T plus 4 weeks: the vote, analysis, reflections, strategy, and future - all about it all

Although I was not voted in as your next Common Councilor At-Large, I wanted to follow-up about my plans, focus, willingness, passion, and strategy for effecting change and helping to build the peoples’ power of Syracuse. I will lay out this strategy further down in this letter following an analysis of the details from my race.  And I hope you will see how it dovetails with not only your own personal strategy and activism, but also that of the progressive political community in Syracuse and Onondaga County.

5 FOR THE VOTE

  1. My vote percentage for the November 2017 election was 9% of the total, which translates into 18% of voters choosing me on their ballot ( two seats being selected for) - a small decrease from the 20.8% of voters who selected me on their ballots in 2015.  

  2. I received a total of 3,443 votes, over 8x the amount I received in 2015. This was a citywide total compared to a district, but larger numbers of votes means greater name recognition, and wide-spread support of my candidacy and our platform against poverty.  

  3. I had a citywide vote total comparable to former Democratic Party Councilor Lance Denno - who undoubtedly was a much more known name in politics when he ran on the Green Party line in 2015 and who received only 365 more votes for 3,808 total for the same position in a three-way race (whereas I achieved my vote total in a four-way race).   

  4. My total was on a single ballot line, the other candidates ran on two or three party lines.

  5. With only 400 registered Greens in Syracuse, I received 8x more votes than the number registered in our party.  In a Mayoral campaign season in which person was stressed over party, Greens continue to pull in votes many times our registered voter numbers.

5 FOR THE ANALYSIS

  1. We can be confident in the work we did, with the limited resources we had available, as the only candidates not accepting financial support from corporations or for-profit PACs.

  2. We have not lost ground, we have held our ground, even in a year when Independence ballot line votes were stronger due to Ben Walsh’s Mayoral campaign as a self- proclaimed independent (through unaffiliated voter registration status).

  3. The winning campaign cut across boundaries not only of party but also of ideology.  In this respect we must be vigilant as residents to hold those elected accountable, for, In standing for everything, the risk is that one will stand for nothing.

  4. The independence touted and credited with the winning mayoral race during this last campaign season was an independence from the the major party lines.  This helped to move many votes to the Independence Party line, which moved votes down ballot to the Republican candidate for Councilor At-Large.  Howie Hawkins puts it in his analysis of what happened due to dynamics such as“the anti-Trump Democratic vote that swept the nation. That explains the strong Democratic vote in the council races.  The second was the record levels of dissatisfaction with the two-party system. That helps explain the strong vote for the Independence line in the council races and the win by “independent” Ben Walsh running on the Independence line in the mayoral race. It was the vote the Greens might have captured”

  5. The Mayoral victor’s independence was based upon his unaffiliated voter registration and lack of ballot line status from either of the two commonly recognized major parties.  As a Green we always maintain such an independence from the duopoly party lines as de facto policy.  In addition, we double-down on our independence staying financially clear of campaign contributions from corporations and for-profit PACs, allowing us to have the clearest and cleanest path to representing the poor and working class in our city.

