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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Establish a 311 System for all city inquiries and questions to allow for a response within 24 hours;
- End the practice of shutting off water where children, the elderly and the disabled are residing;
- Expedite all court cases against landlords involving lead in the homes where children live;
- Clear snow from all sidewalks throughout the city;
- Fix potholes and minor street repairs within three days;
- Allow for convenient online payments of all city-wide collections and fees;
- Hire a police chief that is committed to rebuilding trust between police and the neighborhoods they serve;
- Bus all children to school who live more than one mile away or are under the age of 12 years old;
- Modernize codes enforcement to ensure all quality of life issues are resolved in a timely and professional manner;
- Create quality jobs through neighborhood revitalization; and
- Expedite the permitting process for homeowners and small businesses.
While the idea for respect and compassion of all citizens may not be exciting, it is an expectation our city government has failed to meet. We will do better.
As a former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, I am trained and experienced in the areas of emergency management and crisis response.
With regard to a crisis involving the city’s water supply, the City of Syracuse has responsibility to monitor its status, and I would expect to be among the first to know if a crisis developed. One of my first calls would be to our County Executive as a public health emergency lies with Onondaga County’s Emergency Management Services and Department of Public Health.
As mayor, I would immediately focus on 3 major tasks simultaneously, in coordination with the emergency management system: remediation of the emergency condition affecting the water supply; determining with experts whether residents can continue to use the water supply; and, supporting communication and distribution of needed resources to residents through an integrated media (including social media), community based organization, and street-to-street, door-to-door campaign to ensure that all residents especially vulnerable populations learn about the issue and needed actions.
Responding to a public health crisis requires experienced leadership, the ability to effectively communicate with all involved parties and most important, prioritizing the safety of people.