2017 Sidewalk Snow Survey Results

Thank you for being one of the 95 individuals who submitted your sidewalk snow management survey during March and April of 2017. The results received were overwhelmingly in support.  87.4% of responses were an 8 or higher on the scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being 100% in favor of the proposal.

The next phase in the campaign to get this implemented has started.  Please visit the following link to read background, summary, and draft legislation for sidewalk repair, maintenance, and snow removal municipalization - to create:

"A Local Law of The City of Syracuse Authorizing the creation of Operations within the Department of Public Works for the coordinated snow removal along with maintenance and repair, of all sidewalks within city limits, in the same manner that roads and streets are municipally managed."

At the Madison website, which "is a government policy co-creation platform that opens up laws and legislation previously off-limits to individuals and the Internet community, you can access the law as it’s being written, leave comments, annotate specific content, and interact with other civic-minded participants. Madison brings the lawmaking process straight to you, and gives you a say in your government’s decisions."

Please click here > https://mymadison.io/documents/sidewalks-municipalization-snowice-removal-general-maintenance-and-replacement

Rochester model could work in Syracuse with curb fees levied on all properties, including those owned by non-profits.
Having a walkable city is very important. It's time to address the miles of unshoveled sidewalks. I am so tired of excuses from the city and the residents. Let's do it!
I don't live in Syracuse at this time but would like to see municipal snow management in many parts of CNY
Not every person in syracuse drives and not every person is capable of shoveling.  Commercial businesses can't be bothered to even maintain their own sidewalks.  Drivers and pedestrians both need the streets and the sidewalks to be safe for them to drive and walk on.   Kids walking to school, the elderly, the disabled all have a right to be able walk safely in their city.
I think it's a shame that the city sidewalks are not shoveled and people have to walk in the road.  It's dangerous for them and for people driving.
Have been dreaming of a block by block system... Co-owned snowblowers...
Many city residents are unable to keep sidewalks clear for walking. Because this is a safety issue, because visitors to the city need clear paths, it would be good to provide for sidewalk clearing as a service to busineases and residents. 
I usually take care of my own sidewalk in front of my home
We need to care more for our community and the people in it. We should stand around guessing who should it, we all should!
Property owners should be responsible for maintenance of their property (snow or grass), not the city or county. However, if the property owner is not in compliance, the municipality should be able to ticket or fine them. If owner is still not in compliance, then the municipality should complete the work needed and bill the owner.
I live across from Roberts Elementary School and find the need to shovel at least 3 times per snow event due to the high speed of plow drivers plowing snow back onto my walk multiple times per day. As such, I can't keep up even though I know the importance of keeping the walks cleared for the kids. We are on the same page with our goal of snow removal yet working at cross purposes. The school has heavy duty snow removal equipment for their walks - more efficient than my back! My neighbor does plow (praise the Lord) yet I still need to shovel the heavy plow spray. So yes, for those of us who are aging (like my neighbors to the left) or the renters next door who don't bother (also across from the school), I agree with a municipal plan for all to be safe while out walking.
I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of how much this would cost on a municipal level compared to if a neighborhood were to contract on their own.  I imagine the per-household cost would be cheaper municipally.
This is a great initiative!
Hey Frank: The WRC snow brigades of the winters of 2012 & 2013 were among the most memorable collective projects I have been involved in. We started a legislative conversation back then with the Common Council and I would love to see that conversation reignited.
No Brainer- Watched in amazement in Rochester a couple weeks ago as a small fleet of small tractors deployed onto downtown sidewalks- figure out the costs and fund it.
I am a teacher at McKinley-Brighton and live in Strathmore. It is so sad and scary to see so many children walk to school in the street. Their faces show fear or nothing at all which is a statement that they are not surprised. To me this is a terrible message we are sending to our children! They deserve better and should know that.
