Black Leadership Forum Questions & Answers

If you missed the Black Leadership Coalition of CNY's Candidate Forum on October 18th, I'm providing here my written responses to the questions posed to us before the event, we didn't get to answer all of these live due to time constraints.


Q1.  Please define what you believe are the issues that most affect poverty in Syracuse. What are your State Legislative priorities to tackle the problem?


Poverty in Syracuse is a generational issue that has resulted from systemic racism and runaway capitalism.  Examples of this include redlining of neighborhoods, lack of financial services for oppressed communities, displacement from development, and high levels of incarceration for non-violent crimes.  


My legislative priorities at the state level are parallel to local level legislation desires.  First, we must move from regressive taxation bases such as property taxes and sales tax, to progressive income taxes based upon the amount of money an individual or household makes, with no federal cap.  This is a change that could happen at the state level, but could also be implemented at the City level by obtaining a home rule decision to create a 1% capped progressive income tax for all who work in the city regardless of residence.  


Second, we should legalize recreational marijuana use in NY State, and implement reparations for minority communities disproportionately affected by the current laws such as the City of Oakland and the State of Massachusetts have already done, that would provide preferred equity ownership and operation of cannabis businesses.


The City of Syracuse must also strongly advocate for the passage of the NY Health Act, which would provide full and equal health care to everyone in NY State.  This would save Syracuse approximately $80 million dollars annually, lifting us out of our debt crisis, giving us the ability to finance our education needs, and creating healthier people and places.


Q2.  What are your ‘red-line’ issues when it comes to budget votes?


Rather than trying to isolate individual issues, I will consider the budget a moral document and my red-line issues will be any that fail to provide for the dignified life of everyone in our City.  Aside from that, I would also encourage a moratorium on financing private developments through tax breaks until our stricken neighborhoods are brought back to being safe and liveable for all. Lastly, I would work with the current Mayoral administration to develop the interest in participatory budgeting that they have, and which I have practiced and help manage for the annual $40,000 TNT special project sector awards,  in order to implement it across the city for at least 10% of our total budget to be decided on use by the residents of the City of Syracuse.


Q3. At-large methods of election are often discriminatory because they, in combination with racially polarized voting, prevent voters of color from electing their candidates of choice where they are not the majority in the jurisdiction. What strategies would you employ to ensure the policies for which you advocate reflect all of your constituency?


We must have some form of proportional representation.  This could come in many forms such as neighborhood assemblies, neighborhood representation on district oversight boards, or even an expansion of the number of current Council seats.  This would likely involve some type of election reform to include ranked-choice voting, public campaign financing, and city-funded and led GOTV expansion.


I have also advocated strongly over previous years, and continue to do so, for full transparency, access, response, and engagement (TARE) - read more in my published opinion at


Q4.  What are opportunities you see for the city of Syracuse to break up low income subsided housing?

We can implement inclusionary zoning which would link the production of affordable housing to the production of market-rate housing in new residential developments.  It is also possible to create a community land trust to receive and hold properties from the Land Bank. This land trust would be managed by city residents, and enable the pooling of capital into a revolving fund that would allow interested individuals to obtain and renovate Land Bank properties when they are unable to do so currently due to lack of financial means.  


Q5. With I-81 coming down, what is your vision for revitalizing the area in a equitable way?

First and foremost we must avoid displacement, avoid repeating the same mistakes and purposeful discrimination that were made when I-81 was initially built.  Second, I will focus on the development of an incubator and support organization that involves the city in employee-ownership opportunities for residents. With over 50% of the current small business assets in our country owned by the Baby-Boomers, a large turnover and movement out of our cities of capital and assets, and potential loss of jobs will occur, unless we stabilize and anchor those businesses and jobs here through worker-cooperative and ESOP owner structures.  The I-81 corridor could be a premiere stage for this innovative work to take place.


Q6. Gun violence is plaguing our city, young people are in need of opportunities rather than turning to gang violence. What legislation or projects would you advocate and pass in order to reduce violence?

