Transcript: Need to Know Rochester for April 9, 2010

JULIE: COMING UP ON NEED TO KNOW, MOVING FORWARD WITH HIGH SPEED RAIL AND A NEW DOWNTOWN STATION LINKING ROCHESTER'S PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEMS.  WE TALK WITH CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER.  ALSO, ROCHESTER'S GANDHI INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS A NEW KIND OF PEACE MOVEMENT TAKING HOLD AROUND THE WORLD.

 

VO: ROCHESTER'S NEWS MAGAZINE SINCE 1997, THIS IS NEED TO KNOW,

 

JULIE: I'M JULIE PHILIPP, THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME FOR THIS EDITION OF NEED TO KNOW.

 

WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM ACCOMPLISHED, AREA CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER IS TURNING TO SOME OF HER OTHER TOP PRIORITIES.  ON RECESS THIS WEEK, SHE JOINED FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD AT ROCHESTER'S AMTRAK STATION FOR AN UPDATE ON HIGH SPEED RAIL.  I SPOKE WITH HER EARLIER IN THE WEEK ABOUT THAT PROJECT.

_________________

 

Julie: U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray Lahood, is in Rochester this week talking about highspeed rail, something you worked so hard on.  Can you talk about where that projects stands?

 

Louise: Yes.  Yes.  I'm so happy to do it.  First, Ray Lahood and I were friends in the House.  I think we've been kindred spirits foreverm, and its so nice to have somebody as easy to work with as Ray, as the Secretary of Transportation.  I was talking to him about the extraordinary air fares that we have here, and he said, you know, having had to fly from Peoria, Illinois every week, when he was in the House, to Washington, he understands our problems.  He's been absolutely wonderful on the high-speed rail.  We're-One of the first things I did when I was first elected to Congress, was put some money in to study a high-speed rail in Bar Corridor, that was 24 years ago.  I've always thought it was shameful that America didn't have high-speed rail.  The rest of the world is so far ahead of us, but we always did more.  That seemed to be what we used for all our money for.  And I am so excited about the fact this president understood the need for it.  I think rail is part of our national security.  We found that out after 9/11, when they cancelled all flights for a while, and everybody was scrambling out of Washington to get to the rail service.  And people who lived in New York City were lucky, but it would take me a day and a half or more, to get from Washington up here.  I mean, I can probably do about as well in a Conestoga Wagon, but it really has troubled me for a long, long time how poor the rail service is.   

 

Julie: So we're starting to see some funding coming in for the corridor, between Buffalo and Albany, but not nearly enought to call it a done deal. 

 

Louise: Oh, we knew we weren't going-- Oh, it's a done deal.  Let me tell you, they're not going to start this work up here and then drop it, that's not going to happen.  As a matter of fact we already got an addition to the money we were given from the stimulus package,  AARA.  We've gotten about 5 million more to start this summer on signaling and crossings.  Now we're really luckier than most places in the country, because we're building on a track that has been there since mid-19th century there, the 1800s we had that track.  New York Central had four tracks, and at this point CSX, the freight hauler only uses two them.  So there are two unused news tracks there.  We want to buy one, or at least one from them.  That is going to be the high-speed rail.  Now, if you were to take the train now, remember that you can't fly from the second, third, fourth largest cities in New York; you cannot find your capital.  The only way we can go here is to go to, through cars.  Or to get on the train, not really kowing what time it would arrive here to leave, and having no idea when you would arrive at the other end, because you didn't know how long you're going to be sidetracked, to let the freight go by.  Now, people keep saying, oh no, this will never work.  This will work.  We've got so many college students here, that we want to make this an intermodal station, we had the meeting on that this morning, so that e can combine bus and rail as well as city busses we hope. 

 

Julie: In downtown Rochester?

 

Louise: At the railroad station.  That's were it will be, our new station, if we follow through. 

 

Julie: Is there funding for that part of the project? Is that included in the stimulus funding or this something new?

 

Louise: That's something new, but we're going to be able to handle that.  That way everybody understands it, this present station was built in 1979 as a temporary station, so for over 30 years, of course it's not ADA compliant, there's nothing really outstanding you could say about it, but we think we can help bring back the whole part of the City as well.

