Two years ago in 2013, I took on the privilege of running for Syracuse Mayor on the Green Party slate alongside Howie Hawkins for 4th District Council, and Barb Humphrey for School Board. We came away with 15% of the electorate and, as I expressed in my Election night statement, “shined some light” on the issues and concerns of many of us. I am so grateful for each of you who supported me at the polls in expressing your choice for progressive and people oriented policies.
One of the other major successes of that campaign year was the number of volunteers that participated in phone-banking, door-knocking, button-making, sign-holding, and more. Our Volunteer Coordinator that year, Frank Cetera, was responsible for recruiting, organizing, and managing 57 different individuals, a major accomplishment.
I am also very thankful of all of you who supported my campaign through a financial donation. And I am asking you today to do the same for Frank Cetera with my endorsement.www.votecetera.org/donate
Frank is a first-timer on the ballot this year, though he is an experienced campaigner having worked on a total of 7 campaigns since 2010. If you believed in the platform that I ran on including creating collaborative leadership, decreasing poverty, improving education, making the justice system equitable and women’s rights, then you would naturally support Frank’s platform which contains all of this and more for Syracuse’s future.
To that point, I ask you tonight to visit Frank’s website at www.votecetera.org and learn about him and his campaign (though I know many of you are already familiar with him through his community work such as Permaculture site development, community finance with Cooperative Federal Credit Union, the Near Westside’s Adopt-A-Trashcan program, and more).
So I ask you to donate today, give money to a candidate who has a real shot at winning a position on City Council, of bringing a message of #Dignity for the people to our city’s leadership, and of raising a ruckus for a Syracuse that works for #AllOfUs.
Green Party of Onondaga County
p.s. Frank and his campaign team are doing amazing work, and this was recognized recently as they were named one of the "top 6 powerhouse candidates" in the nation by the Green Party United States campaign committee - read all about it here, in a letter written by 2012 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate Cheri Honkala.
On Monday night, Frank spoke at the Public Service Commission hearing at the South West Community Center in support of Affordable and Clean Energy for All Of Us - and against electricity shut-offs and inadequate subsidies for those in need.
The PSC proposal is for discounts in addition to HEAP assistance. However, the proposal would leave most low-income people out of the program. Only those who receive a HEAP payment that goes directly to the utility company would be eligible for the additional discounts. Most low-income people do not receive these payments and would be left in the cold. The amount of the discount proposed so far is also very low. Given the huge number of utility shut-offs, the amount of money proposed will not be enough to provide all low-income New Yorkers with an affordable energy bill. Local organizations are mobilizing their members to attend the hearing, including Syracuse United Neighbors, ARISE, Greater Syracuse Tenants Association, Spanish Action League, Syracuse Peace Council, Alliance for a Green Economy, and Green Party of Onondaga County.
Green Party Common Council Candidiate Cetera Calls for BiPartisan & ProActive Get Out The Vote in Syracuse
Green Party Candidate Frank Cetera, running for 2nd District Syracuse City Council, calls on the citizens of Syracuse to “make some news and Get Out To Vote”, for elected officials to be more proactive in facilitating voter turnout, and for media to take responsibility for keeping the voting public informed about candidates and campaigns.
The 2013 General Election in Syracuse saw vote totals around 20% of those actually registered to vote in our City. The national average for local elections is very similar to that in Syracuse. University of Wisconsin researchers provided elections data covering 144 large U.S. cities, with the most recent year in the study of 2011 reporting only 20.9% voter turnout.
Until we see the sweeping reforms that Mayor Stephanie Miner recently called for, including early voting, “no excuse” absentee balloting, and universal voter registration, our elected officials should take leadership not only in voter registration but also in Get Out The Vote activities.
This could include regular press releases and media events from City Hall and Common Council in the month leading up to Election Day, free bus passes on Election Day, public distribution of polling place locations on poster-sized maps, bus ads containing reminders to vote, and coordinated efforts of constituent services volunteers in extra-low turnout areas such as the segregated neighborhoods of high-poverty black, Latino, and white residents.
Low-turnout elections are generally dominated by whiter, more-affluent and older voters, and typically aren’t representative of the electorate as a whole according to 2010 research published by UC San Diego Professor Zoltan Hajnal. Results from the research indicate that “low and uneven turnout, a factor at play in most American cities, leads to sub-optimal outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities, including uneven prioritization of public spending.”
