Housing, Health Neighborhoods: A Right for #AllOfUs

Housing issues are a major concern I've been hearing about everyday when I talk with neighbors of the 2nd District.  Healthy neighborhoods are impacted by the condition, value, and use of the housing stock. One neighbor on Lakeview Ave said "It's the living here, the homes, they are not cared for, it attracts bad things."

Much of the frustration is with absentee landlords and inadequate property management which leads to unsafe conditions, deteriorating housing values, and lack of respect for residents from adjacent neighborhoods. When these properties reach the end of their "useful lives", and the absentee owner has bled them for all they are worth, the homes are left to languish, build up large tax delinquencies, and bring the value and sense of community down. 

This lack of responsibility then places an absurd weight on tax-payers in the form of subsidizing demolitions and legal proceedings and filing for seizures, as well as volunteer hours of neighborhood groups such as WestSide Walks clearing sidewalks of snow and trash around these properties.

These are reasons that when elected I will delve into our policies regarding problem and rental properties, to hold landlords accountable to the neighbors and neighborhoods that their rental houses co-exist with. I will ensure current home-owners can access assistance for maintaining code compliant conditions, and investment owners are held responsible for the code violation they allow to go uncared for. See the Green Party Housing & Neighborhoods Platform here.

Please donate today or join up with our Street TeamI need your help so that we can continue to engage with Syracuse city residents, put key ideas and policies into public discussion, and help me win a seat on City Council where I'll speak up for a Syracuse that works for #AllOfUs!

#VoteDignity ~ Frank

P.S. Adequate housing options for disabled individuals is a critical issue that is often overlooked.  I participated in a rally last week organized by disability rights activist - my statement can be read right here!

March for a Livable and Accessible Syracuse

Wednesday July 29, 2015


"Today at the 25 year anniversary mark of the Americans with Disability Act, we stand here together, and continue to be a morally bankrupt society, when as a community we cannot provide a roof over each others heads, and proper accommodations for each person's abilities in order to live with dignity.  

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Call for Complete Clean Up of Onondaga Lake

Syracuse NY -- On Wednesday July 22nd, Green Party candidates for Syracuse City Council Frank Cetera, 2nd District which includes the Lakefront and the Inner Harbor, and Lance Denno, At-Large, attended the “Clean Lake Party in the Lake” where many public figures signed up to dive into Onondaga Lake from a pontoon boat launched at Willow Bay in Liverpool.  The swim, organized by Believe in Syracuse, was required to take place from a boat due to the continued presence of sediment contamination and lack of a swimming beach, and was required to be on the north side of the lake due to sewage contamination from overflow on the south end.

“I believe in Syracuse and commend the environmentalists and engineers working to clean up the contamination from Syracuse’s industrial past,” stated Cetera. “However, we cannot forget that the lake is still not clean and there is significant dredging and remediation that needs to happen. As it stands, we cannot rely on an incomplete cleanup and a lack of fail-safe caps to cover the remaining pollutants in the sediment. We need proper funding and priority attention to repair and maintain sewage infrastructure so that it does not overflow into Onondaga Lake.We also need a halt to all the industrial hazards that threaten the lake, such as the Bakken crude oil trains that pass through CNY, along the lake several time a week.”  Cetera has been outspoken about the dangers of crude oil transport and potential derailments adjacent to the lake.

Cetera decided not to join the lake swim out of respect for the need to continue the cleanup.

Denno expressed frustration with the years of clean-up and the need for the cleanup in the first place, saying “It's easier if you don't break it in the first place, instead of having to clean up what has been polluted.  Just look at Skaneateles Lake--what future for Onondaga Lake would you want?”  Denno sees the lake issue as a metaphor for the atmosphere, and concerns about climate change.

Both candidates agree that we must not only think of the need to fully finish the cleanup of Onondaga Lake as an environmental mission and a return to the Onondaga Nation’s cultural heritage, but also for economic and social justice reasons.

