The following appear in the Post Standard print edition on Thursday, October 29 and online on October 27.
Over the last few months as I have walked the streets of Syracuse, knocked on doors, and talked to residents, I have seen the debris of the crime and poverty that impacts us so heavily. Many of the buildings I have entered are flaking, crumbling, porches sagging, doors not working, halls and stairwells flagging darkly, faces at the screen doors defensive and distrustful of local government. I ask myself each night after returning home: How did things get this bad?
We, the professionals, leaders, politicians, activists, advocates, and businesses -- we, the ones that get looked to for solutions -- we know the answers. We need funding for schools and youth activities, jobs with living wages, strategies to keep wealth and resources in the hands of city residents.
Humans have for ages known of education as the foundation of creating not only a capable work force, but also a fundamentally kind and civic society. We have for ages recognized that nutrition enables success at studies and cognitive development. We have known for ages that a safe and healthy home, street, and neighborhood create a productive environment and a community of support. Yet, we continue to not only underfund our schools, but also continue to segregate the most struggling, as if they will pick themselves up, with only struggling generations before them, in continually poor and racially segregated neighborhoods.
Maslow famously published the Hierarchy of Needs which states "physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first." But, how we go about helping to meet those needs should be of concern.
Treating the issues of people in our city as problems to solve, as opposed to opportunities to empower, is clearly not the answer, unless a 50 percent child poverty rate is the result we are trying to reach. Providing daily groceries only serves to keep bellies from growling for one more night -- it doesn't stock the home pantry with the security that there will be food every day like a living wage job from a local hiring ordinance would. Helping someone find a minimum wage job only serves to pay one more month's rent -- it doesn't create business ownership or family financial stability for a lifetime like ownership in a member-owned worker cooperative business would.
Are we too focused on getting the vote, the promotion, the security for ourselves, that we only specialize in today's problems instead of planning systemic solutions for our children and for the future residents of our city? Constituent services are not enough to solve the poverty epidemic in this city -- if any councilor tells you that is what they are focusing on, then they are not looking beyond another two years. Responding to constituents should be the bare minimum expectation. We need to raise expectations and demand that our councilors and elected officials have a vision for the future of the city and our people.
I'm running for 2nd District councilor because we deserve a Syracuse that works for all of us. The goal of city government, right now, must be to end poverty and create the conditions where all families can have a dignified life here in Syracuse – with safe neighborhoods, fully-funded schools and services and living wage jobs.
We need a city government that is passionate and dedicated to serving the people of the city. Councilors need to be proactive and engaged, monitoring the proper management and performance of city agencies, making forward-thinking land use decisions, overseeing the city's budget with the people in mind first and foremost, and legislating on a wide range of other subjects - all geared towards managing the City of Syracuse for the benefit of all of us.... For we know the answers, we simply need the political will.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- There's a three-way race for Syracuse Common Council in the 2nd District, which covers much of the West Side of the city, and part of the North Side. Councilor Chad Ryan, 30, a Democrat, is seeking re-election to a second term. He faces Green Party candidate Frank Cetera, 43, and Republican Maryrose Angelo, 26.
1. Would you favor a new fee on property owners to pay for sidewalk maintenance, similar to what Ithaca or Rochester have? If not, how can Syracuse improve the condition of its sidewalks?
Ryan: No. Sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owners. Many property owners currently take care of their sidewalks. By adding a fee you are punishing those who follow the rules to help those who do not. The city has policies and procedures in place for sidewalks. To improve the condition the city needs to better exercise its enforcement of the current ordinances that are already in place.
Cetera: Yes. Sidewalks should be a city responsibility like roads for improvement, repair, and snow removal. Therefore, adding sidewalk embellishment fees to the already existing roadway fees on property tax bills would be appropriate and within precedence. This increase would be reasonable in extent at 27 percent, or approximately $50, increase annually, (based upon Rochester's program utilizing average lot front footage as an example).
Fines are a regressive system disproportionately affecting the poor and disabled, and many of the residents of the city live in rentals and are therefore often at the mercy of absentee landlords who are lax in maintenance and snow removal. Our current system isn't working and is dangerous. Fines are typically hard to enforce without neighbor complaints, which are detrimental to neighbor cohesiveness.