I have questions regarding how the property owners would pay for it, and in some cases, people with snowblowers might not want to opt in. I need to know how this will take shape, so I can make an informed decision.
I am disabled and cannot  take care of my sidewalk shoveling any longer.  I do have loving neighbors that help me when they can, but would prefer a system that would take care of it.
What about all those inmates just sitting around?
Why can't we use them ?
The sidewalk situation is awful in syracuse.. businesses, houses for sale (realtors) etc. do not clear their sidewalks.  For the people who are out shoveling and clearing the sidewalks before they leave for work come home to find the plow has thrown even more snow on the sidewalk and drive way.. that's seems to be my problem. So I know a lot of my neighbors say what's the point the plows will just cover it again.. a lot of times the could change their plows to throw snow in another direction or slow down. 
When I drive home from work through the city of Syracuse, I see many people-women with young children, people with shopping bags, kids from schools with backpacks walking to the Centro hub. When it snows and sidewalks are not cleared, they have to walk in the street which is filled with cars and very narrow shoulders. Very scary and unsafe.
The day after Obama was elected, and it seemed a new post-racial society was born, I turned onto E. Genesee St. to encounter many children of color forced to walk alongside the busy traffic, because the sidewalks were blocked by snow. This is what sociologists call structural racism and structural violence. People with disabilities who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes or other assistive devices must walk in traffic in the streets, because the sidewalks are blocked by snow: another example of structural violence, of harm done to persons by policies and practices, not by an individual actor. On my street, which connects two major bus lines, some don't clear their walks because they have a suburban mentality and think that everyone has a car. Some don't clear their walks because they are older and disabled and need assistance to do that. (I try to clear as much of the block as I can, but I am getting older, too, and it's hard labor.) I have seen people waiting for the bus on Erie Blvd. forced to stand in that busy thoroughfare, because the Centro bus stops weren't cleared of snow. I live two blocks from Seeley Rd., a major north/south thoroughfare with a steep hill and which does not have sidewalks. There are low-income apartments on this hill, and it's the only way to walk to the supermarket at the bottom. I regularly crest the hill in my car, only to discover people, including parents carrying shopping bags and carrying or walking with children, forced to walk in the street in traffic, day and night, because of the lack of sidewalks and/or the condition of existing sidewalks, both broken and blocked with snow. This is structural violence, harm caused to people by the structures, the policies and practices in our city. Let's enable our citizens and denizens.
Snow is plead on sidewalk then my son has to walk in the street to go to school.
People in Liverpool and Rochester pay taxes to have the sidewalks plowed. The same thing should happen in Syracuse.
This is just one of the ways we have been shirking responsibility for keeping Syracuse kids safe.
We need to start fining scofflaws who don't shovel their sidewalks or who plow snow unsafely and illegally
I am old and handicapped.  My neighbor does my driveway but he has a busy job with the utility company and has to be out to help them.   He does my walk when he can.   The other issue is that I am the only one on this part of the street who had to put in a sidewalk.  The rest of the neighbors do not or do not maintain their walks.  There is  great inconsistencies there.
I have personally shepherded several children to school safely this winter by driving slowly behind them so the cars behind me wouldn't hit them. It's a disgrace that we allow our city kids to literally risk their lives to get to school. I offered these children a ride and they wouldn't take it. I'm sure out of fear and good for them for not giving in to a stranger's offer! I'm sick about this. Something better has to be in place before next  winter for our kids and all of our citizens. 
This is a priority especially for students who don't yet have universal bus passes, as well as for all of us who walk for our failure to succeed in providing effective public transportation. 
Syracuse is my home and I would like to see a better service that provides roads that are walkerable and clean environments 
In some ways a city paid program to keep our sidewalks clear would be ideal.  However, I'd prefer that citizens take responsibility for their property.
I commend you for your efforts
Accessibility is key to a community
