Posts Tagged ‘Syracuse’

Community Radio in Ithaca, Watkins Glen, North Syracuse, and the City of Syracuse

In Digital ACtivism, Media on March 5, 2016 at 11:23 am

Community radio is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting. Community stations serve geographic communities and communities of interest. They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local, specific audience but is often overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters. Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve. They are generally nonprofit and provide a mechanism for enabling individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences and, in a media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media.”  Read more at

Dear Reader, we welcome you to avail yourself of several community radio stations that CNY has to offer.

WRFI at 88.1 FM in Ithaca, and 91.9 FM in Watkins Glen have been broadcasting on their own license since 2012.  thier mission statement is to be “community owned and operated, providing access to the airwaves and an opportunity to learn the craft of radio while serving the general well-being of its community” while also informing and entertaining. WRFI lists some focus areas of values guiding content as: Peace, Justice, Sustainability, Freedom of expression, Cultural diversity, Integrity and Joy.

Listen now at

 Spark! Radio will soon begin broadcasting on 93.5 FM in the City of Syracuse and 103.3 FM in the northern suburbs.  Programming is currently available online for streaming at

Spark!’s mission is “to enable your neighbors, co-workers, family and friends to have an expanded voice . . . . with local program hosts that will be live and local as close to 24/7 as possible . . . . with interviews, performances and feedback from local community members as well.”  Spark! will also focus on promoting local music by “a continuing commitment to air at least one local song per hour, every hour of every day, all year long.”

Thanks to WRFI for using Indy Media CNY as a source of material for it’s on-air daily newscasts!  We are hoping Spark! will do the same!  You can also apply to have your own show on either station as well, just visit the website addresses above to find out how.

Learn more about low-power radio straight from the FCC at


Protest For Jobs Photo Gallery

In Activism, Grassroots, Jobs, Taxes on February 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

The first Protest for Jobs organized by the Urban Jobs Task Force in Syracuse saw over  a dozen people out in the February cold, albeit sunny, weather, letting the public and COR Development know that public funding should provide jobs for the community.  Protests will take place monthly at the corner of Solar and Court Streets, 3rd Thursdays at 12 noon. Photo credits to Diana Green.

Urban Jobs Task Force begins Monthly Protests of COR – OCIDA Tax Deal

In Activism, Direct Action, Economics, Jobs, Press Release, Uncategorized on February 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

SYRACUSE – Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12 noon ujtflogoCapture

Urban Jobs Task Force and community members will launch monthly protests of the $44 million tax deal granted by Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) to the Inner Harbor developers, COR. On the 3rd Thursday of every month, we will protest this tax deal less we forget how this tax deal hurts vulnerable city residents.

We will protest:

  • the inequity of this tax deal. COR is building the Inner Harbor using more than $70 million of public money, $44 million in tax breaks approved by OCIDA, with no accountable, verifiable community benefits as jobs and contracts for city residents.
  • the undemocratic nature of the largest component of this tax deal, the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). The PILOT was never approved by the elected body of Syracuse, the Syracuse Common Council.
  • the emerging practice of OCIDA. OCIDA is signaling developers that it is “OK” to avoid the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency and its scrutiny. This practice is disrespectful and disempowering.

We will urge:

  • negotiations between COR and the City to end the lawsuits by adding verifiable, accountable job and M/WBE goals through a community benefits agreement for city residents on the Inner Harbor project.
  • IDA reform at the state level that creates firm IDA jurisdictional boundaries and project transparency by requiring a workforce profile connected to the jobs created. At a minimum, this profile would describe the workforce by zip code, ethnicity and gender.

We will continue to pressure for Economic Inclusion!

Monthly protests: 3rd Thursday of month, 12 noon to 12:30 pm, Corner of Solar and Court Streets

Contact: Aggie Lane, 315-478-4571,

2016 Democratic Congressional Candidate Interviews

In politics, Video Documentation on January 29, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Exclusive Video by Indy Media CNY –


The 10th Ward Democratic Committee hosted Congressional Candidates Eric Kingson, Steve Williams, and Colleen Deacon for interviews. Registered voters, residents of the west side, and working families had a chance to have a voice and ask questions of the candidates.

SOS Teach-In on the State Budget: How Can we stand up for the future of Syracuse Schools, Services, and CENTRO

In Austerity, Budget, Education, New York State, UnCutSyr on March 13, 2015 at 8:45 am


What: SOS Teach-In on the State Budget: How Can we stand up for the future of Syracuse Schools, Services, and CENTRO

When: 7 pm, Monday, March 16, 2015

Where: Bishop Harrison Center, 1342 Lancaster Avenue, Syracuse


  • Dr. Rick Timbs, Statewide School Finance Consortium
  • Pearler Washington, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 580
  • Howie Hawkins, 2014 Green Party candidate for Governor
  • Raymond Blackwell, Save Our Schools

State government is the final days of budget negotiations.

The teach-in on the state budget is organized by the Green Party of Onondaga County to inform the Syracuse community on the impact of the pending state budget on Syracuse schools, city services, and CENTRO so they can make their concerns known to their state legislators.

The teach-in will feature a presentation by Dr. Rick Timbs of the Statewide School Finance Consortium on how the state budget impacts the Syracuse City School District budget, including the impact of the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the shortfall in Foundation Aid funding.

Pearler Washington of the Local 580 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, and Raymond Blackwell of Save Our Schools will also make brief presentations. Washington will address the CENTRO budget. Hawkins will give an overview of the state budget and the specific policies on the table to keep our public services adequately funded. Blackwell will address bringing parents and teachers together to support Syracuse schools.

The meeting will close with a question and answer session and a call to action for citizens to contact their legislators.

