Transcription of my Responses from the Campbell Conversations with Grant Reeher on WRVO on October 22

00:00 Grant Reeher: Welcome to the Campbell Conversations. The two upcoming elections grabbing most of the local attention are the Syracuse City mayor's race and the statewide decision on whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. We've hosted debates for both of these decisions on this program and you can find them on But there are other decisions facing citizens this November and an important one is the race for two at-large city council seats. Voters have a choice among four candidates for those two spots and they join me today for our final election oriented program.

7:19 Grant Reeher: But first let me turn to Frank Cetera the kind of the same question because you'll be on there as a Green. I don't think your campaign literature has exactly the same kind of statements about the Democratic leadership [as Republican Norm Snyder does]. Nonetheless if you're elected you'll be the Green Party person you'll be working with. You know people and other parties from yourselves. How how do you see that working and how do you see yourself being effective in that kind of environment?

7:43 Frank Cetera: Thanks Grant, I read your mind. I was expecting that same question to come right now. [laughter] First of all we're going to see one of the largest ever turnovers in the number of council seats and the representatives on council. And so it'll be a fresh start for lots of people. We are activists first and politicians second as Green Party members and we have been showcasing how we can work with the public and work with neighborhoods and communities. I intend that we will have a people's caucus in order to get things done as well as I feel like I already have a collegial relationship, enough of one with all the other candidates both for council and mayor, to be able to have an attitude of going in and being open minded and being willing to work with them not to be obstructionist but to stand firmly for the issues of working on policy related to ending poverty and segregation in Syracuse and that's pretty much where I'll draw the line. I work with everybody. But there's got to be a point where you say is this going to be a good result or a bad result in terms of the large number of poor people and working class in this city.

12:41 Grant Reeher: Frank Cetera just a couple of minutes before we go to the break where are you on this issue [policing]?

12:47 Frank Cetera: Yeah the question is in regards to how we're most effectively using the police officers that we have. It's unclear to me whether or not we can afford to place more officers on the street at one time. Lots of numbers being thrown around. I know that we have more police per capita in Syracuse than other cities our same size. So brings up many of the questions that the other counselors are asking in regards to utilization. There is however the alternative opportunity to instead of hiring more police officers, to hire more community outreach and community peace officers and mental health workers to be boots on the ground in the neighborhoods and in the same vein that we have a lot of interrupter nonprofit grassroots work out there. We can move that more into the domain of the city and try to stop many of these issues before they reach the need for policing. I espouse looking at a policy of “policing as a last resort”.

14:07 Grant Reeher: Frank Cetera, one of the priorities that you've spoken about is to try to create something you call a workers co-operative in the city - an intriguing name. What is that exactly, How would it work and how would it help?

14:25 Frank Cetera: Thanks Grant. A Workers co-operative is a type of corporation that operates to level the playing field between ownership and workers. We’re behind the curve here in Syracuse when it comes to developing worker cooperatives. New York City has given millions of dollars in the past couple of years to technical assistance programs to do this. Rochester is starting to do so as well. The idea is that over time we convert or create new businesses or maintain current businesses particularly from the baby boomer generation that are reaching retirement age. If we convert those capital assets to the worker class, so that they own the business as well as work in the business, that stabilizes the business in the neighborhood and the community and the city, keeps those jobs open and functioning, and diversifies the assets from a single owner class to a multiple person working class.

15:21 Grant Reeher: What kinds of businesses are you thinking that are going to be owned and why, and is there a certain type of business that it works better than others?

15:29 Frank Cetera: I'll give you the example of what's going on in Cleveland right now with the Evergreen Cooperatives. And this is something we could do here in Syracuse too. They take their anchor institutions - their eds and their meds - and they commit them to utilizing certain services [provided by the worker owned cooperative businesses]. So one of those is an industrial laundry for the linens. Another is a greenhouse that grows food - an urban farm type of business. So any type of business that would work in a product or service oriented industry could be created as a worker co-op.
20:28 Grant Reeher: So now we've just got a couple of minutes left and I guess this will be sort of a version of a lightning round here but just for our listeners I want to have each of you register very very quickly your positions on a couple of things. You probably know which things I'm going to ask about. Frank let’s start with you. What would you like to see for I-81?
20:50 Frank Cetera: I would love to see the coming down of I-81 and the establishment of the community grid as it creates a more walkable livable community and city, as well as additional commercial development opportunities.
21:53 Grant Reeher: Frank Cetera are we going to get any disagreement on either of these [city county consolidation]?
21:56 Frank Cetera: No to the current proposal, sorry Grant [laughter].
21:59 Grant Reeher: And finally here. Does anybody in just the last few seconds - there's been an agreement in Onondaga County for more sharing of services is it going to lead to some savings, Perhaps it's the first step toward something more ambitious. Is anybody particularly excited about this and want to say something about it quickly? Frank you've got your hand up.
22:22 Frank Cetera: Yes it's possible to have some shared services create some savings but it's probably small change in the big sea; what we're looking at as Greens is we’ve proposed an up to 1 percent progressive income tax for the city that would create a broad fair sustainable tax base. That's progressive not regressive.
23:07 Grant Reeher: Thank you very much. You've been listening to conversations on WRVO public media conversations and the public as.
23:21 - The Campbell conversations conversations in the public interest was hosted and produced by Grant Reeher, engineered by Tom Fazzio and edited by Jason Smith. Campbell Conversations is a joint production of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University and WRVO public media. To learn more about the program or to hear previous interviews visit
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