 

Julie: So to make this intermodal station, where-is the funding secured for that?  It there a timeline set for this project? 

 

Louise:  We are getting to it-we're working on that timeline.  One of the things we got in the stimulus package was some money for-to fix up the station, and I said no, I want to transfer that to a new station.  Because I see no reason in the world to work on a station that's not going to last more than one or two more years.  And it will take two to three years to get high-speed rail built completely across the state; however, they're going to be working simultaneouslu at various points across the state, so then we can link it all up. 

 

Julie: And so this new station won't be where the current station is?

 

Louise: Yes, it will

 

Julie: It will be.  It will just completely replace the current station.

 

Louise: Has to.

 

Julie: Okay.

 

Louise: And you should know that the trailways and Greyhound are already over there in temporary quarters, which they say is doing very well.  That their business has picked up, that people are happier to come over there.  They can park.  It's so much easier for them than it was in Mid-town. 

 

Julie: So, your best projection: when will you be buying a ticket at the Rochester Train Station and getting on the high-speed rail. 

 

Louise: High-speed rail?  I think two to three years. 

 

Julie: Okay.  Now before you left for recess, Congress passed this little health-care bill. 

 

Louise: Wow.

 

Julie: You've been in Congress now for nearly a quarter of a century.  What was that victory like compared to others in your career?

 

Louise: Well, anything-what we're doing is really trying is to make the human condition better, to try to move the United States forward; this was a giant leap forward for us.  We really joined the community of industrial nations, when we decided we would ensure 95 percent of the persons who live in America, with health care.  It's absolutely going to be so wonderful.  One the things we think, is we're going to unleash a lot of creativity.  People who have been stuck in dead-end jobs because of their health insurance, and they didn't dare leave it, because perhaps they or a child had a preexisting condition, that they knew would make it impossible, in many cases, to get any further insurance.  We think what it's going to do for small businesses is really quite wonderful.  So many small businesses wanna provide health insurance, but starting now there will be a 34 percent deduction on taxes for them for each of employee they insure.  In  2014, it will be 50 percent, for small businesses -- people with less than 50 employees.  And I think that's a remarkable achievement, but it was really good considering the fact that Teddy Roosevelt was the first president, we know of, who started to talk about it.  And six or eight presidents since then, have tried to make it a centerpiece of what they were doing, and they all failed.  But Nancy Pelosi made it.

 

Julie: And a little help from you and others in the Congress:

 

Louise: Well, I tell you, the credit, I think, for this bill, really goes to her.  She's pretty remarkable.  There was a piece in the paper about her a couple days ago, that I thought really was so fitting.  Her father was the mayor of Baltimore, she was born into a political family.  She probably is the best of vote counter on the face of the earth.  Always was.  She is an extraordinary leader, and people trust her.  The Democrat party, like lots of other things, is broken up into a number of factions, we have the Blue Dogs and Procrastinates, and so forth.  They all trust her, and with good reason.  And whenever we would see any flagging going on it the Senate, or any problem, it was Nancy that put that back together. 

 

Julie: Now it was hard work, but at the same time you were trying to work hard to get that vote.  The vote that you needed.  You were getting threats: phone calls, threats against your family.  What's happening with those invesigations?

 

Louise: The FBI found a person who made a phone call and the rock or brick that was thrown through there, the FBI is still working on that.  I think that-I'm not supposed to discuss it, so I won't, but I will certainly say that they arrested the person who made threats to Senator Patty Murray, threatened to kill her.  She-I think people should know that the internet is not that anonymous, and that phones can be traced, and they should worry about the FBI a little bit if they're going to threaten other people's lives. 

 

Julie: Has anything like that happened to you before?