Great job illustrating the problems and suggesting solutions.
Syracuse should adopt the Rochester model.
 I like the idea of the municipal program and think it's important to keep the financial responsibility on the landlords who are currently neglecting it
As a senior citizen I have to walk in the road to aviod falling. This is not safe. Fall and risk breaking a bone or risk getting hit by a car! !!
What would a municipal sidewalk snow and maintenance program in Syracuse entail? In good weather, the City has miles of sidewalks that are part of city property that are in disrepair. The City avoids upkeep of residential sidewalks by claiming "liability" for the sidewalk is that of the property owner. I don't see how the City can shovel a sidewalk it would potentially damage if it requires the resident to pay for repairs. Furthermore, the City should first start by clearing the sidewalks that are explicitly adjacent to City property before expanding this to residents' sidewalks. For example, the sidewalks around many of the City parks are not shoveled. Second, there is a "law" requiring the clearing of snow. However, the Common Council voted to look the other way when it comes to this ordinance. Fees were voted down particularly because of concern that elderly, sick, or low socioeconomic residents would be unfairly targeted. However, many of the busiest streets are primarily populated by businesses (e.g. James St, Salina, State St, Irving, Fayette, East Genesee, etc) . In addition to the City setting an example for its residents by clearing the property for which it is obviously responsible, enforcing the ordinance that is already on the books as it relates to businesses and landlords (effectively a business), should be the first priority before creating another government committee or expenditure. Instead, smart selective enforcement of the preexisting ordinance could generate revenue for Syracuse.
we are only asking for a safer trip to school for our children
Thank you Frank!
Let's create some more local jobs and get these sidewalks clear! 
There are far too many students walking to school on the street instead of the sidewalk after a snowstorm
I believe it is time for the City to start a serious conversation (with results) on what they plan to do to address the many snow-covered sidewalks, sidewalks in disrepair, and overall maintenance. I would be open to the idea of raising the City's property taxes to address this matter and help those in need. 
In the last storm the city did and epic and commendable job cleaning streets for cars.  But why are people with cars given such attention when those who walk get no help? Even worse, why is there no consequences for those who plow up huge banks, blocking sidewalks?  
Many other countries around the world have crews to clear snow off of sidewalks and plazas, etc. Surely the United States can rise up to their level of concern for all its citizens, not just drivers. 
We need cleared sidewalks to keep our children safe. Walking is a great way for people to get some exercise and stay healthy- unless careless city management continues to allow these dangerous conditions to exist.
(not expecting my personal info to be shared) I don't know what city-wide efforts have been made to date, but I am interested in the problem of unshoveled walks. Ideally this would be a municipally-funded undertaking, but considering the financial state of the city, I'm not encouraged.  In the meantime I'd like to discuss any suggestions  to this problem.
I walked to school in Syracuse for two decades and have seen it all I think. As the snowiest city in US + highest concentrated poverty, the winter conditions creates a transportation crisis for our poorest residents trying to get to work/ school daily. Recent piece on NPR about transportation to work being largest limiting factor for people trying to rise above poverty- I will try to locate a link. This issue is critical for Syracuse, keep up the good work! 
We need stiffer penalties for citizen scofflaws who refuse to comply with the snow removal laws. 
Pedestrians need priority status
In a city like Syracuse, which receives so much snow, this should be a part of the city's plan. However, I am concerned it will become just another bungled part of DPW. I also think the snow removal can't be addressed until the upkeep of sidewalks is addressed. First, no one is going to be pleased to pay for DPW's maiming of their sidewalks. Second, we shouldn't be paying for them to begin with if they are so restrictive about what can be done with them. I'd like to see a privatized solution, that creates jobs in Syracuse, rather than an in-house mess that creates hard feelings and more problems. 
Definitely need more of this!
Students and elderly people are often unable to maintain their sidewalks but live in neighborhoods with high foot traffic
Keep up the good work
Keep up the good work Frank!
Would love to see Euclid cleared 



