Written January 14, 2017     
 

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© 2017 Bob Lonsberry

 
 
JIM SHEPPARD FOR ROCHESTER

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It’s not close.

Jim Sheppard is Rochester’s best choice for mayor.

He’s older and wiser. He’s seen more and done more. He’s been there for a generation, serving his city and its people in ways and situations which most other folks can’t even imagine.

Jim Sheppard has sat beside grieving mothers as they learn their sons have been lost to the evil of violence. He has used his own body as a shield for women and children being attacked in their homes. He has taken homeless people out of the cold of a freezing night, and put food in bellies that otherwise would have stayed empty and pained.

He has talked down the stoned and enraged, and brought calm to chaos and fear.

He has spent his entire adult life answering when people called for help.

And wading in where people feared to go. When people need to be stood up to, Jim Sheppard stands up to them. Whether that’s an angry man with a gun, or an arrogant man with political power, Jim Sheppard doesn’t flinch.

He has gone before City Council to argue for a budget, he has gone before angry residents to get them change, he has stood before the sons of Rochester and said, “You can be like me.” He was chosen by Governor Cuomo to stand tall and speak loud in defense of progressive principle. He has demonstrated in his life and his choices that poverty and adversity and racism can be overcome by someone who works hard and chooses right.

And Rochester needs that example.

Rochester needs that servant.

It needs a mayor who knows how to lead and manage, who has been responsible for hundreds of employees and millions of dollars, who can read a spread sheet as well as he can a child’s face. It needs someone who can give an order and make sure it gets followed, who can hear a community and make sure it gets served.

It needs a leader who can talk to a runaway teen or a university president and treat them both with respect and kindness, and leave them both better for his time.

Most of all, the people of Rochester need a mayor who’s in it or them.

And Jim Sheppard has always been in it for them.

That’s what this campaign is about. He isn't running for mayor, he's running for Rochester. Neither Jim Sheppard’s ego nor his wallet need this job. He’s earned a good pension, and he got to the very top of his profession. He’s punched his ticket and grabbed his brass ring. He doesn’t need to be mayor to pay his bills.

But he wants to be mayor to pay the debt of service that his father taught him all decent people owe. He’s been blessed, and instead of kicking back and enjoying the view, he’s reaching back and bringing others up with him. He doesn’t just want to run a city, he wants to serve its people – by giving them safer, more prosperous neighborhoods and lives.

He sees, like everyone sees, that things have not gotten better. More sons are dying, more mothers are fearing, more children are going without. And yet, other than stories about crime, if you watched the evening news you wouldn’t think that Rochester was anything other than a bunch of tall buildings downtown. You’d think that the issues of the city were primarily the interests of a bunch of white developers downtown.

They are intent on gentrifying old office buildings and warehouses, but they seem blind to the lives and needs of the people who live a half a mile in any direction. They talk endlessly about Parcel 5, but don’t give a damn about the rotting parcels across the neighborhoods where houses and families once represented Rochester’s true heart.

These days, City Hall is on the wrong side of the Inner Loop. What Rochester needs is a mayor who can understand and support the downtown developers, but not kiss their asses and pretend that they are the priority of this city. Downtown needs a mayor who has a clue, and the rest of the city needs a mayor who has a heart.

Jim Sheppard’s got both.

Sadly, the current administration isn’t working. Oh, it’s putting money in the pockets of a few select people, but it has done nothing to measurably improve the lives of the residents of Rochester. When you’ve got the nation’s worst poverty rate and the nation’s worst schools – and they’re not getting any better – you need a course correction.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, you don’t try it again.

The third campaign in this race has sadly chosen to disrespect and mock Jim Sheppard. To call him “Chief Ding-a-ling.” To take away from him the respect that his whole life has earned.

To treat this black man the way too many black men have been treated for too many years.

If the white lady’s campaign wants to mock the black man, it won’t be the first time.

But voters can make it the last time.

And voters can recognize that in addition to character and grit, their mayor’s got to have his head on straight. He’s got to know that bicycle lanes and filled-in inner loops and rainwater conservation projects do nothing but mock the daunting lack of prosperity and opportunity too many Rochesterians face. He’s got to know that progressivism is beneficial if it is practical – if it truly lifts people and places. It’s one thing to talk about glory, it’s something else to actually get there. And Rochester has talked too long, it’s time to go somewhere and get something done.

Jim Sheppard knows the needs, streets and people of Rochester – all of Rochester – far better than his opponents. He hasn’t watched it from the TV-camera side of the police line, or from the inside of a shiny black SUV. He has been there, in person, at all times of the day and night. He has powerfully represented in the legislature the people of the South Wedge and the neighborhoods eastward. He has unfailingly served the people of Jefferson Avenue and Clinton Avenue and every other corner of this city.

In the halls of power and the homes of people, he is a good and true man.

He has sat down with millionaires, and broken bread with barbers. He knows the fears and concerns of mothers and businessmen, and he will serve them both without shorting either.

It’s not close.

Jim Sheppard is Rochester’s best choice for mayor.


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2017

   
        
   
 
    
Date Title Comments
Mar 28 THOSE KIDS WHO WERE LEFT AT THE MALL 29
Mar 27 THE RECENT REPUBLICAN FIASCO 2
Mar 25 DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? 18
Mar 24 AN EMBARRASSING DAY TO BE A REPUBLICAN 21
Mar 18 IN FAIRNESS TO LOVELY ... 16
Mar 17 HOW LOVELY COST ROCHESTER $25 MILLION 14
Mar 16 WHAT I WOULD SAY TO CHUCK SCHUMER 7
Mar 3 THE STORY OF CHARLOTTE LAHR 31
Feb 26 ROCHESTER PD NEEDS TO MAN UP 27
Feb 23 ROCHESTER, A SANCTUARY CITY 16
Feb 7 ONE CROWDED MINUTE 14
Feb 4 IS THIS A CIVIL WAR? 29
Feb 3 TEXT OF MEMO ON ROCHESTER BLACK LIVES MATTER DAY 11
Jan 31 THE BOYISH SCOUTS OF AMERICA 0
Jan 23 ARE MOVIE SUBSIDIES POLITICAL PAYOLA? 8
Jan 9 RUSSIA IS A DIVERSION 0
Dec 27 CARL PALADINO'S POLITICAL OBITUARY 5
Dec 19 MY STORY OF IRVING FELDMAN 45
Dec 14 SLIPS OF PAPER HIGHLIGHT HYPOCRISY 3
Dec 12 ON RUSSIA, PUTIN, OBAMA AND TRUMP 0
  Previous Titles »  


      
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