The Washington Square Neighborhood Association hosted a candidates' night on Thursday October 15th at St. John the Baptist right Court St. A one question go-round for the candidates took place in which each had 2 minutes to introduce themselves and answer the question: “If elected, what will you do for the Washington Square area?”
The text of my statement is presented below, and audio of both my statement and my opponent from the Democratic line (my Republican challenger did not feel it important enough to attend) can be heard at this link! As you'll hear, my opponent was unprepared, nonchalant, and as brief as possible without giving those in attendance any proactive or innovative platforms or policies for a future of dignity for All Of Us here in Syracuse. #VoteDignity #VoteCetera
Good evening, my name is Frank Cetera and I am running for 2nd District City Council on the Green Party line.
I serve as Board President at Cooperative Federal Credit Union (down on North Salina St.) that manages $22 million in assets of your money here in Syracuse; I founded a non-profit that has converted 6 vacant city green spaces into productive food gardens; and through my public service day job as a NY State certified small business advisor at Onondaga Community College, I work with entrepreneurs to develops business plans which have led to over $2 million in local investment and 200 jobs created….. I understand community finance and what it takes to help people to succeed.
My opponent will tell you that he is hanging his hat on constituent services. I tell you that Constituent services is the bare minimum that a Councillor must do (and I would give it my all), but it is not enough if you want our children and families to have a better life and to stay here in Syracuse instead of running away to another city. If we simply hang our hat only on reacting to the inevitable potholes and other problems as they occur, we will never position ourselves for a transformation from a City of poverty to one of success.
The goal of city government at this time must be to end poverty and to create opportunities for working families to have a dignified life, with living wage jobs, fully funded schools and public services (like police and snow removal) and a responsive city government.
I will take my grassroots and professional success to City Hall and elevate the councilor position to one that brings passion to monitoring the operation and performance of city agencies, making land use decisions, overseeing the city's budget, and legislating on a wide range of other subjects.
The two items that I would like to work on to support the Washington Square park area are:
First, we must convert our struggling and underutilized schools (such as Grant, Franklin, and Lincoln) into neighborhood hubs that offer more intensive and comprehensive wrap around services to address educational and social-emotional needs of our neighborhoods - including youth recreation after-school and on weekends.
Second, and this is the holy grail, I will empower everyone by implementing a participatory budgeting ordinance in Syracuse that would dedicate up to 20% of the municipal budget to citizens themselves to identify, discuss, and prioritize spending as they see fit, giving each of us the power to make real decisions about how public funds are used in our community.
And speaking of the Land Bank, one of those 6 vacant properties I’ve converted is a new community garden on Gifford St.
Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight. And I hope to have your support on Election Day.