Cetera is campaigning on a platform that explicitly calls for the role of government to end poverty with every means and strategy possible, “As long as we don’t provide equal access and representation at our polling places, and regular and complete information about candidates and campaigns to the public, we won’t see an end to segregation, racism, and poverty in our city.”
Here is a short message from Frank before he heads out door knocking in 30 degree Fall weather.
The Washington Square Neighborhood Association hosted a candidates' night on Thursday October 15th at St. John the Baptist right Court St. A one question go-round for the candidates took place in which each had 2 minutes to introduce themselves and answer the question: “If elected, what will you do for the Washington Square area?”
The text of my statement is presented below, and audio of both my statement and my opponent from the Democratic line (my Republican challenger did not feel it important enough to attend) can be heard at this link! As you'll hear, my opponent was unprepared, nonchalant, and as brief as possible without giving those in attendance any proactive or innovative platforms or policies for a future of dignity for All Of Us here in Syracuse. #VoteDignity #VoteCetera
Good evening, my name is Frank Cetera and I am running for 2nd District City Council on the Green Party line.
I serve as Board President at Cooperative Federal Credit Union (down on North Salina St.) that manages $22 million in assets of your money here in Syracuse; I founded a non-profit that has converted 6 vacant city green spaces into productive food gardens; and through my public service day job as a NY State certified small business advisor at Onondaga Community College, I work with entrepreneurs to develops business plans which have led to over $2 million in local investment and 200 jobs created….. I understand community finance and what it takes to help people to succeed.
My opponent will tell you that he is hanging his hat on constituent services. I tell you that Constituent services is the bare minimum that a Councillor must do (and I would give it my all), but it is not enough if you want our children and families to have a better life and to stay here in Syracuse instead of running away to another city. If we simply hang our hat only on reacting to the inevitable potholes and other problems as they occur, we will never position ourselves for a transformation from a City of poverty to one of success.
The goal of city government at this time must be to end poverty and to create opportunities for working families to have a dignified life, with living wage jobs, fully funded schools and public services (like police and snow removal) and a responsive city government.
I will take my grassroots and professional success to City Hall and elevate the councilor position to one that brings passion to monitoring the operation and performance of city agencies, making land use decisions, overseeing the city's budget, and legislating on a wide range of other subjects.
The two items that I would like to work on to support the Washington Square park area are:
First, we must convert our struggling and underutilized schools (such as Grant, Franklin, and Lincoln) into neighborhood hubs that offer more intensive and comprehensive wrap around services to address educational and social-emotional needs of our neighborhoods - including youth recreation after-school and on weekends.
Second, and this is the holy grail, I will empower everyone by implementing a participatory budgeting ordinance in Syracuse that would dedicate up to 20% of the municipal budget to citizens themselves to identify, discuss, and prioritize spending as they see fit, giving each of us the power to make real decisions about how public funds are used in our community.
And speaking of the Land Bank, one of those 6 vacant properties I’ve converted is a new community garden on Gifford St.
Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight. And I hope to have your support on Election Day.
Election Day is getting close and our campaign team is working hard to reach voters. We need Frank in city hall to fight city policies that prioritize economic justice and dignity for all Syracuse residents, with a laser focus on putting people to work on living wage jobs.
Don't wait, participate! Here's how you can help get out the vote for Frank and our Green candidates in the coming week:
Saturday October 17, 2 PM - Door Knocking and Voter Canvassing - Just like it sounds, we'll be going door to door talking to voters, making sure they know that Frank is a candidate worth heading to the polls for on Election Day. Rain or shine, please dress for the weather! RSVP to let us know you are coming.
Sunday October 18, 2 PM - Door Knocking and Voter Canvassing - Just the previous day, we'll be going door to door talking to voters. Rain or shine, please dress for the weather! RSVP to let us know you are coming.
PHONEBANKING Tuesday-Thursday Nights - Sign up here to help us reach voter by phone. Almost as effective as door knocking, this is an important way of reminding voters of the upcoming Election and reinforcing our door to door and mail outreach.
Want to volunteer but aren't sure if door knocking or phonebanking are right for you????Contact our Volunteer Coordinator Simone (510-590-1140) and she'll get you started volunteering. Or visit our Volunteer sign up page.