Totally for this!! 
We need better infrastructure for sure , it's bad everywhere I'm Syracuse


Resume Submission for Common Council At-Large Appointment



RELEASE: Petition Made for Public and Open Consideration of Appointed At-Large Council Seat

Syracuse, NY, December 17, 2017 — Frank Cetera, the Green Party candidate for citywide Syracuse Councilor At-Large, and Green Party Onondaga County Committee Member, released a statement detailing his petition to Common Council for an open and equal process in the consideration of candidates to fill the open At-Large seat to be vacated by President-Elect Helen Hudson.  The petition also requested endorsement by any sitting councilor for Cetera’s inclusion on the Monday December 18 Regular Meeting agenda.
Cetera submitted a formal written petition to City Clerk John Copanas on Friday December 15, which was forwarded to all of the sitting Council members.  Cetera stated “The 2017 Syracuse elections showed that the residents of Syracuse are insisting upon real change. We, the undersigned, assert that this expectation should also extend to the appointment of vacant Common Council seats. This city needs a fully apparent, open, and transparent process that is published and followed for these seats.”
This process, Cetera suggests, could be modeled on the one implemented this year in Seattle, Washington when a City Council seat was vacated by the General Election.  The process would entail:
CITY CLERK TRANSMITS LIST OF APPLICANTS: The City Clerk will provide to each Council member a notebook that includes all the applications received by the December 29th deadline. The City Clerk will also post all applications on their website, giving the public opportunity to review the applications and submit comments via email, postal mail, or hand delivered to City Hall.
SPECIAL FULL COUNCIL MEETING: Applicants for the vacant Council seat may address the Council and the public, to be followed by a public comment period for the community.
COMMUNITY FORUM: This process may be facilitated by interested Council members and is intended to be led by community groups. The purpose is to allow community members to meet and ask questions of the applicants. Council expects applicants to attend the forum and Special Full Council Meeting
CITY COUNCIL EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS QUALIFICATIONS: As permitted by law, the Council will meet in executive session to discuss the qualifications of candidates.
In addition, Cetera released a public petition on Change.org, with an infographic medium (see https://franklen9807.wixsite.com/syracusedemocracy), which as of Sunday December 16 at 8:30 PM, had garnered 108 signatures over the weekend.  Cetera has also presented his petition campaign to Uplift Syracuse which showed positive response and which will vote on formally supporting it this Wednesday at 6 pm.  See https://www.change.org/p/syracuse-common-council-act-on-an-open-and-transparent-council-appointment-process-for-rewriting-transparency-in-syracuse
Cetera clarifies that his intention is “not to change the City Charter at this time, or prevent the Common Council from making the appointment as law dictates, but to go above and beyond the current process which is not specifically outlined in the Charter and to create a full civic engagement process for residents.”
# # #

Council Appointment Transparency Proposal Infographic


T plus 4 weeks: the vote, analysis, reflections, strategy, and future - all about it all

Although I was not voted in as your next Common Councilor At-Large, I wanted to follow-up about my plans, focus, willingness, passion, and strategy for effecting change and helping to build the peoples’ power of Syracuse. I will lay out this strategy further down in this letter following an analysis of the details from my race.  And I hope you will see how it dovetails with not only your own personal strategy and activism, but also that of the progressive political community in Syracuse and Onondaga County.


  1. My vote percentage for the November 2017 election was 9% of the total, which translates into 18% of voters choosing me on their ballot ( two seats being selected for) - a small decrease from the 20.8% of voters who selected me on their ballots in 2015.  

  2. I received a total of 3,443 votes, over 8x the amount I received in 2015. This was a citywide total compared to a district, but larger numbers of votes means greater name recognition, and wide-spread support of my candidacy and our platform against poverty.  

  3. I had a citywide vote total comparable to former Democratic Party Councilor Lance Denno - who undoubtedly was a much more known name in politics when he ran on the Green Party line in 2015 and who received only 365 more votes for 3,808 total for the same position in a three-way race (whereas I achieved my vote total in a four-way race).   

  4. My total was on a single ballot line, the other candidates ran on two or three party lines.

  5. With only 400 registered Greens in Syracuse, I received 8x more votes than the number registered in our party.  In a Mayoral campaign season in which person was stressed over party, Greens continue to pull in votes many times our registered voter numbers.


