Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Westside Residents Coalition Call on City of Syracuse To Implement a Solution to Sidewalk Snow Management

In Government, Pedestrians, Public Infrastructure on February 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm


Saturday, February 21, 2015 (Syracuse, NY)

Today, the Westside Residents Coalition (WRC) called on Syracuse CIty Council Members, including 2nd District Councilor Chad M. Ryan, and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, to implement a solution to sidewalk snow management.  The WRC is a grassroots effort of organizations and individuals of the Syracuse Westside working for the betterment of the neighborhood.

Karaline Rothwell, Co-Chair of the WRC and 2015 MLK Jr Unsung Heroes Award recipient, said “Grassroots efforts such as WestSideWalks (WSW) are great for building community empowerment and engagement, but are not long-term solutions to the snow management crisis; we need our elected officials to step up as leaders for everyone in Syracuse by developing and implementing a plan to ensure Syracuse is a walkable community year-round.”

As the snowiest major American city on record (with an average yearly snowfall of 126.3 inches according to Syracuse should have long ago figured out a solution to the sidewalk snow management puzzle. A history of stalling seems to permeate the elected official’s efforts, when our nearby Golden Snowball rival Rochester, NY has a sidewalk snow removal program in place that is a “A Partnership between the City and its Residents”.

With the Rochester program, the city provides supplemental service to help property owners clear their sidewalks during a substantial winter storm. Rochester is one of the few cities in the United States to provide this service to its residents, financed by an embellishment fee on property tax bills that is based on the front footage of a property

Many residents of the Near Westside (NWS) are struggling financially in these tough economic times following the The Great Recession of 2008 in which,  According to the Department of Labor, roughly 8.7 million jobs were shed from February 2008 – February 2010, and GDP contracted by 5.1%, making the Great Recession the worst since the Great Depression.

Many of the NWS residents rely on pedestrian based forms of transportation such as bus transit, bicycling, and walking because they cannot afford car ownership.

Local Social Entrepreneur Rick Destito, Owner of the Gear Factory, has taken to public shaming as a strategy to encourage businesses to shovel their walks.  The Facebook group “I don’t care about clearing my sidewalks of snow” provides a public digital space for sharing photos of offending businesses and property owners.  Destitio says “Think of this group site as community wide photo-journalism experiment for all of us who care about each other in the City of Syracuse, our kids, our elderly, and those of us who really do just love being able to live in walkable communities!!”

Organizer Frank Cetera, Co-Founder of the Alchemical Nursery, rides his bicycle to work from Otisco St to North Salina St year round.  “I’m forced to use a cut-through from W. Fayette St to Erie Blvd that crosses the railroad tracks, because the roads and sidewalks underneath the Fayette and Geddes railroad overpasses are so dangerous and rarely adequately cleared of snow.”

WestSideWalks is in its 3rd year of operations, and needs volunteers every Saturday from 11am-12:30pm, meeting at Brown Memorial Church, 228 Davis St).  WSW is also soliciting sponsors for its Saturday session such as the non-profit The Alchemical Nursery, which sponsored today’s event, and St. Joseph’s Hospital which has provided a donation to help cover community lunch costs following each shovelling outing.

The WRC has also implemented an Adopt-A-Trashcan program which will be looking for adopters to place a publicly accessible trashcan on their property once the snow season ends.

To volunteer or sponsor the WRC programs, contact:

Karaline Rothwell, 315-308-0439


Syracuse Common Council Meeting on Centro Proposed Cuts

In Government, Transportation, Video Documentation on February 19, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Syracuse Common Council committee meeting on alternatives to cutting service to Central NY’s transit system. Budget cuts threaten weekend and evening hour services.

PART 1 (0:14:57)

PART 2 (1:40:39)

Centro Cuts Capture

Please consider attending and testifying at an upcoming Public Hearing in your community, schedule here.