Thank you for helping Frank's campaign grow to its fullest potential!
Sincerely, Ursula Rozum, Campaign Manager
PS: Frank Here with a short note. Like bicycles? I'm looking for someone to ride our Green machine People Powered Bicycle Trike around the neighborhoods every day between now and Election Day, talking to voters, and passing out literature and maps to polling places. Let me know if you can take a shift. Also, Want a Lawn sign? Let us know. Host a House party? Contact our team. Willing to pass up that daily latte in favor of a regular coffee every day between now and Election Day? Donate now.
Spoken at the public hearing for the Resident Hiring Ordinance by the Urban Jobs Task Force, Tuesday October 6th, 5:30 PM in Common Council chambers, City Hall.
My name is Frank Cetera, and I am a member of the Green Party of Onondaga County and Board President of Cooperative federal credit Union. I am a political, social, and environmental activist and organizer here in Syracuse, among other things. One of those other things is that I am a neighbor to people in all four corners of the city - through my community greening work on the east and south sides, my employment and public service job on the northside and downtown, and my residence on the westside.
And in each of those locations, I see the same thing over and over - poverty. In many places the numbers equate to between 40%-60% of households. Our city is like a giant snowball right now, like the Titanic heading for the iceberg, it is a huge weight to try and turn around, but we have to start somewhere.
Keeping our city wealth in the hands of our city residents is one answer. We’ve already seen what happened in the 1950s and onward as residents left the city an empty shell of itself. Now we are faced with more people actually moving back into the city creating competition for the fewer than ever jobs that are available here now. And once again, sending our wealth out to the suburbs and beyond by our hiring practices.
After working with green Party volunteers to collect over 200 petition signatures for the ordinance, I can tell you that neighbors that I talk to are tired of struggling, tired of trying to scrape by in competition with their friends for the measly Dunkin Donuts and Destiny USA retail jobs that still leave them in need of public assistance because the current minimum wage is still a poverty wage. They are left with a vision of a derelict future because our education system is underfunded, while suburban schools flourish. And every day their lives are in danger from gun violence as many poor folk turn to entrepreneurship in the illegal drug trades when no reasonable paying jobs are available for them in the city.
Our poverty epidemic is well documented in the media, but even more so in the streets. As I walk in any direction in my Near Westside neighborhood from my home on Otisco St it is impossible to miss the vacant and crumbling homes that are virtually abandoned by landlords seeking to suck additional wealth out of our city, or trying to avoid paying the property taxes they owe. Widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots a little bit further each month. The quality of our rental units is something reflected in every neighborhood I visit and talk to people in. Perhaps if we start hiring our residents, paying them a livable wage, and giving them home-buying opportunities, we can also start solving the housing stock and absentee landlord issues that plague us as well.
The arguments against this ordinance have also been offered up. To those I simply ask, how has the economy worked for you in the last decade. But even more importantly, I ask, how has the economy worked for your brothers and sisters across the tracks? It is time to heal our wounds, and for healing you need treatment, medicine, and TLC. I offer to you that the urban jobs ordinance offers just that - treatment, medicine and TLC for our ailing work force, residents, and neighborhoods. I support the passage of this urban jobs ordinance, and call on all of our Councilors to do the same. Thank you.
Thank you for supporting Frank Cetera's campaign for Syracuse City Council. He is running an uphill race against a well-funded and well-connected incumbent. But we are out talking to voters everyday and if we can keep the energy growing, Frank has a chance to win this race and be the first Green on the Syracuse City Council.
Our next big fundraising event is a Money Bloom on October 22!!
What's a Money Bloom? It's a grassroots online fundraiser. We spread the word and recruit our friends, family and comrades and if all goes according to plan, on October 22 we'll see people-power blooming in the form of many small and medium sized donations to Frank's campaign. Our goal on October 22 is to raise at least $1,000 to help pay for a campaign mailing to voters in the last week before Election Day.
We'll be promoting our Money Bloom intensely on social media and email and via word of mouth - and we hope you will join in and help build the excitement! Here are the top 3 things you can do to help make this Money Bloom a success:
2) Tell Everyone!! Spread the word to all of your friends and family! You can either use the template provided below, or customize your own message about the Money Bloom. Just forward it in an email to anyone and everyone who would be willing to pitch in:
"I just pledged my donation to Frank Cetera's Money Bloom because I want to see him on the City Council where he'll fight for a Syracuse the works for all of us. Join me and join in the Money Bloom today! Follow this link – whether you pledge to give $15, $50 or $500, it will help Frank reach his goal."