  1. We can be confident in the work we did, with the limited resources we had available, as the only candidates not accepting financial support from corporations or for-profit PACs.

  2. We have not lost ground, we have held our ground, even in a year when Independence ballot line votes were stronger due to Ben Walsh’s Mayoral campaign as a self- proclaimed independent (through unaffiliated voter registration status).

  3. The winning campaign cut across boundaries not only of party but also of ideology.  In this respect we must be vigilant as residents to hold those elected accountable, for, In standing for everything, the risk is that one will stand for nothing.

  4. The independence touted and credited with the winning mayoral race during this last campaign season was an independence from the the major party lines.  This helped to move many votes to the Independence Party line, which moved votes down ballot to the Republican candidate for Councilor At-Large.  Howie Hawkins puts it in his analysis of what happened due to dynamics such as“the anti-Trump Democratic vote that swept the nation. That explains the strong Democratic vote in the council races.  The second was the record levels of dissatisfaction with the two-party system. That helps explain the strong vote for the Independence line in the council races and the win by “independent” Ben Walsh running on the Independence line in the mayoral race. It was the vote the Greens might have captured”

  5. The Mayoral victor’s independence was based upon his unaffiliated voter registration and lack of ballot line status from either of the two commonly recognized major parties.  As a Green we always maintain such an independence from the duopoly party lines as de facto policy.  In addition, we double-down on our independence staying financially clear of campaign contributions from corporations and for-profit PACs, allowing us to have the clearest and cleanest path to representing the poor and working class in our city.



  1. Since Election Day, aside from staying on track with my responsibilities at the Onondaga SBDC as a public business advisor, and as President of Cooperative Federal Credit Union, I took a couple big breaths and a few naps, spent lots of time outside and in the garden at home and at 610 Gifford St, took a few days of silent retreat at Hamilton’s Chapel House in which I read a great book on participatory budgeting in the Black Rose Books series “Another City is Possible” by Yves Cabbanes, and the satirical dystopian “Utopia Three” by Hugo award winner George Alec Effinger, cooked a full vegetarian meal with and for family and friends over the long fall weekend, and kept busy with Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today Westside sector meeting and citywide facilitator gathering and training.
  2. The main print outlet in Syracuse, the Post-Standard newspaper, gave minimal coverage to the Councilor At-Large race.  With the exception of the coverage of my announcement event on May 9, there was only one mention of the race and the candidates in an informational article post, but one that didn’t contain any information about the issues or policies, on October 18th.  In a final word, the Post announced its endorsements (for which I do appreciate the allotted interview of myself and the other candidates), which went to the Democratic Party candidates, with a single thin paragraph referring to a few of my planks in a diluted form.
  3. Syracuse.com’s post election analysis was with two registered Democrats - Joe Driscoll who won an uncontested race for the 5th District Council seat, and Tim Rudd, plus unaffiliated voter Ruthnie Angrand a “community advocate who works in marketing”.  All three mention that the first take-way is that the results represents “change” yet not recognizing the absence of a Green or Republican on the same panel they are participating in.  Of the issues discussed, the analysts mentioned one of the changes they would like to see, the live-streaming of council meetings which I had been forcefully campaigning for, yet recognition for the idea was only attributed to other Democratic candidates.
  4. One of the most fun activities during the campaign was my facebook live Q&A with Ursula Rozum, which ended up reaching 9,465 people with over 2,400 views.  But social media is very much an echo chamber.  In response, I am now excited about our upcoming local events and political activism radio program on the public airwaves at Syracuse’s Spark! Radio 93.7 and 103.3 FM. Spark! is an independent media project focusing on Syracuse voices, Syracuse music and Syracuse stories. Volunteer-run and non-commercial, supporting local artists, giving voice to the underrepresented and striving to be a reflection of the community - using radio, online streaming, podcasting, social media and video to promote community engagement.
  5. The best of Syracuse came out for this election, but we have a lot of work to find the rest of the best and empower them too.  Consider joining us at Political Feedback Karaoke Fundraiser event on Saturday December 9th - https://www.facebook.com/events/295221680971540


Although I will signify my interest and apply for appointment to the upcoming open At-Large council seat, the overall strategy I am undertaking moving forward is not one of campaigning, but of taking action, representing the constituents that I ran to serve, and creating change as demonstrated by the achievements below from the past 4 weeks after Election Day.