My priority here is to only turn to policing as a last resort, and to turn to providing the essentials of a dignified life to our neighborhoods.  Violence only appears to be endemic to high poverty neighborhoods. Statistics show that When people live in households that are struggling with poverty, they have a higher rate of violence that involves a firearm at 3.5 per 1,000 people compared to 0.8-2.5 per 1,000 people in middle-to-high income families.  Therefore, we must immediately increase revenues, decrease costs, and then shift spending to a large-scale focus on neighborhood and individual health. This may include more police on the streets in “meet & greet” roles, becoming neighborhood fixtures and service providers.

One of Only Twenty Candidates Nationwide Awarded Financial Assistance by the Green Party of The United States

Frank Cetera Has Been Recognized as One of Only Twenty Candidates Nationwide Awarded Financial Assistance by the Green Party of The United States.

The Green Party of the United States Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC) has awarded twenty Green Party candidates financial assistance for their federal, state, and local races. They are among over 200 Green Party candidates running in the midterm races, the winners of which will join 160 Green Party candidates in 19 states currently serving in office across the country.

Erin Fox, Co-chair of the CCC, said, "The Green Party has an amazing lineup of candidates this year. We are pleased to disburse these financial awards to show our support and gratitude to Green candidates. We want to be clear that it’s time to get big money out of politics. We don’t do this for the money, but it takes money to do it. That’s why we’re asking Green Party supporters to match our awards and to contribute to these campaigns and any other Green candidates they are able to support."  


LTE Avalanche Starts Now!

Today, I completed my interview with the Post-Standard Editorial Board, and they will be announcing a Councilor At-Largeendorsement in the near future.  There is no time like right now to send a Letter to The Editor (LTE) in support of my candidacy to

I am asking you to write in support of my unwavering progressive policy proposals and support of social justice advocacy and activism, as well as the fact that I am the most qualified professionally and experientially for the position, my resume is on my website, but you would be hard pressed to know anything about the qualifications of the other two candidates.                                             
Here are some tips to get you going:                             
Check out my resume at:                                              

Read more about my:

Support my campaign with a donation today, 

Distribute door hangers near your own home at anytime.                                                                      

Send your endorsement letter today for my candidacy to   

LTE Tips

I will be compiling resources and tips from various sources on the topic of writing Letters To the Editor. 


Starting with these thoughts from

Letters to the editor are :

  • usually written in direct response to an article, editorial, op-ed, or column that the target paper has printed, or a reaction to a newsworthy event
  • are short – 250 words or less – and can be summarized in 1 or 2 points, succinctly stated
  • timely and relevant to news that’s at most 2 days old

Letter to the Editor Guidelines
Many papers provide guidelines for submitting an LTE, which should be checked before putting pen to paper. Here’s a few more style suggestions:

  • Focus on one important point; don’t try to address separate issues in one letter.
  • Maximize your chance of being published by removing every non-essential word. For example, don’t say, “I think…”
  • Don’t use all capital letters or bold text to emphasize a word.
  • Use local statistics if writing to a local/regional paper


Here are some simple guidelines from -


Also, here's an enjoyable Opinion piece from the NY Times -

Cetera Campaign Announcement Syracuse September 19th, 2018




Frank Cetera, Candidate for 2018 Syracuse Councilor At-Large Special Election    

Media and News Release        Public Awareness Announcement

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2018
For More Info: Frank Cetera,, 315-308-1372

Local Candidate for Syracuse Citywide Councilor At-Large, Frank Cetera, Appears with Gubernatorial Candidate Hawkins, to Announce Progressive Campaign.

(Syracuse, NY) Local Candidate for Syracuse Citywide Councilor At-Large, Frank Cetera, appeared with Gubernatorial Candidate Howie Hawkins at today's media event, announcing his campaign on the Green Party ballot line to fill the open seat vacated by former At-Large Councilor Helen Hudson when she won the President's seat in the 2017 general election.  

Cetera drew praise and media attention during the process to temporarily appoint an insider to this position, when he proposed and petitioned for an open and transparent appointment process by the sitting councilors in January 2018.  The Councilors eventually relented to providing an interview process, but still ended up not surprising anyone by nominating and electing one of their own who had failed in his own party's own District 4 primary election that year, and with with no public consideration or prior inclusion on the Council's meeting agenda.