 

Louise: Yes it has, as a matter of fact.  I think I probably got more threats back in the rare, early days, before was elected to office, we tried to save woods in Fairport and it was declared a national landmark.  There were people who didn't want that saved.  My middle daughter picked up the phone, she must have been about eight at the time, and said-they said: your mother's dead.  Fortunately, I was in the kitchen with her at the time, but no we.  And people call the house two o'clock in the morning, they did it so regularly, that after they stopped we woke up anyway.  During and after probably was the worst.  I had one man who wanted to decapitate me, and the FBI did look into that one, and it turned out to be an executive of one of our major corporations.  So yes, I've had it before. 

 

Julie: Okay.  Finally.

 

Louise: I'm not afraid of that. 

 

Julie: I guess not.  I just want to ask you finally when you get back to Washington, what's next on your agenda?

 

Louise: Jobs.  The economy.  And that's not-we've not been neglecting that.  We've been working on that all the way through.  The stimulus package was, I think, the first big tranche.  It really tried to get people back to work.  It should of been a better bill.  We wanted more in there for public works, but again in the vain try to get Republican votes, we watered it down too much.  And so we're not getting the bang for the buck, but the economy is turning around.  New York Times front page has a really good story on that today, and a year ago, this month, we lost about 175,000 jobs in that month alone.  Last month we gained 162,000.  So while that's-we understand that a lot of these jobs are not coming back, so we're creating a brand new economy out there right now.  A lot of it's going to be green jobs and energy deficient jobs.

 

Julie: So what specifically will you be working on when you get?

 

Louise: Well, we're going to try to get the energy bill to pass, but we-the House passed 290 bills the senate didn't touch.  And within many of those bills, there were already jobs that were built-in, that we could have had hundreds of thousands more people working, I think, had they been able to pass those bills.

 

_________________

 

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER OF THE 28TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.  I ALSO TALKED WITH THE REGION'S TWO FRESHMAN REPRESENTATIVES, REPUBLICAN CHRIS LEE AND DEMOCRAT DAN MAFFEI.  WE WILL BRING YOU THOSE INTERVIEWS NEXT WEEK ON NEED TO KNOW.

 

THE GANDHI INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER INVITED TWO PEOPLE TO CAMPUS TO TALK ABOUT TEACHING PEACE AROUND THE WORLD.  DR. DOROTHY MAVER OF THE NATIONAL PEACE ACADEMY IN CLEVELAND, AND RITA MARIE JOHNSON OF THE ACADEMY FOR PEACE IN COSTA RICA ARE HERE IN STUDIO TO TALK ABOUT THEIR EFFORTS.  THANK YOU both for joining me today.

Now when you're given three wishes there's that standard wish for world peace but it's almost said as a joke, it seems so unattainable, you're taking a different tack to that, you're wishing that.

 

(Dorothy) we're knowing that it's beyond possible. It actually already exists in many ways and in many places and If it exhists it is possible and In Costa Rica there is an infrastructure.

 

(Julie) well first let's define peace, what you see as peace and second talk about what a peace infrastructure actually is.

 

 

(Dorothy) the National peace academy is defining peace actually taken from the earth charter, which you may be familiar with, it's learning to live in right relationship with self, others, and the world around us.

(Julie) Do you have anything to add to that?

 

(Rita) We use the exact same definition and I don't find any better definition than the one from the Earth Charter. and in Costa Rico we have been making that real.  We've been developing a national model that is based on right relationship and its holistic in its approach we teach peace from the inside out we have peace teachers that are teaching peace in the public school systems. we have a top down effort with the government. we have ministry for Peace in Costa Rica.

 we also have the nonprofit organizations that are engaged with us in working with the new ministry for peace in an alliance we've got these relationships built on relationship with ourself, through peace practice called Be peace and the relationship of the teachers in the school systems with teacher, students and parents and the relationship of the government with the schools and the leaders of the country and then with the non-profits so that we have a complete holistic model.

 

(Julie) so the infastructure is basically the connection of all the groups and educators and anyone who might be dealing withthe topic or concept of peace.So where do we stand in the US in terms of an infastructure of peace?

