Labor Day Parade
Rochester gathered for its annual Labor Day parade on September 3 2012. Local unions were out represnting and political candidates followed. Of note was the less than welcome reception given the delegation of Congressional candidate Maggie Brooks. Republican Brooks is challenging incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter for her seat in the US House of Representatives. Brooks is currently the Monroe County executive and has pursued a strong anti-labor and pro-corporate agenda. Slaughter is considered one of Labor's staunchest allies in Congress. Brooks' contingent in the parade was booed, but in what was obviously a prepared response, the marchers began cheering and making noise themselves, drowning out the hecklers.
An issue of strong local importance is hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for natural gas. It has caused earthquakes and poisoned water supplies in other states where it is permitted. While Monroe County is well north of the coveted Marcellus shale where the frackers want to drill, Brooks has expressed interest in having the County accept waste water from fracking operations for treatment in its sewage plants. Fracking wells can produce up to 5 million gallons of contaminated water. The County's treatment plants were designed to remove human sewage. Fracking water contains a cocktail of toxic chemicals the fracking companies won't even reveal the identities of. It has also been found to contain radioactive substances such as radium.
Grafitti artists were out the night before drawing anti-fracking messages on streets and sidewalks to greet parade goers. Writing on sidewalks with chalk is not illegal in Rochester since it is not permanent. The heavy rain that fell the day after Labor Day likely washed it away, so here are some pictures of the art work.