A “Convenient” Time for Community Feedback on Centro

In Government, Reader's Letter, Transportation on February 18, 2015 at 8:13 am

Note from the Author:

“Thank you for your work organizing writing for action. I look forward to the better letters of action and “yes! and!” mentality of the writers’ ideas, and your writing group meeting, and all of your experiences in political punditry (I just write and ride the bus. Thank you for understanding). I refused to wait until Centro found a “convenient” time for community feedback. Thank you for your time and attention. 

Sincerely, Amie St.Amour “

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m writing in response to the testimony of the Centro Executive of CNYRTA to the Senate Finance Committee & the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. I found the notice of the testimony posted on Centro’s website. I think that the community deserved notice to be actively involved in the prevention of Centro’s business model failure when there were clear warning signs. Was this not done in advance to protect the Executive’s job and pay in the disguise of protecting Centro employees’ jobs? Furthermore, did Centro fail to imagine resources that might be available, such as from Security, or Energy (having a “Green” building and some “Green” buses), or Destiny USA (as part of the settlement that led Destiny USA to continue), or even from Defense (the cross-county Centro routes serve many, and Veterans can only use the VA on Veteran’s Insurance)? Was he not interested in problem-solving if it meant accountability: the possibility of the Centro Executive’s personal losses? Now, the proposal to end service after 9 pm on weekdays and no service on Sundays is a form of racism and class warfare (whether or not there is proof that it was the Centro Executive’s intent).

I’m appalled that Centro’s announcement wasn’t one of increased service and commitment to righting wrongs in a city on the scale of Syracuse. In my opinion, the statement describes the Centro Executive’s complete lack of accountability, mentioning little of the City of Syracuse and the customers/riders. Each day people with budgets within “the skin of our teeth” depend on Syracuse having a transportation system. They had to buy bus parts? How many? Which ones? From where/who? Where are the receipts? Why should this be my problem after I paid fare to TAKE THE BUS? Now that emergency funds are needed, the community will be invited to respond, and they will update us as to when?!!

It should be reasonable in Syracuse to expect that in riding transit there will be lower risks than driving a car, and that the fares be less expensive than gas. The community was always there with questions. Although the transit isn’t as good, Syracuse, unlike New York City, had/has the opportunity to learn from the models of other cities like Charlotte, NC or Rochester, MN. The Executive had the opportunity to work with businesses, hospitals, and universities (some like SU with government contracts), to beg attention in advance to the needs of the community before this “Dead End” or pseudo ultimatum. Funds for Anti-terrorism, “Defense”, and “Security” seem to be the necessary fix for now, as other transit operations in the State are also struggling to be safe, let alone be of the 21st century and great minds of prevention.

Not only did the Centro Executive distract from his specific accountability or authority for apology, he didn’t use the opportunity, at the very least, to point to his “partners” in unaccountability in what happens to transit and why Centro is “safe” from bankruptcy, competition, and Anti-trust laws? He didn’t use the opportunity, at the very least, to point to anything that is working, from a skilled bus driver who makes sure everyone (including, but not limited to students) is safely off the bus before continuing to drive, or mentioning the statistics of on-time arrivals and departures.

This isn’t the best letter, but it has done more than the testimony of the Centro Executive that most likely made more in a year than I will in my life (some of it spent on Centro buses). Centro should be bailed out and it should be acknowledged by the City, or the State, or Federal governments (along with unpaid community voices), that this proposal is a form of racism and class warfare and also infringes on freedom of religion and separation of Church and State. And to add “insult to injury” of Centro raving over new maps! (at what cost?) on the website (while ignoring the simple confusion occurring when “buses continue on as other buses” and so don’t have the all the route numbers expected on the signs even after a rider doing the work of finding the way) Racism?!!! and Socio-economics?!!! is how the Centro Executive is now getting out of getting caught as the Centro Executive in charge of a failing business?! What a role model for how NOT to use time and records. Centro or CNYRTA should be held accountable in the future to make certain it is better.

Sincerely, A Citizen Bus Rider

Editor’s Note: Centro’s proposed changes are located at this link.  Please consider attending and testifying at an upcoming Public Hearing in your community, schedule here.  A Syracuse Common Council Committee Meeting about the cuts will also take place tomorrow, Thursday, Feb 19, 5:30 pm at City Hall.

