Update 19 May 2022

President’s Message Karen Emerson

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Karen V. Emerson

“When you see bad things in the world you can either do nothing or do something. Well, I tried ‘nothing’…” Capt. Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Wonder Woman

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could call on the Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Spiderman or any of the other super heroes to help us with the increase in violence in our city!!! I have to confess, I am not a superhero movie fan. My first super hero movie was Spider Man at the IMAX theatre with enhanced Dolby sound. I fell asleep before Peter Parker got bit by the radioactive spider at a science demonstration and well, I just couldn’t  suspend reality for long enough to enjoy. Call me a realist but that how I roll.  If we want to see change we have to become active and do something because as Captain Steve Trevor says we have already tried nothing.

This month I have been meeting with representatives from the city, police, business and social associations in the southwest. We are working on proactive ways to prevent or mitigate violence.  If you have ideas or want to become involved with the issues of public safety please call me.  The conditions which have led to the proliferation of violence are many and varied. Therefore, we need lots of different ideas and actions to help make our neighborhood safe. The city, police, churches, social organizations need the support and energy of neighbors to turn this around.  So my continued plea is step up.  There is much work to be done. You have to show up if you want to get things done.

Things you can do

Clean Sweep May 7th and the second Saturday of each month.

Bull’s Head Environmental cleanup (virtual) May 11th 7-8 pm

Narcan Training (Virtual) May 14 3pm

Arnett Block Club Bike Clinic May 21st

Ease on Down Thurston May 21-28

Square Fair June 4th

Westside Farmers Market 831 Genesee Street Tuesdays starting June 7th

PCIC second Wednesday of the month (currently virtual)

Create a block club

Community Gardens at Thurston and Ravenwood or Thurston and Chili

Rapids Cemetery 2nd and 4th Sundays 1-4pm

Bull’s Head Environmental cleanup (virtual) May 11th 7-8 pm

A small group of neighbors attended the informational session on Bail and Parole reform with Senator Cooney. Unfortunately, Assemblyperson Meeks was unable to join due to COVID.  It was a spirited evening full of information on how these laws affect our neighbors and neighborhood.  The senator was able to shed light on some of the changes to the original law which were made during the budget hearings in Albany. Thanks to Senator Cooney for taking the time to help your neighbors understand this complicated issue.  I am hoping we can have some more discussions like this in the future.

Issues that affect you:

Bull’s Head Environmental Cleanup

Virtual meeting  May 11 Zoom meeting# 641 759 2536  passcode 844440

County/State Redistricting

There is still time to give input on the Monroe County Redistricting of elections. Go to https://monroecountyredistricting.com/  review the maps and make comments. Our Legislative District remains relatively unchanged. As you know, the way voting districts are drawn affects your ability to have the needs and concerns of our neighborhood.

Downtown Revitalization Initiative

I have lived in Rochester since 1974. I remember when the place to be was downtown. There are 13 different ideas for public input. If you are eager to see downtown become vital and vibrant again, please go to https://www.cityofrochester.gov/DRI/  

Please enjoy the warmer weather and get out and get things done.

Karen Emerson, President 19th Ward Community Association


Rapids Cemetery

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Abraham Lincoln Camp 6 will be at Rapids Cemetery for Memorial Day on May 30, 2022, at 9:00 AM. 

Arnett Block Association

Arnett Block Association in collaboration with RCommunity bikes will be hosting a Bike Clinic on May 21st from 1-3 PM at the parking lot beside His Branches 340 Arnett Blvd. I have attached a flyer for the news letter. Thanks so much for helping us get the word out. We will be raffling off 35 rehabbed bikes with helmets and bike locks in addition to doing bike repairs.

NYS Bail Reform and Parole Reform: A Recent Community Conversation

This past month, the Arnett Block Club with the 19th Ward Community Association sponsored a community conversation about Bail & Parole reform. The event was held in the community room at the Arnett Branch library on the evening of Easter Monday, April 18th. Given the need to practice social distancing, it felt like just the right number of neighbors, about 30, showed up for the event. Two legislators were invited to share their thinking with us. Unfortunately for him and for us, Demond Meeks tested positive for Covid the day of the scheduled event and could not attend. We went ahead and held the event with just one or our representatives, New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney.

The impetus to have this meeting grew out of public safety concerns raised at one of the regular meetings of the Arnett Block Club. We realized we all needed to become better informed about both New York State’s Bail Reform and Parole Reform laws. Bail Reform went into effect Jan 1, 2020 and revisions were implemented as of July 1, 2020. Parole Reform, known as The Less is More Act, was signed into law in September 2021 (but some of it didn’t go into effect until March 1, 2022). Most stakeholders were in agreement that reforms to bail and parole were necessary to undo the injustice in the criminal justice system, particularly due to poverty and systemic racism. After the July 1, 2020 law had been in effect for awhile, it became clear there was still room for improvement, especially in regard to potential and real threats to victims of domestic violence, and where guns were involved.

Two members of the RPD, Captain Lucyshyn of the Clinton Section and Sergeant Angel Pagan, were present to share Crime Analysis statistics from 2020-2021. They also told us about two programs that the RPD has implemented to help curb gun violence: The GIVE Initiative—Gun Involved Violence Elimination, which is a key component of New York State’s shooting and homicide reduction strategy—and the Swift, Certain and Fair Program which works to address gun violence committed by younger offenders. These programs look for alternatives to locking people up and allow cases to be handled more leniently.

Jeremy Cooney gave attendees a handout (attached) which summarized additional tweaks to Bail Reform which had just been passed in the NYS 2022 budget. While judges still must choose the least restrictive means to ensure a defendant returns to court, and cannot explicitly assess a defendant’s “dangerousness,” they will need to weigh specific factors in setting bail, including whether a defendant is accused of causing “serious harm” to someone and whether a defendant has a history of using or possessing a gun.   

This conversation with our legislator was an attempt to understand the way forward that New York State is taking.

It seems there is agreement that a good law would not punish poverty, would reduce inherent bias in the system, and would acknowledge the real threat of illegal guns and repeated offenses. But it was clear from the audience questions that finding the right balance between fairness and community safety is never a simple matter. 


Clean Sweep

Narcan Training

Wilson Commencement High School Flag Retirement Ceremony

Ease on Down

Square Fair – June 4 – Please sign up as volunteers, vendors or sponsors

Committee Information

Reach out to our office manager if you would like to get involved.

Delegates Council

Delegates Council will meet virtually 2nd Thursday of each month

Garden Committee

The Garden Committee is enjoying seeing your beautiful gardens bloom.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is in search of a new chair.

Housing Committee

The 19th Ward Housing Committee will be restarting soon. Our meetings generally last about an hour. A City representative from Buildings and Code Enforcement attends to work with us on specific properties, concerns/issues, code enforcement, etc. 

Schools Committee

The schools committee is continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.

Other news

City Extends Deadline for Civilian Public Safety Interview Panel

The City of Rochester is continuing to accept applications from city residents interested in serving on the Civilian Public Safety Interview Panel. The nine- to 12-member panel will interview new-hire candidates for Rochester Police Department officers and provide a recommendation to the Chief of Police. They will interview Officer applicants regarding their views on contemporary policing, culture and race, and familiarity with the Rochester community among other topics.

The new deadline to apply is May 20.

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