Angelo: We should have safe, passable sidewalks throughout the city at an affordable cost in all seasons. Property owners should be allowed to make repairs and replace portions of damaged sidewalks, without having to incur the cost of a complete five-foot wide replacement. Competitive bidding should be required for sidewalk repairs and replacements that are contracted by the city and billed to the property owner. Creative solutions should be explored for addressing the snow clearing needs of elderly and disabled property owners, such as community volunteer engagement.Read more
With only 48 hours until Election Day, we are down to the wire, but there is still time to act. Here's why and how.
- Join our volunteer crews. We have new people joining us every day.This is James from Saturday's door-to-door canvassing crew getting a pep talk from Kahlua the Dog. James is coming back today to volunteer on doors again after being new yesterday! You can come canvass doors with us today still, we start at 2 pm on the dot, but let us know so we can have walk sheets and materials ready for you when you arrive (we will give you a short training if needed). Or join us phone banking Monday evening, or on Election Day!
- My incumbent Democratic opponent has finally decided to start campaigning. We encountered canvasser working for his campaign, and door hangers representing his campaign - this is the first we have seen any evidence of them out on the campaign streets! They decided it wasn't important enough to talk to voters until 72 before the Election! We have been out every week since early June, many days every week! So we can't let up!
- I just shared on social media the League of Women Voters questionnaires that I submitted along side my incumbent opponent (The Republican candidate did not even respond to the LWV). Check the blog post out at this link.
- It's not too late to make a donation. These last days are when costs seem to come out of nowhere - printer ink was empty yesterday, we decided to get copies made of the Post-Standardcandidate issues article and my Op-Ed so that we could share those with people when we talk to them (many people don't get the Thursday print edition, nor do they read the paper online), and we had some late data issues that we had to spend some money on fixing.
- Come get a lawn sign to support the campaign. We still have some left, and they are doing us no good sitting on the porch, stop by 717 Otisco St anytime and grab one from next to the front door/gate.
Thanks for your support Syracuse, now let's stay busy bringing dignity back for a Syracuse that works for #AllOfUs.
For Dignity - Frank Cetera
This side-by-side comparisons of my positions and credentials with that of my opponents is brought to you by the League of Women Voters. First up Chad Ryan, incumbent Democrat, speaks in vagueries, lacks detailed policy recommendations and platforms, didn't even use the whole 1,000 characters that LWV allotted to our answers, thinks solving individual problems with city departments is the most important when we actually have a systemic problem with poverty, racism, and economic inequality that needs shouted from the Council chambers. Second, Maryrose Angelo - did not respond to the LWV and did not submit a questionnaire. Find out more about your local candidates in all the current races at http://www.vote411.org/
Six Powerhouse Green Candidates Poised For Breakthrough!
The time has never been better for a Green breakthrough! And The Green Party of the United States Coordinated Campaign Committee has singled out 6 candidates that deserve your immediate support.
Please take a quick look at these 6 high powered, inspirational Green campaigns across the country. You can give all of them the boost they need with a single click of your mouse by making a contribution today to the Green Party campaign fund.
We are sending this request to every Green we know in the United States. Your donation, wherever you are from, can help these candidates in the home stretch. No donation is too small.
As you know, America is at the breaking point. A recent poll showed 50% of Americans consider themselves political independents! And the percent of Americans who identify as Democrats or Republicans have dropped to new all-time lows of 29% and 21% respectively.
That makes our platform more timely than ever. Greens are pioneering critical policies like strong local schools, municipal utilities, public banks, support for small businesses and worker cooperatives. We call for millions of jobs to achieve 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, Medicare for All, and requiring the wealthy few to pay their share of taxes.
By offering the solutions we need in our communities, these trailblazers are standing up for Americans being thrown under the bus everywhere by politics as usual. Your donation will help get the word out to the voters clamoring for what these candidates represent.
And most of these candidates are YOUNG! These are the fresh new faces that are bringing the Green Party to future voters in communities all across the country. Even if they are not running in your town or district, these are people who can continue to change the color of politics in America to Red, White, and Green! We all have a stake in their races.
