A Plan For My First 100 Days

As Mayor, we will hit the ground running and take immediate action to address the complex issues that Syracuse residents care about. This document represents what I plan to accomplish in my administration’s first 100 days. Let’s get to work!

VIEW THE PLAN

The Issues.

As a city, we face many challenges. Together, I hope that we can find and develop solutions that benefit everyone as we move into the future.

Questions?

Answer: Yes, I support Syracuse remaining a sanctuary city. There are believed to be 2,449 undocumented individuals in Syracuse, many of them children, who are trying to gain a foothold in a new country. We cannot leave them unprotected.

OPPORTUNITY: Undocumented individuals represent only 0.4% of Syracuse residents and 6% of immigrants living in Syracuse. There are 40,800 foreign-born, lawfully emigrated individuals living and working in Syracuse, an increase of over 42% between 2000-2014. Of this number, 5658, are refugees. Many of these individuals need safe housing, training, and well-paying jobs, and we need to work together to help them build their lives, families, and communities in Syracuse. For an informative report on this subject, click here.

Answer: I do not support this plan. I will not support any plan that silences the voices of Syracuse residents, burdens them with legacy debt and further isolates impoverished neighborhoods.

OPPORTUNITY: As your mayor I will take the lead and engage city residents, the private sector, community-based organizations, and government partners .We will present a plan that modernizes government, delivers services more efficiently and empowers our city.

Answer: Of course! Half our kids live in poverty, and we have the highest rate of concentrated poverty in the U.S. among African-American and Latino residents. This is UNACCEPTABLE, and these conditions will change on my watch. Our kids deserve better.

OPPORTUNITY: My #1 priority will be to drastically decrease our poverty rate before the end of my first term. My plan will focus on making quality housing affordable and support home ownership over a lifetime of renting; expedite enforcement against slumlords responsible for the squalid conditions in which many low-income residents are living, and establish work training opportunities that will lead to well-paying jobs, some of which already exist in the City, but lack the appropriately trained labor force. We will focus on neighborhood revitalization, while engaging individuals and institutions within our city to support these efforts.

Answer: As we know, I-81 is a multi-billion dollar projects primarily paid for by the federal government. Our city will take full advantage of this investment. In my view, the best project design is the one that can be expected to yield the most City revitalization and green spaces. I am prepared to look at all options and will not simply agree with the easiest option. I will work with the State of New York and require that these dollars be spent to provide jobs for local people, and I will work to ensure that the plan leaves Syracuse with thriving neighborhoods.

OPPORTUNITY: Former City of Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll is leading this effort on behalf of his hometown. I have every confidence in Commissioner Driscoll’s openness and willingness to listen to a plan presented by the City. It is time to have a conversation about what WE want our city to look like, and my administration will make sure the expectations of the city residents are fully met.

Answer:  In Syracuse we have people without a pathway to a job and people fearful of losing them. My jobs plan will have multiple layers:  entry-level opportunities for those just starting out; support for small business and entrepreneurship; and, efforts to spur market expansion for the world-class companies already in the region.

OPPORTUNITY:  Syracuse was created and still is a global hub of economic activity.  We need to think of ourselves in this way; market ourselves in this way; and, showcase our skilled workers and expertise to those who do not know us—yet.

Answer: The recent surge in violent crime and heroin-related deaths in Syracuse requires a block by block focus on root causes: neglected properties, guns, youth without jobs or hope. The solution lies in a comprehensive management approach to encourage choices that lead to safe neighborhoods and productive behavior. We will focus our efforts and resources by engaging neighborhood residents and community organizations like never before, to identify the sources of the problems and potential solutions.

This will involve:

  • Improving blighted conditions and addressing abandoned properties that have become havens for drug trafficking;
  • Increasing police staffing levels, training, technology, and roles in the community to better identify and deescalate conflicts and respond to patterns of concerning behavior before a crime occurs;
  • Engaging the healthcare community in strategies to combat drug addiction; and,
  • Engaging local educators to train young people for available jobs that pay a sustaining wage.
  • Creating a “gun court” modeled on an effective initiative led by Mayor Lovely Warren in Rochester, New York that dedicates one judge solely to weapons charges as a means of streamlining the adjudication process and reducing the number of guns—and people inclined to use them—on the streets. This initiative cut violent assaults in Rochester by 19% in one year, and we should replicate it in Syracuse.
  • Using all available public safety technology in our high crime neighborhoods to prove the city is serious about protecting the quality of life of our children.
Answer:  The City of Syracuse must consider its future in light of social, economic, and environmental sustainability and with an eye to remedying past decisions that have disadvantaged some neighborhoods over others.  Priorities include:  improving available housing options for middle income and lower income residents; repairing or replacing water infrastructure; enhancing public transportation; completing and extending the Onondaga Creek Walk and Erie Canal Trail to encourage people to travel the City by foot and bicycle; focusing on empty lots currently held by the Land Bank with a coordinated system of urban parks, forests, and gardens that will be aesthetically pleasing, create jobs, and encourage private investment in real estate, thereby increasing adjacent property values; and, seeking out opportunities to rehabilitate and repurpose former industrial sites.

OPPORTUNITY:  City government does not need to do it alone.  When I am Mayor, I will engage our many local experts to help develop a sustainability-focused development plan and provide input on the potential long-term effects of the actions we take to address today’s challenges.

Answer:  Currently, the Syracuse City School District consumes over 50% of the total budget of the City, and we need to see stronger outcomes from this investment even as we acknowledge that our schools are challenged by the exceptionally high proportion (over 70%) of enrolled students who struggle through each day in poverty.  The economic opportunities of a community are directly tied to its workforce’s education level, and we owe it to our kids–and ourselves–to prepare the next generation to work in existing and emerging fields.

We need to start with the basics:  kids need safe passage to a safe school where learning can happen.  SCSD spends almost $21M on a combination of contracted ($18.4M) and CENTRO ($2.4M) transportation services and pays another million dollars annually for drivers, mechanics, vehicles, and related insurance.  The District has requested an additional $4.6M to bus students living between 1-1.5 miles from school–meaning that many students still will be expected to walk in Syracuse winters through troubled neighborhoods.  Simply put, a more cost-effective strategy must be developed to bus every child to and from school and the savings reinvested in teaching and learning.  I will work with SCSD and CENTRO to deliver such a plan.

OPPORTUNITY:  As Mayor I also will work with SCSD to develop a strategic plan that moves us from the current high school graduation rate of 61% to at least the NYS average graduation rate of 79% within the span of years it takes to educate today’s kindergarteners.  We will focus on our youngest learners to get them the right start and support our middle schoolers to dream about a bright future and stay in school so that these dreams may become realities.