Cetera stated that he would not be satisfied until the lake is “back to a condition which privileges all people in the City and adjoining municipalities, not just those who have a boat to jump off of at Willow Bay to go swimming.”

Both candidates will appear on the Green Party line (Row D of the General Election ballot on Tuesday November 3rd, along with Howie Hawkins for City Auditor and Board of Education candidates Ray Blackwell and Caleb Duncan.  For more information:  http://syracusegreens.org/.

Council Candidate Cetera Calls for Revised Use of Force Policy and Implementation of CRB Recommendations

Syracuse, NY - On July 22, 2015, 20 year old Elijah Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced in Onondaga County Court for an April 2014 incident in which Johnson sustained injuries from a violent encounter with Syracuse Police officers. Johnson’s case is pending review by the Citizen’s Review Board (CRB) which is investigating allegations of excessive force and racial profiling by four Syracuse police officers.

Syracuse City Council Candidate Frank Cetera responded to the case with concern that the CRB’s recommendation for the City to revise its current Use of Force Policy has gone unheeded.

“The Citizens Review Board was created as a mechanism to hold police officers accountable to Syracuse residents,” said Cetera. “Based on the CRB’s observations from 2013 to 2014, police misconduct is on the rise and this is troubling. Use of force by police officers has increased. Untrue statements by police officers facing allegations have increased. Allegations of citizen harassment by police have increased. The citizens of Syracuse deserve a process which holds police officers accountable to the public interest. Police violence against civilians is a serious matter and we must give the CRB more teeth. More over, the Syracuse Police Department should be required to share information of if and how CRB recommendations were implemented.”

According to the CRB’s 2014 Annual Report, in 2014 the Syracuse Chief of Police imposed discipline in only one case sustained by the CRB. Currently, the police department is not required to disclose disciplinary actions towards officers accused of using excessive force against civilians. For the cases in which the Chief’s disciplinary decision is known, the disciplinary action rate was a mere 6%, effectively responding to one out of sixteen recommendations from the CRB. http://www.syrgov.net/uploadedFiles/City_Hall/CRB/2014%20Annual%20and%204th%20Quarter%20Report.pdf

The U.S. Department of Justice has provided recommendations based upon consent decrees reached with other cities, and many in Syracuse are calling for an adoption of these recommendations in a revised Use of Force Policy.  

“Law enforcement officers enforce the law, not react with prejudice or with force excessive to cause,” stated Cetera. “It is our responsibility as a community, and more importantly of city government, to make sure the proper policies and procedures are in place to guide our officers in the sort of policing that keeps our community safe. We need trust between police officers and residents. Allowing impunity for incidents of police brutality severely erodes that trust ”

Elijah Johnson, a young black man from Liverpool, was brutally beaten by four Syracuse police officers last summer after attending a party on the Syracuse University Hill. Johnson was punched, kicked and called racial slurs. He suffered a broken nose, a burst blood vessel in his right eye, a large abrasion on his right cheek and head pain. While police claimed he threw a rock at them and resisted arrest, in court the jury did not find their story believable. Elijah was acquitted of the misdemeanors inciting a riot, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. He was found guilty of second-degree rioting and second-degree criminal trespass. He will be sentenced by Judge Karen Uplinger.

Frank Cetera lives on Syracuse’s Westside and is running to represent Syracuse’s 2nd District on the Common Council. Cetera will appear on Line D on the General Election ballot on Tuesday November 3rd.  Major issues in Frank Cetera’s campaign are: raising wages; local job development through worker-owned cooperatives and local hiring requirements; and community safety through community engagement and responsive government.  


#Syracuse for #AllOfUs


Seeking Volunteer Coordinator

Are you a committed social change activist that wants to break open the two-party system of corporate rule? The Syracuse Greens are seeking a motivated Volunteer Coordinator to assist with the Vote Frank Cetera campaign's people-power needs. The Volunteer Coordinator will work alongside the Campaign Manager and Candidate to recruit and organize volunteers in a competitive city council race.  

