying how wonderful the mayor was.
After all, she pays them.
I will admit that to accomplish anything worthwhile takes time, and that everyone wants something that the city is expected to foot the bill that adds more to the "to do" list.
But the mayor hasn't explained how more bread and circuses coming soon will change the sense of entitlement many Rochesterians have, demanding something for nothing in return.