Editorial -- Candidates have spoken — now it’s your turn
From this moment on, ignore what the political pundits are saying. Don’t concern yourself with the latest polling data. Pretend you’ve never seen one of those "Projected Electoral College" maps.
And whatever you do, don’t tell yourself "The candidate I like is going to win easily anyway," or "My candidate has no shot, so I’ll sit this one out."
The candidates, media analysts and political consultants have had months to present their messages, but now the only message that really matters is the one that will be sent Tuesday by America’s voters.
Make your voice heard. Make your vote count.
Yes, you may have to stand in line longer than usual, if voter turnout is anything close to what’s expected. Be patient and tolerant. Bring a book to read, or (gasp!) initiate a conversation with the stranger next to you. Make the best of the situation, and if there’s any confusion when you reach the front of the line, don’t take it out on the election judges.
These volunteers have a long day ahead of them, and they deserve our respect and gratitude.
Liking cheap gasoline
In March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than they did in March 2007. In May, we put 10 billion fewer miles on our odometers than we did in the previous year. Ditto for July. In August, the drop was even bigger — 15 billion miles.
That’s what happens when gas prices across much of the nation are between $3.90 and $4.50 per gallon.
But we’ll be very curious to see the data from September and especially October when it becomes available. Will a 50 percent drop in the price of gasoline prompt America to return to its free-wheeling ways? Or will we take the lessons of the past year to heart, making fuel conservation a permanent part of our mind-set?
We’re rooting for the latter possibility, and our motivation is quite selfish: We like $2 gas.
Make no mistake — our oil-producing "friends" in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran Kuwait and Venezuela are paying very close attention to what’s happening in the U.S. right now. They’d like nothing more than to see some slippage in our collective resolve to "drive smarter," walk whenever possible, use public transportation, develop alternative fuels and build vehicles that use less fossil fuel — or none at all. If they sense we’re backsliding, prices will go up.
Let’s keep the pressure on. The nations that supply our oil already know the tipping point at which we’ll get serious about saving gas — $4 seemed to do the trick — but let’s keep them guessing about how low the price must go before we’ll resume our bad habits.
Speak up on budget cuts
Thursday at 6:30 p.m., members of the Rochester public schools’ Budget Reduction Committee will be at each of the city’s three public high schools to receive input from the public.
They need all the ideas they can get, because the district must trim more than $10 million from its projected 2009-10 budget. No matter how you look at it, there are tough choices ahead involving personnel and programs. Some extra-curricular programs and activities that are "revenue-negative" could be reduced eliminated, despite the fact that they do much do enrich the education our students receive.
There will be no winners when this process is over, and the only thing that’s certain is that there will be pain and hurt feelings. The Budget Reduction committee’s job is difficult, and the school board’s will be even tougher when the final decisions must be made.
But we encourage you to attend these public-input sessions and make your feelings known. Failure to do so only increases the likelihood that the budget cuts will have a direct, negative impact on your child’s education.