This is a “volunteer” position with room, board, bicycle, and a stipend ($300/month minimum, higher depending on fundraising successes) for one motivated and daring individual. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable campaign organizing experience and to help elect a Green city councilor. 

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Join Our Street Team This Weekend

It's going to be a beautiful weekend in Syracuse!  Can you join Frank Cetera and our campaign Street Team for some door-to-door outreach on Syracuse's Northside on Saturday?  We're meeting up at 12:30 at Biscotti's on North Salina and from there, we'll go out door knocking in pairs to talk with voters about the upcomingCommunity Listening Forum (Thursday at the 754 Barber Shop) and to let them know about Frank's candidacy AND to invite them to add their name to a new effort we are involved with -- the Urban Jobs Task Force campaign for a local hiring ordinance (more info below).

If you can join our street team for a couple of hours on Saturdayplease RSVP here so we know to expect you!

Urban Jobs Task Force - Local Hiring Campaign
The Green Party of Onondaga County is part of the Urban Jobs Task Force and we are working together to build support for a local hiring ordinance (Sign and share the petition here).

Too many Syracuse residents are struggling to find work and a very simple way to ensure that public spending is used to hire Syracuse city residents is a  local hiring ordinance. The Resident Employment Ordinance would require city contractors for construction, service and public works projects (over $100,000) to employ city residents for at least 20% of the contracted work force hours and half of those hours would need to go residents of distressed neighborhoods. This is a very modest but significant step in expanding job opportunities to those who need them most. We'll be sharing more information about this campaign in the coming weeks but in the meantime, you can sign the petition online and join us going door to door, as we discuss Frank's candidacy for City Council and ask resident to add their voice to the Urban Jobs Task Force petition demanding that city residents get more city funded jobs. 

Frank is off to a strong start and we are very grateful to all the friends and supporters who have been donating and volunteering -- thank you!  Please don't wait to get involved! The more the merrier. Hope to see you soon!

Westside and Skunk City Community Forum Archive

Messaging, visioning, sharing, campaigning.  Video archive of the Westside and Skunk City Community Forum. Share your thoughts please.  Contact us with additional ideas, contributions, and ways forward for #AllOfUs.  Click the link to view.



#AllofUs - Campaign Announcement and Community Forum





Dear Friend -- 

Whether or not you live in the 2nd District of Syracuse, I am asking you to be an active supporter of my campaign for City Council. I've been talking to voters for the past month and the response to my campaign has been very positive. But I've also heard up close how too many people in our community are struggling, to pay bills, feed their families and to feel safe in their neighborhoods. I tell them like I'm telling you, that I will take my social justice, food sovereignty, community finance, and cooperative living skills and experience with me to city government and bring to fruition a reality of Syracuse that offers #dignity for #allofus. 

First, come stand beside me on City Hall's front steps this Wednesday July 8th at 11:45am.  I'll be speaking to the media to announce my campaign for a Syracuse for #AllOfUs. I would be honored to have you by my side. 

Second, participate in a Community Listening Forum, Wednesday night July 8th at 7pm at Brown Memorial Church at the corner of Davis St and South Geddes St. Our campaign is hosting a series of neighborhood forums throughout the 2nd district to create an opportunity for dialogue that the current City Council does not provide, and to build a strong movement for economic justice in our city.

Third, the political fundraising reality. We need to raise $1000 before the Board of Elections campaign fundraising deadline on Saturday July 11th to make this campaign happen right. Flyers. Door hangers. Lawnsigns. Space rental. We are dedicated and I am counting on your support! Donations get reported to the Board of Elections and made available to the public, so by showing our fundraising success, additional donors are more inclined to give. Showing a significant amount of cash in tour account by the July 11th deadline will get press attention, attention leads to website visits, website visits lead to additional donations. Please give today at www.votecetera.org/donate

Thank you for your support.
With Gravity, 

Frank Cetera for City Council

Welch Allyn Makes The Case For Worker-Owned Cooperatives

To the Editor:

Welch-Allyn was formed in 1915 and was family owned since that time through four generations. Once, a family-owned business was steel, granite, the foundation of community, it was the embodiment of accountability, a family's word to its workers, to its friends and neighbors, to its town. But we all know that money can speak more volumes than the multitudes.