We are counting on you to help make our Money Bloom a success so that we can reach our fundraising goal on October 22nd!
Earlier this week, the Common Council voted to hold a hearing about the Local Hiring Ordinance that the Urban Jobs Task Force has been organizing for. The Public hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 6 at 5:30pm in the Common Council Chambers (233 E. Washington St. 3rd floor).
It is critical that we fill up the Common Council Chambers with supporters of the local hiring ordinance. People opposed to this Resident Employment Ordinance will be there too, and we need to show that Syracuse residents are coming together to demand that our local government respond to our need for jobs.
If you haven't yet, please sign and share the petition calling on the Common Council to pass a local hiring ordinance that would require contractors receiving city funds to hire at least 20% local workers.
Please come and speak about why you believe Syracuse needs a local hiring requirement for contractors receiving public money. You can speak for a point of view that relates to your own job search, or frustrations you've seen friends and family struggle with. You can connect your comments to concerns related to education, healthcare, housing - because everything is connected. What's most important is that we come together to speak up for jobs for our community.
I'll be heading out to a meet & greet at a supporter's home on Townsend St after the hearing. When I was scheduling the date with her, I asked what are the most important issues to you and your neighbors right now? She said unhesitatingly - absentee landlords & JOBS! Her friends and family are tired of scrapping for minimum wage part-time positions at fast food restaurants and retail positions at the mall - they want the opportunity to find a job that will support them, and their families, and their community.
The mic will be open to everyone -- the city council works for you and needs to hear from you! If you plan to speak, you will need to sign in when you arrive to the Common Council Chambers. The Common Council will call the names in the order that they were written. They usually limit the time at the mic to 3 minutes or so. But you can hand in written comments of any length. If you can’t come and you wanted to speak, you can submit a written comment and find someone to read or submit it for you.
Please attend on Tuesday, October 3 - whether you intend to speak or be a presence in support of economic justice.
For Dignity, Frank
P.S. With just one month until Election Day, we are counting the days and counting on you! Volunteer with our campaign team and help us get out the vote. We won't win this election without volunteer help, there's just not enough hours ni the day to do it all ourselves. Visit the campaign website and sign up to volunteer if you have not yet.
Want a Lawn Sign? Let us know. Host a house meet & greet? Contact our team. Willing to pass up that daily latte in favor of a regular coffee every day between now and Election Day? Donate now.
Dear Vote Cetera 2015 Frank,
Thank you for reading this email. If you have two hours between now and election day, I’m writing to ask for your help.
Frank and the Green Party – and I hope you as well – believe that government should serve the needs of all-- the poor, the working class, not just the well-connected.
But the people of Syracuse’s Second District are disenfranchised. Going door to door these last few months, I’ve seen it. In the struggle for survival, the city council has not been there for them – not to support local employment, nor to address crime, syringe cleanup, sidewalk snow. Because of this, fewer than 20% of voters turn out for these elections.
The silver lining to this is, that it means an opportunity for us to get a radical candidate like Frank on the council, and co-create a Syracuse that works for #AllOfUs. If we can turn out just 1,250 voters for Frank Cetera on Election Day, we can win – and get a welcome break from the party machine that runs this town!
Thanks to our intrepid volunteers, we have distributed our lovely informative doorhanger to nearly every single registered voter in the district!
Now, I’m asking you help us make phone calls to voters -- to identify supporters, turn them out on election day & encourage them to support Frank with lawn signs, donations, or time. With just 85 hours of phone calls, we can call all of District 2’s voters and win. That’s ten two-hour volunteer shifts a week. With a growing team of awesome people, we are on our way. But we need you. Please sign up for a phone shift at this form. (On a side note, there is a strong chance of meeting fun folks & eating delicious snacks!)
If the team phone night times don’t work for you, email email@example.com - you can always write with questions or ideas. If you need to call from home, write firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll get you the materials & support you need.
Election day is 5 weeks from today. If you’ve considered joining us, the time is now.
Thanks for supporting a Syracuse for #AllOfUs!