 

(dorothy) In the US we are actually closer than we think, let me set a context briefly, we're going through an all systems breakdown which is not news to any of us it's very painful right now, it's very challenging for this country and for that matter around the world in the US, I would say  what we're recognizing is that with the shift and What is happening dissolving breaking down there has to be A move through point As we move through it era of competition and separateness we need to move to a time of cooperation and togetherness and I would go so far as to say oneness, we're all in this together and as we recognize that, our question consistently with our colleagues in the United States and throughout the world is how do we create systems and structures that are from within this emerging view point, of spirit of cooperation and unity and our interconnectedness, etc. and so in this country more and more of us are taking a stakeholder approach.   That's how we designed the peace academy, government, business, and civil society, with a focus on education through all of those arms and saying that we need an institution at the National level that serves as connective tissue making visable all the great programs that are already happening throughout our school systems at universities, through the Ghandi institute here, medicenter out in Berkley and universities and colleges.

(Julie) we just heard from Congressman Luis slaughter she talked about political partisanship and how difficult it is in government today to get compromise, she talked about receiving threats due to her voting, it really seems that we may have all these great things we may have this national academy trying to connect them all but we're not moving in that direction necessarily

 

(Dorothy) we're living in a violent culture and I have great respect for Louise Slaughter and her fearless, courageous stance in congress right now. here we are living in a moment where violence as we see it in the media, we experience it, many of us, there's almost no degree of separation for any of us any more, so how is it, in this transition time that we make the shift in reaction to move in the direction of what Im going to call a culture of peace, where children are safe and secure and they know that their loved and celebrated in schools and that we help develop, safe, healthy, sustainable communities its happening throughout the United States were not yet seeing it.

 

(Julie)Now you are in Costa Rica, what is life like? You are from the United States, you moved there because there was no army in Costa Rica 15-20 years ago,  how is the culture different with a peace infastructure in place and working?

When Costa Rica abolished the army it was kind of out of the blue and at that time they didn't identify with peace butbecasue of that  one decision that  was initiated by one man he just had a good idea and everybody said ok and so they didn't have an army any longer and he began to get international recognition for standing for peace and they began to take pride in that.  and then they made another decision for peace in 1997 they passed the peace education law that requires peace education in every classroom. they have a University for peace in Costa Rica and many other decisions for peace. so because of that really now it's in the blood of the people they take pride in that I've never met a Costa Rican that doesn't want their country to stand for peace and yet they've had increasing violence like many countries and so that's why we've made these efforts, to strengthen the national model of peace so we've initiated this bill for ministry for peace and we teach peace teachers in the school systems how to establish a social and emotional environment that is based on peace.

(Julie) and what sort of outcomes do you see from that?

 

(Rita) one of the measurable ones that we've had from that is a reduction in what they call, 'punishment tickets' in costa rica.  essentially when a student misbehaves they get this ticket and they have to take it home to their parent and they get a lesser grade on a report card and behavior and so on and so we saw an immediate reduction from 16 to 9 per month and so we know that the longer that  we're in the school, this was just after a few months of being in the schools, that the longer we're in the school we can bring that number to zero that we don't have to rely on punishment anymore to have changes in behavior. that if we teach kids what to do and not punish them for what we don't want them do what we want them to do and it's about connecting it's about getting in touch with themselves and really knowing their feelings and needs and being able to work in cooperation with other students to get their needs met too. that we believe it's possible to get everybody's needs met when we know how to go about it.

 

(Julie)So it sounds like this is long term work that you're going to start at a very young age, that's where it's going to start, I found it interesting, one of the goals of your organization is to develop peace building as a professional career choice that's a very interesting career. what will the training be?

 

(Dorothy) we're looking at four cornerstones, peace education, theory to practice, peace research and taking a positive peace research approach looking at why do certain communities live in harmony and sustainability and right relationship rather than always looking at whats wrong,  peace policy, for systems, politics etc. and then peace practice inner and outer. so we see all of the corriculum  pieces already exist and as Rita explained there are some that are already in development now, that need to be brought to the floor.

 

(Julie) so one day you can say I want to grow up and be a peace builder then?

 

(Dorothy) that's right and already things like those already exist.  There are people doing conflict resolution, here in Rochester., Rochester Restorative, with restorative justice. 