  1. Major themes of discussion during the campaign season were openness, transparency, change, and resident involvement.  I have initiated public conversation for the need for these themes to be part of the At-Large Councilor seat that will be appointed when vacated by Helen Hudson to take her seat as President of the Council.  Stay tuned for more on this issue as January 1stapproaches.  Meanwhile, see media coverage of my campaign at http://www.urbancny.com/request-for-public-and-open-consideration-of-appointed-at-large-council-seat/ and http://waer.org/post/former-councilor-large-candidate-calls-transparency-when-filling-upcoming-vacant-seat

  2. Additionally, I have started providing archived audio coverage of Common Council study sessions, regular meetings, and committee meetings at my website to allow anyone who would like to hear and learn from them, the opportunity to do so - even if they cannot attend the meetings in person.  Visit http://votecetera-syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/meetings_audio

  3. Another very important decision being made now is the creation of the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication which will start operating sometime in 2018.   I spoke in Syracuse Common Council chambers this past week about transparency and public process in favor of open information from the Bureau’s activities. I almost didn't get the chance because there is no requirement for a new piece of law on the agenda to have a committee meeting or public hearing before being voted on by council, and this committee meeting was implemented last second at the end of the previous regular meeting only because a few questions from Nader Maroun had not yet been answered by legal. Another change I think we will have to work on soon. I also spoke out in favor of a mechanism to ensure that neighborhoods in the most need that have been overlooked for decades resulting in the poverty and segregation we see today, will see not only an adequate amount, but a favored amount, of placement of resources from the new bureau.  Read more at http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/citys_new_code_violation_bureau_likely_wont_be_up_and_running_until_next_summer.html

  4. I am making available to everyone a copy of the Common Council Rules of Procedure.  I was unable to find this document online, so I approached and asked City Clerk John Copanas who provided me with a print copy. I have scanned it and am posting at the following page for your convenience:      http://votecetera-syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/rules_of_procedure - remember, information is power.

  5. My next action will be to soon post a draft of the sidewalk municipalization legislation I have written, to be available for public comment.  I will be using the https://mymadison.io/website where the Green Party of Onondaga County has been approved as a Sponsor for disseminating policy documents for public collaboration.


Our average donation during campaign season was surprisingly high at $52.00.  So, if  everyone who voted for me gave just 10% of that donation average, or $5, today we would reach our yearly county committee overhead fundraising costs immediately (insurance, website, database, rent, utilities, etc). Contributions from supporters like you keep the Onondaga Greens truly independent. But not everyone can or will donate. And that's fine. This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain independent politics in Onondaga County.



PUBLIC & MEDIA RELEASE: Request for Public and Open Consideration of Appointed At-Large Council Seat

Syracuse, NY, November 13, 2017Frank Cetera, the Green Party recent candidate for citywide Syracuse Councilor At-Large, and Green Party of Onondaga County Committee Member, released a statement calling for an open and equal process for consideration of candidates to fill the open At-Large seat vacated by now President Helen Hudson.  This seat will be appointed by majority vote of the current council members.


Cetera stated “I would like us to avoid a repeat of what took place in 2015, when, with no public notice and no consideration of candidates who had run for council office that year (including myself), Council voted furtively after the election for one of their own - Joe Nicoletti - that we see now was an obvious insider attempt at positioning a chosen candidate for a 2017 Mayoral run.”  