Green Party: Katko Wrong on Keystone, Urge Climate Action and Divestment from Fossil Fuels 

In Climate, Corporations, Energy, Government, Katko, Media Advisory on February 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

SYRACUSE, NY – The Green Party of New York expressed disappointment with Rep. John Katko’s vote in support of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Rep. Katko vote in support of the Keystone XL pipeline shows that he is blind to the climate crisis. It’s disgraceful that our representative in Congress would support further development of infrastructure to exploit the Canadian Tar Sands, the most intensive and dirty extractive projects on the planet.  This pipeline will further lock the world into massive carbon emissions, with inevitable spills like the one we saw last month which dumped thousand 30,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Yellowstone River,” said Ursula Rozum, Green Party of Onondaga Secretary and a former Green candidate for Congress.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is the opposite of progress. Climate scientists tell us that to avoid catastrophic climate change, we have to ensure that 80% of the existing fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground.  We must to halt all new investments in fossil fuels infrastructure, and commit to a swift transition to renewable energy, ASAP. We should commit to 100% clean energy by 2030,” added Rozum.

The Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the GulfCoast. Oil from tar sands, or bitumen, is the dirtiest kind of crude of oil. Refining tar sands oil requires four times the energy and produces 5 to 20 percent more greenhouse gases compared to light crude oil. Northern Alberta is home to indigenous populations whose cultural traditions and livelihood are coming under attack because of the tar-sands operations.

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross farms, parks, wetlands, forests, conservation lands, protected wildlife areas, as well as tribal lands. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) has called the U.S. House’s authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline an act of war ( It has the potential to contaminate over 1,000 water­ways in­cluding the Ogalala aquifer, which supplies drinking water to millions of people in the midwest and is used for irrigation of vast acres of farmland.

Recent spills are irrefutable proof that pipeline safety cannot be guaranteed. Recent examples include the July 2011 and January 2015 pipeline ruptures that dumped tens of thousands of gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Yellowstone River and the March 2013 ExxonMobil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. The derailment of tank cars carrying crude oil in July 2013 caused an explosion that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec.

The Green Parties of Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey have banded together against a proposed fossil-fuel pipeline through the region, calling themselves the Green Alliance to Stop the Pipelines, or GASP (

GASP opposes a plan by the six New England governors to spend $6 billion on the Kinder Morgan gas transmission pipeline, which would bring fracked natural gas to export terminals in Maine and Canada.

The Green Party is part of the February 13th Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Day which in New York State is pressuring Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest New York’s pension fund from fossil fuel investments.

Contact Ursula Rozum, Green Party of Onondaga, Secretary, (315) 414-7720,

TPP Fast Track Daily Actions Calendar: #CNYvsTPP

In Corporations, Direct Action, Government, International on February 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

Indy Media CNY stands on the side of stopping the Fast Tracking of the TPP international free trade agreement in it’s tracks (Public Citizen has a great collection of information and data that explains the concerns about the TPP). As a service, we are compiling a list of daily actions that you can take to participate in this campaign.  Actions include educational opportunities such as curated videos and articles, social media storms, TPP Tuesday call-ins, taking pledges, writing letters, flyering, and more.  Each day we will select an action of merit and importance and share on our public calendar.  Just click on the action to learn all about it and how to participate.  The Fast Track vote is expected sometime in the next 1-2 months, so the time is now to learn, and communicate with each other and your elected officials.


Dr. Jill Stein Announces Formation of Exploratory Committee For 2016 Presidential Bid Declaring “It’s Time For A New Society, A New Economy, A New Way Forward.”

In Government, Press Release on February 6, 2015 at 10:41 am


For Immediate Release: February 6, 2014

Press Contact:
Dennis Trainor, Jr. | c: 978.727.4433 | e: | web:

Dr. Jill Stein Announces Formation of Exploratory Committee For 2016 Presidential Bid DeclaringIt’s Time For A New Society, A New Economy, A New Way Forward.”