5 FOR THE REFLECTION

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  1. Since Election Day, aside from staying on track with my responsibilities at the Onondaga SBDC as a public business advisor, and as President of Cooperative Federal Credit Union, I took a couple big breaths and a few naps, spent lots of time outside and in the garden at home and at 610 Gifford St, took a few days of silent retreat at Hamilton’s Chapel House in which I read a great book on participatory budgeting in the Black Rose Books series “Another City is Possible” by Yves Cabbanes, and the satirical dystopian “Utopia Three” by Hugo award winner George Alec Effinger, cooked a full vegetarian meal with and for family and friends over the long fall weekend, and kept busy with Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today Westside sector meeting and citywide facilitator gathering and training.
  2. The main print outlet in Syracuse, the Post-Standard newspaper, gave minimal coverage to the Councilor At-Large race.  With the exception of the coverage of my announcement event on May 9, there was only one mention of the race and the candidates in an informational article post, but one that didn’t contain any information about the issues or policies, on October 18th.  In a final word, the Post announced its endorsements (for which I do appreciate the allotted interview of myself and the other candidates), which went to the Democratic Party candidates, with a single thin paragraph referring to a few of my planks in a diluted form.
  3. Syracuse.com’s post election analysis was with two registered Democrats - Joe Driscoll who won an uncontested race for the 5th District Council seat, and Tim Rudd, plus unaffiliated voter Ruthnie Angrand a “community advocate who works in marketing”.  All three mention that the first take-way is that the results represents “change” yet not recognizing the absence of a Green or Republican on the same panel they are participating in.  Of the issues discussed, the analysts mentioned one of the changes they would like to see, the live-streaming of council meetings which I had been forcefully campaigning for, yet recognition for the idea was only attributed to other Democratic candidates.
  4. One of the most fun activities during the campaign was my facebook live Q&A with Ursula Rozum, which ended up reaching 9,465 people with over 2,400 views.  But social media is very much an echo chamber.  In response, I am now excited about our upcoming local events and political activism radio program on the public airwaves at Syracuse’s Spark! Radio 93.7 and 103.3 FM. Spark! is an independent media project focusing on Syracuse voices, Syracuse music and Syracuse stories. Volunteer-run and non-commercial, supporting local artists, giving voice to the underrepresented and striving to be a reflection of the community - using radio, online streaming, podcasting, social media and video to promote community engagement.
  5. The best of Syracuse came out for this election, but we have a lot of work to find the rest of the best and empower them too.  Consider joining us at Political Feedback Karaoke Fundraiser event on Saturday December 9th - https://www.facebook.com/events/295221680971540

5 FOR THE STRATEGY

Although I will signify my interest and apply for appointment to the upcoming open At-Large council seat, the overall strategy I am undertaking moving forward is not one of campaigning, but of taking action, representing the constituents that I ran to serve, and creating change as demonstrated by the achievements below from the past 4 weeks after Election Day.

  1. Major themes of discussion during the campaign season were openness, transparency, change, and resident involvement.  I have initiated public conversation for the need for these themes to be part of the At-Large Councilor seat that will be appointed when vacated by Helen Hudson to take her seat as President of the Council.  Stay tuned for more on this issue as January 1stapproaches.  Meanwhile, see media coverage of my campaign at http://www.urbancny.com/request-for-public-and-open-consideration-of-appointed-at-large-council-seat/ and http://waer.org/post/former-councilor-large-candidate-calls-transparency-when-filling-upcoming-vacant-seat

  2. Additionally, I have started providing archived audio coverage of Common Council study sessions, regular meetings, and committee meetings at my website to allow anyone who would like to hear and learn from them, the opportunity to do so - even if they cannot attend the meetings in person.  Visit http://votecetera-syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/meetings_audio

  3. Another very important decision being made now is the creation of the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication which will start operating sometime in 2018.   I spoke in Syracuse Common Council chambers this past week about transparency and public process in favor of open information from the Bureau’s activities. I almost didn't get the chance because there is no requirement for a new piece of law on the agenda to have a committee meeting or public hearing before being voted on by council, and this committee meeting was implemented last second at the end of the previous regular meeting only because a few questions from Nader Maroun had not yet been answered by legal. Another change I think we will have to work on soon. I also spoke out in favor of a mechanism to ensure that neighborhoods in the most need that have been overlooked for decades resulting in the poverty and segregation we see today, will see not only an adequate amount, but a favored amount, of placement of resources from the new bureau.  Read more at http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/citys_new_code_violation_bureau_likely_wont_be_up_and_running_until_next_summer.html

  4. I am making available to everyone a copy of the Common Council Rules of Procedure.  I was unable to find this document online, so I approached and asked City Clerk John Copanas who provided me with a print copy. I have scanned it and am posting at the following page for your convenience:      http://votecetera-syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/rules_of_procedure - remember, information is power.

  5. My next action will be to soon post a draft of the sidewalk municipalization legislation I have written, to be available for public comment.  I will be using the https://mymadison.io/website where the Green Party of Onondaga County has been approved as a Sponsor for disseminating policy documents for public collaboration.

5 FOR THE FUTURE

Our average donation during campaign season was surprisingly high at $52.00.  So, if  everyone who voted for me gave just 10% of that donation average, or $5, today we would reach our yearly county committee overhead fundraising costs immediately (insurance, website, database, rent, utilities, etc). Contributions from supporters like you keep the Onondaga Greens truly independent. But not everyone can or will donate. And that's fine. This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain independent politics in Onondaga County.

https://votecetera-syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/donate_2017

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