Syracuse.com reporting from November 23, 2015 indicated that “The action prompted angry denunciations from several councilors, who . . . . . were outraged by the haste with which he was chosen. . . . . Councilor Khalid Bey said it was an example of "cronyism that causes the taxpayers to become less interested.'' He said the hasty selection . . . . .was "underhanded.''  


Cetera continued “All of the council and mayoral candidates this campaign season have made a large deal about government access, transparency, and constituent services at the public forums we have all participated in.  They now need to demonstrate that by demanding proper open process for the appointment of this seat.”


Green Party 2nd District recent Candidate Eric Graf makes the case for appointing a Green Party candidate per his analysis of the 2015 election results: “Had Denno, or another qualified Green been chosen, the resulting Council would have reflected a proportional representation of the total city-wide vote for that year. 8 seats were filled; total Democratic vote percentage: 58%  would translate to 6 Seats, total Republican vote percentage of 7.5% would yield 1 seat, and total Green vote percentage of 10%  would also result in 1 seat.”


Cetera himself just five days before the 2017 General Election, during a press conference on the steps of City Hall where he stood with over 20 supporters who came out on a dreary day, called for improvements to the current operational structure of council to enable such open access and transparency, including:


  • Expanding study sessions and public hearings to a larger variety of times and locations,

  • Live streaming and archiving online all public meetings,

  • Open office hours for Councilors.

  • Sharing with the public as to the reasoning behind the votes that are made,

  • A ticket system for constituent services for equal responsiveness to all neighborhoods,

  • Civic education for the whole city in legislative writing and processes.


Cetera ends his statement with the request that The Common Council Regular Meeting agenda for Monday November 20th contain an item for implementing a timed, specific, and transparent appointment process for the open seat.


# # #

Independent of Money in Politics

Frank Cetera is the Only Citywide Councilor At-Large Candidate Independent of For-Profit Money in Politics. VOTE LINE D, TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7th, POLLS OPEN 6AM - 9PM, VOTE FOR #ASYRACUSETHATWORKS#VOTECETERA#VOTEDIGNITY



Paying For It All / The Battle Against Regressive Taxation

My op-ed about the battle for fair taxation and revenue creation/capture for the city of Syracuse, that was originally published by Urban CNY News(many thanks), has also been picked up by Counterpunch online!



"Creating change costs money.  The residents of Syracuse, New York want change.  Syracuse must create or capture revenue to pay for the changes.  A graduated progressive income tax is good for the city as a whole because everyone who lives or works or does business in the city benefits from good city services.

Most candidates running this year are calling for more jobs, paying down our debt, additional programs for youth, and increasing services, yet provide no actual numbers for consideration of capturing the needed revenue to do so. I review budgets regularly, in my daily work as a NYS Business Advisor, and as Board President of Cooperative Federal Credit Union.  What I can say for certain is that although cost savings in our budget may be found, there is no guarantee that they will be significant, nor will they prevent the city from compromising on the services it provides.

Let’s consider our closest neighbors to the north.  Looking at a recent May 2016 report of municipal cost-saving initiatives surveyed across Canada by The Manning Centre, one of the largest hard cost savings found was Calgary’s “Cut Red Tape” Program. This collection of measures intended to remove unnecessary procedures, forms, licences, and regulations only resulted in a savings of $14.6 million over 5 years since it was implemented in 2010.

Five years to save what we are going to indebt in only one year in Syracuse – not nearly enough, even if we can find similar savings here, which considering how much smaller of a city we are, is not likely.  If we look at the $14.6 million in ratio from Calgary’s population to ours, the results would only be a savings of $1.60 million for Syracuse.  Regina, a city with population of 216,000 implemented recommendations for 61 service area improvements that only saved the city $8.5 million total.

Our own experience, that we see from the first year’s submission to the State County-Wide Shared Services Initiative (per the report from SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government), shows that Syracuse is only identified in one line item for savings, a total of only $4.4 million over two years of 2018 and 2019 in the form of a “Joint Request for Proposals for a Medicare Advantage Plan”. Again, not nearly enough to dig us out of our budget deficit.