The CCC will take the donations from this email and distribute them among the candidates.
But time is short. Election day for all 6 is November 3. Please Donate Now to support all of these candidates at the most critical final leg of their fight - which is our fight.
Together we're unstoppable.
2012 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate
P.S. Because this is not a presidential election year, it's harder for these candidates to raise money. But these are the very races that have a huge impact on local quality of life. And these are the people who can move up into higher office over time. Please, be generous. Donate today. Every amount will help!
Election day is next week!
The major issues in this race and in the city are poverty and crime. Frank's campaign is centered on the solutions, immediate and long term, to these crises, framing them through a values lens. Frank believes that the goal of city government should be to end poverty and guarantee a dignified life for all residents, with living wage jobs, fully funded schools and services and safe and healthy neighborhoods. The campaign has received media coverage from two of the local public radio stations, as well as published articles in local newspapers including the Syracuse New Times and CNY Latino. Frank has a long track record of community work and recognition.
Kristin Combs is fiercely committed to ensuring that every child has access to a meaningful public education. Kristin has seen firsthand the struggles that face our schools and communities. She was teaching at Vaux High School in North Philadelphia when it was closed in 2013 by the School Reform Commission, one of twenty-three Philadelphia schools that were closed. Kristin's experiences have led her to activism and politics. She believes that it's time to truly put the people first, above corporate interests and personal political gain. As a member of City Council who is not beholden to any political machine, Kristin will welcome the people’s movement for change into City Hall, where it belongs.
Plinio’s campaign is focused on gentrification. Plinio is the only candidate calling for a moratorium on all new construction unless it is low income housing. He is also calling for prioritizing locally-owned businesses over franchises and fighting sexual assault, in a community that is home to many colleges and universities, including Harvard and MIT.
Marnie Glickman, Dixie School Board, San Rafael, California
Long-time Green Party activist Marnie is a mother of three and civic leader committed to making a difference in the Dixie School District. For more than twenty years, she has worked in the field of organizational development, building coalitions to solve community problems. Marnie has garnered an impressive list of prominent endorsements including the Marin Independent Journal, the Mayor of San Rafael, and several former school board members.
Molly O'Brien, State Representative 17th District, NJ General Assembly
Molly has been working as a Paralegal since graduating from Rutgers in 2014. She has seen a great number of nonviolent offenders mistreated by the Courts and law enforcement officers, including those with serious addictions, behavioral health problems, or other disabilities. They are given jail time instead of the treatment they need. Molly has worked hard watching police video of motor vehicle stops and interrogations and listened to police radio transmissions transcribing what was said. This experience has led her to include improving community policing and ending racial profiling among her top issues.
A strong supporter of the Green Party for many years, Jeff has received the endorsement of the Chesapeake Bay Group Sierra Club. A mechanic by day and environmental activist by night, Jeff is results driven and seeks to be a voice for working people and those who want a clean environment in which to live, work and play. He is also fighting to drive the corporate money out of Virginia Politics.
Green Party of the United States
Ours is what they call a "shoe leather" campaign. There are no short cuts and the hours are long. We are tremendously grateful for each and every one of our 75+ donors. Thank you for believing in Frank! Please consider a donation today to make sure we have the resources needed to Get Out the Vote on Election Day! Especially if you haven't yet or if you are able to give a little more. To each according to our ability.
Frank and our team are working around the clock! Wednesday, we lunched at a public housing building and chatted with retirees in English and Spanish about what improvements they'd like to see in the community and we saw the beautiful collard greens neighbors are growing in their shared raised beds. Then, while Frank door knocked on Tipperary Hill (in the rain) our phonebanking team confirmed more supportive voters. We also snuck in some time reading the positive comments about Frank's campaign on syracuse.com. Thursday night when Frank gets out of work, we'll be knocking more doors followed by a meet-and-greet in the home of a supporter while our volunteer team continues outreach calls. All weekend, rain or shine, we'll be door knocking and building energy for a historic turnout for the Green Party on Election Day in Syracuse and the 2nd District. Friday night, we'll be taking a few hours "off" for the 4th Annual Green Halloween Party at the Cosmopolitan Building on W. Fayette St. (get your tickets here!) (and be sure to invite your friends!) When Frank wins the election, it'll be thanks to our collective hard work and community organizing.