 

(Julie) we are out of time thank you for coming in, have a very peaceful weekend.

 

 

THANK YOU DR. DOROTHY MAVER OF THE NATIONAL PEACE ACADEMY IN CLEVELAND AND RITA MARIE JOHNSON OF THE ACADEMY FOR PEACE IN COSTA RICA.  IT'S TIME NOW FOR THE BUSINESS SECTION WITH THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.

 

MATT DANEMAN, BUSINESS REPORTER FOR THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. 

Joins us as he does every Friday we talked last week a little bit about Kodak's executive compensation this week we're going to talk a little bit about Xerox.

 

(Matt) Xerox numbers for 2009 came out, first of all Burns, CEO of Xerox got a big raise in 2009 and she had a big promotion becoming CEO. in 2008 she pocketed stock, cash, worth about 6.8 Million, In 2009 it was closer to 11 million in the grand scheme of things she's not one of the most richly rewarded CEO's she's not like the head of Oracle Corp. which pocketed 84 million on the other hand she's not Warren Buffet who recieves frm the company $200,000 or Steve Jobs who recieves almost nothing,  these people just have huge amount of stock ownerships in these companies, so she's well within the bell curve of compensation.  It's probably little consolation to the Xerox employees who in 2009 had salary freezes, for the retirees who have seen their health-care benefits cut , its always a hot button issue for a lot of people because in the United States we have two strain of thoughts, what we want the market to pay, what the market can pay and on the other hand there's a certain amount of  unfairness.

 

(julie) But if your compensation is tied to the performance of the company it could be seen as a good sign.

 

(Matt)  exactly so. It was the fall in the case for Kodak where alot of Antonio Perez's raise that he got in 2009 was tied to company performance.  It was  somewhat the situation with Xerox though not nearly as much.  they did change the terms somewhat of how Performance compensation was going to be linked tied to as well , it was tied to stock performance  as opposed to meeting certain Business goals certain type of the compensation, Xerox is still not a compnay that has totally turned the corner yet from the recession.So it's not the fact that she made alot more money that 'hey' things are great at Xerox, yet.

 

(Julie) she's going to be a busy woman this year she has some new duties.

 

(Matt)  exactly so,  in May when they have a shareholders meeting it's almost a sure thing that she will be named chairwoman of the board as well.  and it's sort of an end of an era for Xerox, it's going to be really interesting going forward with Ursula Burns coming forward with a technology background Vs. the sales background so different skill sets one big question who will be president and predecessor when she retires 5-10 years down the road?

 

(Julie) but let's talk about some reports that came out  from care stream and constellation Brand's.

 

(Matt)  here are two companies, both significant employers in the Rochester area both have differing success stories right now. care stream probably held, we don't get a good insight in its results but once a year they have this big meeting where they invite all sorts of companies that sell to care stream

which is into medical imaging,  they had a pretty good year there revenues were down close to 4% which in this economy was not bad,  profits were up for the Rochester economy its a mixed thing, its also a shrunken company from when it was founded in 2007 it employes about 1100 now vs. 1400 there but signs are hopeful that they've got longterm health in Rochester.

 

(Julie) Let's touch on Constellation Brands.

 

(Matt) The wine and Liquor company has made a real big strategic move over the last couple years to focus on high end brands and thats notpaying off hugely well right now during the recession, as the restaurant industry is off and people are choosing to stick with lower end beverages constellation is having some difficulties they're reporting business is off a little bit, they still posted a profit in the recent quarter but was their revenues were quite a bit lower than what wall street had expected and their projections are that great from what wallstreet wants either.

MATT DANEMAN, BUSINESS REPORTER FOR THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.  I'M JULIE PHILIPP.  JOIN ME NEXT WEEK AS WE SIT DOWN WITH FRESHMAN REPRESENTATIVES DAN MAFFEI AND CHRIS LEE.  HAVE A GREAT WEEK.

 

(ANNCR) Previous Need To Know broadcasts can be seen if you have Time Warner's on demand service. Go to Rochester On Demand channel 111. Then look for WXXI news. There you'll find a selection of recent Need To Know Programs.

»