Our elected officials have year after year passed the buck on implementing sidewalk municipalization legislation that would maintain the condition of our sidewalks and keep them clear of snow in the winters.  During this time, many of us in different neighborhoods have stepped up as volunteers to clear sidewalks in front of abandoned and vacant properties, or to clear pathways to buses at “accessible” CENTRO stops and intersections. The political will finally seems to be in favor of passing this legislation if we can believe the comments from the candidates running this year.

So note, this will be an additional expense to property owners in Syracuse (albeit a small one with estimates pointing to under $100 annually per property owner).  Point being that recognition and acceptance of raising money for public services and the public good from the public pockets is not a foreign concept or antagonistic belief of our incoming and remaining council members.  Another examples lies in the proposed hotel and use tax which incoming councilors have spoken favorably of.

Yet, they balk at the proposed graduated income tax for the city citing that it will keep businesses away and slow the growth of downtown.  No matter that this is the same play from the playbook that we have been using for decades – in the hopeful yet failed track record of trickle down economics – during which time we have reached our highest number of poverty ridden census tracts, our greatest number of homeless children, our greatest amount of segregated blacks and Latinos, and a budget deficit leading us to insolvency in less than two years from now. The profits aren’t trickling down to the poor and working class. Income levels and activity downtown are increasing, but these developments are not translating to improved quality of life in our other neighborhoods.

They fail to peel the onion back even one layer, lacking an analysis of the difference between tax types, applications, and results.  We already have sales and property taxes, the two most regressive forms of taxation in the play book, meaning that they impose a greater burden (relative to resources) on the poor than on the well-off.  This is why we need the 1% income tax – and this is a line I will not surrender.  This is a line which on one side calls for a tax policy focus on downtown development over the poor and working class interests, while my side calls for a shift from regressive taxation to a progressive tax that is fair across the board of economic classes while saving our city from insolvency."

Green Party Election Night Party at Polish Home

The Syracuse Green Party will spend election day making sure the supporters they have identified get to the polls to vote.

Mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins, 4th district council candidate Serena Seals, and volunteers will be working from the Green Party office at 2617 S. Salina St. in the 4th district.

Councilor-at-large candidate Frank Cetera, 2nd district council candidate Eric Graf, and volunteers will be working from Cetera’s home at 717 Otisco St. in the 2nd district.

Hawkins plans to vote at the Seals Community Center in Kirk Park at 300 W Borden Ave at 3 pm.

When the polls close at 9 pm, the Green candidates and supporters will gather at the Polish Home at 915 Park Ave. on the west side for food, drink, and the election results.

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 6, 2017
For More Information: Howie Hawkins, 315 425-1019h, 315-200-6046c

Black Lives Matter Syracuse Election Guide

Addressing poverty, policing, health and internet, BLM Syracuse asks you take a few minutes to read "this short election guide for the Nov. 7th election in Syracuse because it will have serious and potentially devastating impacts on people of color in our city, especially those of us who face regular threats, intimidation, harassment, and abuse by local law enforcement and the criminal justice system."  


Excerpt: "

In this city when a Black or Brown person, a poor person, or a disabled person dials 911, they have absolutely no assurance that they will be served or protected. In many cases, they become the suspect of a crime and the victim of more violence. And the officers who commit these acts of violence meet no accountability.

Under these circumstances, it is outrageous to even consider hiring more police officers to the Syracuse Police Department.

Yet, Ben WalshJuanita Perez Williams, Laura Lavine, Joseph DriscollQuante Wright and Norm Synder have all called for hiring more police.

Howie Hawkins, Frank Cetera and Serena Rahzie Seals think that city resources could be better used on addressing the root causes of crimes and on care workers in the city."


Volunteer Donate

Green Light NY Image
Permaculture Association Northeast Image
Black Lives Matter Image
15 NOW Image
Light the Night 315 Girl Image
Ban The Box Image
Medicare 50 Years Image
CWA Wear Red Image
Stand With Planned Parenthood


get updates