If you've been following the campaign & have been wanting to support Frank and our team, this is it — the time is now! Volunteer with us this coming Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.
In case you missed Simone's email yesterday, here is how you can volunteer:
Election Day, November 3
We want to fill all our poll watcher slots (that's 12 people), have folks holding our campaign signs at busy street intersections during morning and afternoon rush hours (this is another 8-10 people). We need people for shifts large and small - from 90 minutes all the way to 6 hours. Naturally, coffee & tasty + nutritious local food will be yours. Please join now!
Doorknock This Last Weekend before Election Day!
11:00 am - 2:00 pm Saturday, Halloween Day (costume optional)
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Saturday, Halloween Day (costume optional)
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Sunday, November 1
We are doing one final neighborhood blitz with materials next weekend talking to voters at doors. Training, scripts, and materials are simple. Seasonal snacks, warm beverages, smiles.
Phone Bank Outreach to Voters Sunday or Monday!
Sunday night and Monday night, 11/1 and 11/2, we will be calling voters from 6 to 9 pm from Bitternut Homestead on the Near Westside (rideshares available). Sign up here, or email email@example.com.
Simone says, "the most fun and interesting thing about helping out Frank’s campaign for City Council has been talking to voters across the district. So many stories — a diverse group, young and old, in neighborhoods middle-class and distressed, such a wide range of perspectives and concerns. I have been continuously surprised and gratified at how excited people are to learn about Frank’s message (and sometimes, to put a face and a candidacy to some of the things he’s done to make their neighborhood great, such as the urban food forests or the sidewalk snow-shoveling initiative)."
Thank you so much for all our support!
Together, we can elect Frank to be our next 2nd District Councilor!
-Ursula Rozum, Campaign Manager
P.S. Donations are necessary and gratefully accepted. Generous donors have really come through –– but we had some unexpected expenses this past week to fix our website and voter database. Luckily, we quickly assembled an intrepid team to fix it, and are back on track to be calling and doorknocking voters every day, but it took some resources. If you can — Donate here. Thanks so much to our existing donors who've made the campaign possible!
Thank you, with sincerity, from all of us at my campaign for District Councilor. I am moved by your generosity and by your commitment to ending poverty and creating a Syracuse with opportunity and dignity for #AllOfUs.
Our campaign is being noticed - did you see the national "Candidate to Watch" recognition from the United States Green Party? Our campaign is making things happen - after our pro-active grassroots pressure , the Post-Standard will now be printing information about all of the city's Council races, when before it wasn't clear whether they would. And our campaign has the incumbent on the defensive - in his recent mailer to registered district voters, he felt the need to explain why we know him as the "Quiet Councilor" who has a reputation for doing little.
Because of you, the campaign is a great success - we are on track with our fundraising and volunteer recruitment goals. We were at it again today thanks to you - you paid for the literature we are handing out, you paid for the paper and ink we use to print our walk lists, you paid for the materials we used to make the buttons ourselves right here at Vote Cetera campaign HQ in the Near Westside.
And now we are actively planning our Election Day strategies and activities - and this takes more money and more volunteers. We want to fill all our poll watcher slots (that's 12 people), have folks holding our campaign signs at busy street intersections during morning and afternoon rush hours (this is another 8-10 people), feed our volunteers healthy and nutritious food, and do one final neighborhood blitz with materials next weekend. Please donate or volunteer, or if you have already given all you can give, perhaps you can recruit one of your friends, neighbors, family, or colleagues who share our values.
My belief is that to have true community you must hold values and responsibility in common - I am experiencing this right now with you. You can support our movement-making effort here in Syracuse by volunteering!
For Dignity, Frank Cetera
P.S. Please join us for our 4th Annual Green Halloween Party on Friday October 30th to celebrate all of us and all of you as one team for dignity.
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.”