Green Party's Frank Cetera to seek at-large seat on Syracuse Common Council

Originally published at by Chris Baker.

Frank Cetera.JPG
Frank Cetera is running for one of two vacant at-large seats on the Syracuse Common Council. Cetera, a member of the Green Party, ran for the council's 2nd district in 2015. (Chris Baker |
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Frank Cetera is seeking to be the first Green Party candidate elected to the Syracuse Common Council.

Cetera will run for one of two open at-large seats on the Common Council this fall.

Cetera, 44, lives on the city's Near Westside with his wife, activist Ursula Rozum. He works for the Onondaga Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College, consulting small- and medium-sized businesses. He is an official with the teachers union there, a delegate to the Greater Syracuse Labor Council and board president of Cooperative Federal Credit Union. 

Among his top priorities for the city are creating a municipal sidewalk program to keep sidewalks clear of snow, creating a worker's cooperative to stabilize the workforce and forging collective relationships with the county and the state.

He also supports a progressive income tax for people who live and work in the city, something proposed by Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins.

"We need the folks in eds and meds who live in the suburbs and surrounding towns and villages," he said. "But we also need them to take on their fair share of responsibility for city infrastructure."

Cetera said he would encourage live-streaming of Common Council meetings for people who couldn't attend. 

Cetera ran for the Council's 2nd District seat in 2015, losing to incumbent Chad Ryan, a Democrat. He took 21 percent of the vote in a three-way race that also included Republican Maryrose Angelo.

The Green Party's influence locally has steadily expanded beyond its small group of party members in recent elections. There are 378 registered Greens in the city -- about one-half of a percent of the registered voters. In 2015, though, Hawkins earned more than 5,000 votes in a losing race for city auditor and Cetera took 413 votes in the 2nd district.

Cetera joins Hawkins on the Green ticket this year. Hawkins said Monday the party will likely have several more candidates in races for local office. 

There are four Democrats seeking the party's endorsement for the two seats: Khalid Bey, Kyle Madden, Gary Morris and Tim Rudd. The Democrats meet later this week to choose candidates. 

Can Green Party Crack City Hall with Syracuse Councilor-at-Large Candidate?

Originally published at


Syracuse City Hall, Syracuse, NY - A fourth candidate has entered the race for two Councilor-at-Large Seats on the Syracuse Common Council, that will be contested this November.  Progressive politics that oppose a conservative Congress and President might play a role in the local election.  The Green Party locally has run numerous candidates for a range of positions in City Hall, including this year's candidacy for Mayor by Howie Hawkins.  None has broken through to get elected yet.  

Is it time for Syracuse City Hall to get a green tint?  Frank Cetera of the Green Party believes so because of recent activism here around the environment or immigrants, and against conservative Washington politics.

“The greens are in line with many of those policies that the CNY Solidarity Coalition and other groups are espousing.  In addition to that all of us as candidate s with the greens, we are doing that work, we have been doing that work and we continue to do that work.” 

He’d support pushing some of the city’s economic development investments toward worker cooperatives and worker-owned businesses, something that’s gaining momentum in Rochester, Buffalo and New York City to support small, local businesses.

“Those are jobs that are stable.  Those are jobs that aren’t going anywhere because owners have control over them.  If we take a small portion of money from our budget to create worker-owned business center and development opportunities, instead of continually giving that money away to corporate developers, we con create more of those opportunities.” 

Cetera shares an idea of Green Party Mayoral Candidate Howie Hawkins of imposing a small income tax on people who work in the city, including those who commute in. 

“Because Syracuse does need the workers that come from outside of the city.  We need the folks in our Eds (education) and meds (medical) who are living in our surrounding suburbs and towns and villages.  But we also need them to take on their fair share of our city infrastructure that supports their employers and supports their jobs.”


He says he’d like to make city hall work better for residents by streaming common council meetings live over the internet, beefing up T-N-T groups, and figuring out, as most other snowy cities have done, a way to clear the sidewalks.

“We have individuals who live here who need to get to work.  We have families that need to go grocery shopping and we have students that need to walk to their grade school, middle school, high school and college locations. And we intend to take the burden off of the shoulders of individuals and onto the collective residents as a whole here in Syracuse. 

There will be two Councilor-at-Large seats open in November’s election.  Cetera joins a field that includes announced candidates Kyle Madden, Tim Rudd and Khalid Bey. 

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