Exclusive Interview With ABC News Followed By Press Conference

Washington, DC- National Press Club

At a Press Conference this morning, Dr. Jill Stein told the assembled media, guests, and a live TV audience tuning into C-Span that she is “testing the waters” and forming an exploratory committee to seek the Green Party nomination for President of the United States. More information about the exploratory committee can be found at

The declaration came just hours after Dr. Stein’s exclusive interview with ABC News made a splash on the Yahoo News homepage. (Watch the full ABC News video here.)

In her prepared remarks, Stein noted that the “demand for deep change has grown to a fevered pitch. Workers are fighting for living wages and the right to a union. Students are demanding an end to college debt that’s crippled a generation. Young people are leading the courageous Black Lives Matter movement to end police militarization and racist violence,” she said. “Momentum is growing against abusive high stakes testing that forces poor kids down the deadly school to prison pipeline. The fight is building against predatory mass incarceration. Hard-working immigrants are standing up for a humane path to citizenship, not simply a 3-year deferral of deportation. Frontline and Indigenous communities are leading the resistance to toxic fossil fuels that threaten to disrupt civilization as we know it in our lifetime.”

Stein was the Green Party’s 2012 candidate for President of the United States. She is an organizer, physician, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She has helped lead initiatives promoting healthy communities, local green economies and stronger democracy – including campaign finance reform, green jobs, racially-just redistricting, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxic-pesticides.

Speaking to the potential that Dr. Stein represents to the groups traditionally tied to the Democratic Party, such as the Labor Movement, Richard Monje, a Union leader with the group Chicago and Mid-West Regional Joint Board of Workers Unite, issued the following statement:

“Jill Stein will be a voice in the electoral arena that will represent all workers and will fight for our right to unionize. As long as the Union movement allies itself with the Democratic Party only, the power of workers in general, and Unions specifically, will continue to decline.”

And Dr. Margaret Flowers, an organizer with Popular Resistance, said of Dr. Stein:

“I am glad to see that she has the energy and persistence to consider running for President again in 2016. She has great integrity, a deep understanding of the root causes of the many crises we face and the courage to challenge the system so that we can create a healthier and more sustainable society and planet.

Also urging Dr. Stein to run for President in 2016 were Anita Rios, the 2014 Green Party nominee for Governor of Ohio, along with local recording artist Head Roc, know worldwide as the “Mayor of DC Hip Hop.” Both Rios and Head Roc spoke at the news conference today; video of their remarks will be available for the press at by late Friday afternoon.

In closing, Dr. Stein told the assembled media and guests, “This is the time to come together. Solutions are in our hands. Justice is in our hands. Democracy is in our hands. Together we can create a world that works for all of us, and ensure that People, Planet and Peace will prevail. It’s in our hands.”

More information at

SOS! Save Our Public Schools – Brian Jones, Green Candidate for Lt. Governor, Speaks Out in Syracuse

In Education, Government, Taxes on October 7, 2014 at 8:38 pm


View this archived event at

“Public education in New York is under attack during Cuomo’s tenure as governor. New York schools are the most segregated schools in the country and they’re woefully underfunded. Additionally, the Common Core based test-and-punish regime currently being pushed in schools can be used to hold students back, deny them diplomas, fire teachers, and close schools. Instead of the privatization schemes pushed by Cuomo and Republican candidate Rob Astorino, Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones are calling for fully funded, quality public education, qualitative assessments instead of the punitive high stakes testing model, and an end to the attack on teacher’s unions.”

Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison: Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement

In Drones, Government, Media Advisory, Peace on July 11, 2014 at 11:39 am

On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.

These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.”

Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”

The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds.

Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected.

Her verdict is being appealed.

For information on how to support Mary Anne, contact Ellen Grady at

From Judy Bello: Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to a year in jail for standing in the highway across from the front gate of Hancock Air National Guard Base taking pictures of protesters. Below is a link to a Video of the Courtroom Drama: On July 10, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced after being convicted of violating an Order of Protection protecting Col Earl Evans, Material Support Commander at Hancock Air National Guard Base. The video includes Mary Anne’s Sentencing Statement and Judge Gideon’s cynical defense of his Sentence, followed by her removal by guards to Jail.