How could this situation have been different if an anchoring local business was formed, grown, and owned as a worker cooperative as opposed to a small majority family ownership?

Many Owners = Much Accountability. Beyond whether or not Welch Allyn will continue to employ here in Central New York, they have given up their accountability to the region, by giving up ownership to an out-of-town corporation. The business no longer has those familial ties to its neighbors.

Equitable Ownership = Much Resilience. In harsh economic climates such as today, worker cooperatives only need to reach break-even points that provide for the workers salaries, and not need to make an extended profit for non-owner investors.

Reduced Margins = Competitive Advantage. Without a need to reach extended profits for shareholders, worker cooperatives can operate at a reduced gross margin, thus maintaining lower prices and/or higher salaries and benefits.

Regardless of what has just transpired with Welch Allyn, an economic vision for Syracuse as a restructuring industrial economy could and should be based upon worker-owned cooperatives for long-term job stability. The workers themselves, who are the owners, who are the town, who are the foundation, can then decide on their own (rather than being at the mercy of "independent business experts") when to strategically restructure if necessary, or, as in the case of Welch Allyn, to sell out.

Frank Raymond Cetera

The writer is the Green Party candidate for Common Council in the 2nd District.

Published in the Post-Standard print edition on Tuesday June 30, and online at Syracuse.com on Wednesday June 24 - http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/06/two_views_of_welch_allyns_decision_to_sell_your_letters.html

Safe Streets for Our Neighborhoods Begin With Pride and Action: Adopt-A-Trashcan 2015

The Near Westside, Syracuse, NY - Today the Westside Residents Coalition and The Alchemical Nursery opened the 2015 Adopt-A-Trashcan season at 610 Gifford Street - a Greater Syracuse Land Bank property that the groups are converting into a community garden.  7 cans were distributed to participants at locations such as Otisco Street, Holland Ave, Slocum House (The Catholic Workers’ residence) on Slocum Ave, Shonnard Street on behalf of Shonnard Street Outlook, and the Spa at 500 on West Onondaga Ave.  These joined 12 cans that were placed out last year from Marcellus to Fitch streets, and from South Geddes to Gifford St in the Mission District.  There are a few cans remaining for anyone interested (Please contact Frank Cetera for City Council or the Westside Residents Coalition).

“When I placed a trashcan in front of my home at 717 Otisco St in 2011 for passers-by to use, I never imagined at that time it would blossom into a community-wide effort.  But this goes to show that even the smallest and simplest initiatives by an individual person can blossom into fruition when you work together”, Said Cetera, one of the project founders and 2nd District City Council Candidate with the Green Party.

“Safe streets begin with streets that are clean and walkable.   With financial assistance from the Syracuse Parks Conservancy, we were able to purchase 30 trashcans in 2014, and this has allowed us to keep a significant amount of garbage off of our neighborhood streets”. Said Susan HAmilton, NWS Resident on Holland St and WestSide Residents Coalition Co-Chair.

The program works through adopters who agree to maintain the cans, place them in a prominent position in front of their homes and next to the sidewalk, then place them on the curb along with their household bins on trash night for emptying the next morning.   The cans are identified with spray-painted stencils of the Alchemical Nursery and Westside Residents Coalition logos, as well as the text “Trash It, We Care”.

“This is only the start”, said Cetera.  “Next on the to-do list includes helping the WRC with its syringe litter campaign, tackling the issues of dog waste in our neighborhoods, dealing with the condition of our sidewalks including snow removal in the winter, and working to install speed humps to calm traffic and create safe spaces for our children and those commuting by bicycle to work, to shop, or to see friends and family.”



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