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
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.Read more
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 Saturday, please 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!
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.
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.
Frank Cetera for City Council
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
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.”
Syracuse NY -- On Tuesday, June 23, Syracuse residents will rally at 12 noon in Clinton Square downtown to speak out against the racist fueled violence that led to the shooting at a South Carolina AME church last Wednesday. Mourners will also gather in solidarity for a prayer vigil the same evening starting at 6:30 pm at Hopps Memorial CME Church.
“The racism and violence that led to this truly tragic and hate-fueled act last week are shameful legacies, which we as a community must completely renounce,” said Cetera, a small business advisor and co-founder of The Alchemical Nursery, a non-profit in the Near Westside which brings people together through community gardening.
“In no universe that I can imagine, is it okay for discrimination and segregation based on color and class to be allowed to continue. In no way is it okay for one family to live in daily fear because of the color of their skin and the neighborhood they live in, while another family has the benefit of safety and security to enable them to succeed. We must stand up against hate and the poverty that it leads to, and ensure a life of dignity for everyone.”
According to recent reports, one in three Syracusans live below the national poverty line, and the predominantly black neighborhoods are among the city’s poorest.
“When elected to council I will raise my voice loudly and continuously as an ally for the unrepresented and brutalized. And I will work to promote remedies to institutional and economic racism, including introducing legislation for a truly living wage, and inclusionary zoning.”
Activists in South Carolina have been calling for the removal of the Confederate flag, which is still flown above the state capitol. “It is my hope that this symbol of racism and systemic violence will be removed from all public buildings in our nation,” Cetera said.
A Green Party candidate, Cetera is running against incumbent Chad Ryan.
#VoteDignity #Syracuse That Works For #AllOfUs
Syracuse NY– On Monday, June 22, the Syracuse Common Council will vote on a resolution favoring a U.S. Constitutional Amendment that would allow greater limits on the influence of money in elections. Frank Cetera, Green Party candidate for Syracuse Common Council, added his support to the 1,107 Syracuse city residents who have signed the petition calling for the amendment. An affirmative vote would make Syracuse the 665th municipality nationwide to call for such an amendment, and the 21st in New York State.
“Syracuse makes an important statement in support of democracy with this resolution, where everyone’s voice and vote matter. Corporations are not people, and money is not speech. Democracy is for people – that’s why in my campaign for Syracuse Common Council, I and green Party candidates do not accept donations from for-profit business”, said Frank Cetera.
“Furthermore, we must end the current pay-to-play culture that plagues New York politics, from state government down to our local government. Candidates for public office should be prohibited from accepting political campaign contributions from businesses that do business and sign contracts with the city of Syracuse. Ending play-to-play is essential if we want a Syracuse for all of us, not just those who can afford to buy political favors.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, spending coming from groups that do not disclose their donors has risen from 1 percent to 47 percent since the 2006 midterm elections…[and] spending by outside groups has quadrupled. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2011/05/citizens-united-decision-profoundly-affects-political-landscape.html. Meanwhile, an August 2012 AP/Roper poll found that 83% of Americans want to limit the money corporations, unions and other organizations can contribute to influence campaigns. http://freespeechforpeople.org/node/448.
Current Supreme Court rulings assert that a corporation is a legal person entitled to many of the constitutional rights intended for human beings and that corporate spending to influence elections is the equivalent of political free speech.
The resolution, as submitted to the Council by Move To Amend, states “That the Syracuse Common Council supports an amendment to the United States Constitution to establish that (1) artificial legal entities are not entitled to the same rights and protections as natural persons under the Constitution, (2) spending money to influence elections is not “free speech” as defined under the First Amendment, assuring the power of the federal, state, and local governments to limit, regulate, and require disclosure of sources of all money spent to influence elections.”
“Corporate personhood is not an inconsequential legal technicality. The Supreme Court ruled that a corporation was a ‘legal person’ with 14th Amendment protections before they granted full personhood to African-Americans, immigrants, natives, or women,” said David Cobb, a national Move To Amend spokesperson (and 2004 Green Party Presidential candidate) at a Syracuse forum last year. “We are inspired by historic social movements that recognized the necessity of altering fundamental power relationships,” said Cobb. “America has progressed through ordinary people joining together—from the Revolutionaries to Abolitionists, Suffragists, Trade Unionists, and Civil Rights activists through to today. Move to Amend is a long-term effort to make the U.S. Constitution more democratic.”
A Note from the Candidate:
Thank you so much for coming out to the Spring 2015 Syracuse March Against Monsanto and amplifying our voice for labeling GMOs and our Right To Know what is in the food we eat, that we feed our families and friends, and that is served in our communities!
I am the only Syracuse City Council candidate who is publicly speaking up for our demands. And I need your support.
Once I hold the 2nd District Seat, one of my first actions will be to sponsor a resolution from the City in support of the GMO labeling bill in New York State.
After that, I will work without compromise to ensure that any food served to our children in public schools, and to any visitors who eat at concessions in public buildings or businesses who have received tax benefits from the City, is organic and grown without GMO ingredients.
I'll also work with the Chair of the Healthy Syracuse Youth Wellness Committee, and the head of the Syracuse City School District's Food Services program Annette Marchbanks to bring full health equity to our youth. This will be done through nutritious menus, healthy vending machine offerings, removing junk food advertising, and increasing the quality of food education and home economics classes in our schools.
Please make a contribution today at http://votecetera-syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/donate
Every dollar helps as we begin spending money on outreach and volunteer support. Every donation sends a message. Every time you share this request or tell your friends about our campaign, you build the movement.
Frank Cetera, Syracuse City Council Green Party Candidate
p.s. After you put that check in the mail, why not cook some great kids food recipes from the world-famous chef and healthy food in schools activist Jamie Oliver with your family today!