skyline Commentary, analysis and essays
This is Rochester
   These authors consistently offer thought-provoking perspective on a variety of local, national or international issues as well as more than a few off-the-wall topics.
  David Andreatta
   The Democrat and Chronicle news columnist leans neither left nor right. Rather, he's more than happy to call out Rochester's vast array of do-nothing politicians from either side of the aisle, lobby in support of those whose voices ordinarily wouldn't be heard and from time to time explore the goofier aspects of life in the state's third-largest city.
   A playright in his spare time, he understands how to turn a phrase and make people pay attention. Enjoy him while you can, since his employer has a long history of not being able to stomach columnists who dare to have an opinion that might rub certain people the wrong way.

  Tom Belknap
   The "about us" page sums up what you can expect from its unconventional conversation starter. "DragonFlyEye.Net is Rochester's most questionable source for science, technology and political news. Since the beginning of the 21st century, DFE has brought Rochester a mix of commentary, news and insight that is exclusive, original and timely. Also: awesome."
   Tom Belknap, a web developer, started DFE as a website in 2000 and flipped it into a blog in 2004, which means he's been assessing the local scene online for a good deal longer than most even if he's not a traditional journalist.

  David Cay Johnston
   Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston is the president of the 4,200-member Investigative Reporters & Editors -- and he leads by example. The veteran New York Times reporter won his Pulitzer in 2001 for uncovering loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code.
   The Rochester-based writer, a native of San Francisco, has authored the best-selling books "Perfectly Legal" and "Free Lunch," and his latest effort, "The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind." He frequently debunks fiscal myths and cuts through the gibberish in his column for Reuters.

  Bob Lonsberry
   His conservative views aired weekday mornings on WHAM-AM attract a loyal following as well as a steady stream of static for Bob Lonsberry. However, his years of experience as a newspaper reporter and columnist -- as opposed to the basement-boy superficiality of critics who accuse him of race-baiting -- gives Lonsberry credibility and a wealth of reliable sources.
   His running battle with former mayor Bill Johnson served as local amusement. Time has shown Lonsberry has a better grasp of city issues than did the man whose time in office coincided with bleak years for Rochester.

  Mark Rice
   Mark Rice, chairman of American Studies at St. John Fisher College, has authored "Through the Lens of the City: NEA Photography Surveys of the 1970s" (University Press of Mississippi, 2005) and a number of scholarly articles.
   His fascinating "Ranking America" blog, which aggregates data on a vast array of topics and from a variety of sources, strives to help visitors to his blog better understand how the United States rates globally in the respective categories.
   Rice has written for and Huffington Post in between teaching and writing.

  Mary Anna Towler
   Mary Anna Towler is editor, co-publisher, and co-founder of "City," the highly influential weekly publication in Rochester. In past days when Democrat and Chronicle editorial views were conservative or at least passable for middle of the road, Towler served as loyal oppostion on the left.
   She remains liberal (and makes no apology for it) while scoring points among even those on the other side of the spectrum by averaging out bouts of shallowness within the daily paper's op/ed agenda and remaining focused on plausible solutions to Rochester's many woes.

  Christopher Wilmot
   Former Monroe County legislator Christopher Wilmot founded and wrote for the Smugtown Beacon website, one of the more interesting local new-media enterprises, from 2007-14 and followed up with, where he writes from time to time.
   An entrepreneur with a history in screenplays and film production, he had previous stints as a Washington, D.C., lobbyist for an environmental organization and in the the General Services Administration as part of the Bill Clinton transition team in 1992, which may lend insight as to his political POV.