CNY-Cajibio Delegation Makes Seed Contribution for Future of Colombian Campesin@s

In Corporations, Government, International, Media Advisory, Peace on July 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm

CAJIBIO, CAUCA, COLOMBIA – The 10th anniversary CNY-Cajibio sister-city delegation participated in a symbolic presentation of seeds at the Feria Campesina (Small Farmer’s Fair) in Cajibio on July 4, 2014. A card signed by all twelve delegates which read “The Future Is In The Seed”, accompanied the contribution. Open pollinated varieties of tomato, pepper, summer squash, and melons saved by Frosty Morning Farm in Truxton, and two heritage bean varieties of the Onondaga people were given to Marylén Serna Salinas of the Movimiento Campesinos de Cajibio (MCC) By delegate Colleen Kattau.

Kattau, said that “the seed donation symbolizes the right to save, share, and distribute seed autonomously which should be everyone’s right”.

This Feria is the second held by the MCC in support of the Campesin@’s campaign to be recognized as a distinct population with rights and responsibilities by the Colombian state government. The exchange of seeds, knowledge, flavors, and products that took place at the Feria was also a demonstration of the Campesin@’s quest for food and economic sovereignty.

Delegates also displayed and provided tastings of Finger Lakes agricultural and artistic products such as honey, maple syrup, cards designed by local artists, soap, beeswax candles and more (all donated by artists and small farmers from Central New York). Emily Bishop and Anthony Zaun-Lokos also made a statement representing the youth contingent of this delegation as to how the seed contribution represents the next generation of the sister-city relationship and the building of relationships with people abroad who share common goals and challenges.

Patricia Rodriguez, Associate Professor at Ithaca College, stated that “providing international solidarity and support for the MCC is now more important than ever as peace talks in Colombia continue after the re-election of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Campesin@’s fight for recognition, and representation at the negotiations.”

The delegates plan to organize community events in their respective communities in Central New York upon their return to share about the organizational processes and the united efforts that the MCC and other groups have engaged in at the local, regional, and national levels, to bring about social change.

Contact: Patricia Rodriguez at or Frank Cetera at



In Government, History, Media Advisory on June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Jean Kessner, Syracuse Common Council, will Challenge David Valesky in a Democratic Primary if he continues to refuse to return to the Dems.   Dave Valesky is part of the IDC ( Independent Democratic  Coalition) that has been siding with the Republican minority to give them control of the Senate.  By doing so the Senate has blocked important legislation like a Moratorium on Fracking, Women’s Equality, DREAM act ect.  Please see these two Important events this Week

Tuesday June 24th at 4pm Press conference with Assembly person Sam Roberts and others supporters of Jean Kessner’s primary against Dave Valesky if he refuses to reunite with Senate Democratic Conference.

WHERE: New York State Office Building 333 E Washington St, Syracuse, NY

Thursday June 26th at 4 pm PETITIONING FOR Jean Kessner to get on the ballot.  There will be a press event with clip boards in hand at 4pm at the SEIU office in Syracuse 250 South Clinton St

Contact Larry at 917-721-5205


June 19th, 2014 SYRACUSE, NY – As this year’s legislative session comes to an end it is once again clear that the Republican-IDC coalition in the Senate has failed to deliver on key legislation supported by a majority of New Yorkers. Senator Valesky was among the small group of Democrats who formed the IDC and gave control of the Senate to Republicans despite the Republicans not having the majority of votes. Legislation important to people in Syracuse and the entire senate district, like a real Minimum Wage Increase, the DREAM Act, Women’s Equality Act, a ban on Fracking, and Public Funding of Elections have been blocked by the Republicans in control as a result of the Republican-IDC coalition deal. Concerned citizens, leaders and advocates responded today by calling on Senator Valesky to rejoin the Democrats and take back control of the Senate from the Republicans. Further, if Senator Valesky instead chooses to continue to support Republican control of the Senate, a growing list of organizations and local leaders are resolved to enthusiastically support Jean Kessner in her bid to defeat Senator Valesky in a Democratic primary.

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