Cetera supports the message of a progressive platform and thinks Syracuse may be reaching the end of it's rope with traditional and cautious politicians: "The people of Syracuse expect more these days, after years of hearing how we are still stuck at the bottom of the poverty and segregation rankings.  Though the people of Syracuse have not been able to rely on any of their elected officials to demand more, as they for example, fail to speak up against regular tax exemptions for developers, and spending on more police for reactionary enforcement rather than proactive mental health and addiction services.  

Cetera is the most qualified candidate for this position, with over a decade of experience in Small Business Development as a Consultant with the New York SBDC where he has accounted for working with clients to create over $5 million dollars in local economic investment and the creation of hundreds of jobs, eight years serving on the Board of Cooperative Federal Credit Union helping manage $26 million in Syracuse residents’ assets while in the leadership role of President since 2013, and supporting workers as Professional Administrators Union Steward at Onondaga Community College and delegate to the Greater Syracuse Labor Council, whose endorsement he received last year.

Cetera also accounts for countless hours of service in the street and the meeting room working with community gardening groups in all four quadrants of the city through the not-for-profit Alchemical Nursery Project that he founded 10 years ago, the Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today organization where he served as Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and Committee Chair of the Strategic Planning process to direct the organization upon its independence from the City, and neighbor engagement groups such as Take Back The Streets, OGs Against Gun Violence, and The Westside Residents Coalition Westside Walks sidewalk snow removal program in the Near Westside where he currently lives with his wife Ursula Rozum at the home they restored that had been left for ruined and was in its fourth year of abandonment (when he purchased it for $1 in 2010 before investing his own money and labor for the repairs)  into a vibrant household and recognized CNY Living Garden Of The Week in 2015.

Cetera finishes with “The Syracuse Post-Standard Editorial Board recently called on Syracuse to be bold, and I know that I am the one candidate who can uphold that call and literally fight for the system changes we need to eventually create a #SyracuseThatWorksForAllOfUs.  I’ve championed bold progressive ideas during my previous elections, but now it appears that the tide of public opinion is finally rising to carry bold progressive initiatives, and elect bold progressive candidates”.

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Volunteers needed! Westcott Fair and more!


Election season is in full swing. Howie Hawkins and Jia Lee are the last progressives standing for Governor and Lt. Governor of NY and I am running in a special election for citywide Councilor at-Large. I hope we can count on your vote on Election Day, Tuesday November 6 and for your support reaching voters in the next 7 weeks.

Join the Syracuse Greens at our office Wednesday evening for a General Election Volunteer Kickoff. We'll be contacting local supporters to join us at the Westcott Street Fair this Sunday This is one of our best opportunities to talk to Syracuse residents about our solutions to the crisis facing our city. 

Can you join us tomorrow night, Wednesday 9/19 at 2617 South Salina Street office for any time from 6:30pm-9pm?

Can you join our outreach table at the Westcott Street Fair on Sunday 9/23?
RSVP for a shift here!

Call or text Michael O'Neil at 917-825-3562 with any questions.

We need your help on Sunday 9/23 at the Westcott Street Fair. We'll be talking with folks about the issues at stake in the upcoming election, registering new voters, and inviting them to support Green candidates on November 6. Sign up here:

We need a true progressive on the council and we need a working-class activist like Howie Hawkins in the Governor's office. It's up to us to give voters a choice on Election Day.

World Cleanup Day!

Join us for World Cleanup Day 2018 alongside a projected 13 million people from 144 countries and territories, for what will be the largest peacetime civic action in human history.


NEWS RELEASE: Employee Ownership Network Ecosystem Live Webinar with Frank Cetera

Frank will be speaking on the state of the Employee Ownership community ecosystem on Wednesday August 29 as part of the Pathways to Ownership webinar series -


Worker Cooperatives Live-stream Discussion

Frank Cetera talks about Workplace Democracy with Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate Howie Hawkins. How can Worker-Owned, Worker Co-ops build democracy in the workplace and Real Wealth that stays in our communities?


Bitternut Homestead Garden Tour


Volunteer Donate

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