For More Info:

Howie Hawkins, 315 200-6046,

Ursula Rozum, (315) 414-7720,


Green Party of Onondaga County Statement on CENTRO Cuts

In Transportation, UnCut on March 11, 2015 at 8:27 am

The Green Party of Onondaga County supports a robust public transit system serving Syracuse and Onondaga County.  For the 31% of the people in Syracuse who do not own cars or cannot drive due to health or disability, CENTRO is a lifeline to work, shop, recreate, and be an active member of our community.  For others, using public transit is a choice and CENTRO enables them to leave their cars at home, save money, and reduce our carbon foot print.  Students, in particular, ride CENTRO to our local public schools, colleges and universities.

These are not the first cuts that CENTRO has imposed on our community.  Many Syracuse and suburban neighborhoods currently have no CENTRO service in the late evenings and very limited service on weekends.  Cuts that are now proposed to close the $4.5 million  budget gap would further reduce evening and weekend service.  These cuts come at a time when Syracuse and Syracusans are facing hard economic times and would further exacerbate the situation.  People who rely on CENTRO to get them to and from work in the evening and on weekends might be forced to give up their jobs, causing economic harm to themselves and to the businesses that employ them, most notably hospitals, nursing homes, retail stores and restaurants.   Businesses would also lose the commerce from those who use public transit for evening and weekend shopping.  While losing CENTRO services will drive many back into their cars, these cuts have the most significant impact on households without the income to own and maintain a car, persons with disabilities and the elderly.  For these individuals, public transit is not a luxury, it is a lifeline.

The Green Party of Onondaga County proposes a number of alternatives to proposed CENTRO service cuts that would enhance revenue to not only maintain but also improve service over the short and long term:

  • Single Payer Health Care:   A long-term solution to CENTRO’s budget shortfalls is the implementation of a New York State single payer health care system.  CENTRO’s cost of employee medical coverage is projected at $11.4 million, a $1.9 million increase from FY15 to FY16.  A single payer system would reduce health care costs to all employers, including CENTRO.
  • Enhanced State Revenue for Public Transit:  while the Governor’s proposed state budget has a 2% increase, funding for public transportation has been flatlined.  At a minimum, the state budget should increase funding for public transit by 2%
  • Increased Gas Tax:  The state should raise the gas tax and dedicate it to public transit, or give Syracuse/Onondaga County local authority to raise the tax and dedicated the increased revenue to CENTRO.  This would not only enhance public transit revenue, but would also encourage those with cars to use public transit.
  • Local Income Tax:  CENTRO service cuts will hit residents hard, but will have the most negative impact on poor people who cannot afford alternative transportation.  If the state won’t meet its public transmit mandate and provide adequate funding to CENTRO to serve the transit needs of local residents, then the state should give Onondaga County the authority to tax ourselves to equitably provide this service with a local, progressive income tax, where the fiscal burden is shared equitably according to ability to pay.  

We need to take the fight to our NYS legislative delegation and demand that the state pay fully for public transit.  If they will not do that, then they need give us the authority to pay for transit ourselves in an equitable fashion, such as a gas and/or local income tax.    And the Assembly, where a majority of members say they support single payer health care in NYS, should take the first step toward single payer and pass the New York Health bill now.      

For More Info: Ursula Rozum, Green Party Secretary, (315) 414-7720,

EDITOR’S NOTE: Take the Next Step and Attend Today’s “Public Hearing on Cuts to Centro Service” at the OnCenter War memorial Arena in Syracuse from 4-7 PM – 

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.

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,

West Side Walks Begins a New Season of Grassroots Sidewalk Snow Removal

In Community, Direct Action on December 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

As Winter returns to Syracuse, conversation once again turns to the long negligent planning for snow removal from sidewalks (and what will likely be an ever increasing issue with bike paths as well).  A recent Common Council proposal was voted down by 7 of 9 councilors that would have fined property owners $50 for not clearing the sidewalk of snow along “primary removal routes”.

Some folks have taken the role of sidewalk shoveling maven into their own hands, as the Westside Walks program of sidewalk snow removal began again this past Saturday. Volunteers with the Westside Residents Coalition (WRC) set out to clear Grace Street, from Delaware Street to Congress Avenue (the chosen route was due to the three bus stop locations along this two-block length of city street).

Six volunteers (including disabled, with baby in tow, and nearing senior age) took 90 minutes to accomplish the task.  It was a great show of community support, but it won’t accomplish a permanent and wide scale solution to the sidewalk safety problem we experience during Winter months in CNY.

Options seem fairly numerous, from sidewalk heating and sidewalk plowing with mini-plows, to youth job programs.  There could even be a hierarchical approach with levels of engagement – imagine bike lane and sidewalk mechanized plows for major arteries, contracted small business brigades with push snow blowers for secondary arteries, and youth brigades going out with shovels to individual need spots on lesser trafficked streets, with service for the elderly and disabled.

The budget will likely be the last hurdle for any of these ideas, too bad sidewalk snow removal wasn’t included in the recent Syracuse Billion proposal.  So we must continue to hope that the safety of our pedestrians, the quality of our streetscapes and neighborhoods, and the ability to leverage our city’s wonderful reputation as a northern winter wonderland (or at least the potential for that in light of our record as a northern winter snowfall capital) will receive the attention it deserves very very soon.

Until then, go slow, and consider coming out for some urban cross-training with the West Side Walks crew every Saturday.


Cruz pausing for my camera phone, recognizes the importance of safe and walk-able streets as he looks forward to being a local business owner some day.


Robert came in from outside the city to work off some Thanksgiving calories via community service.


Cameraman selfie, in between shoveling, chatting, and breaking up ice.


Unfortunately, plastic shovels, even with metal tipped edges, are not always a match for driveway portions of the sidewalk that are crushed down by vehicles and can become a sheet of ice that would easily force someone into the street. Timely snow removal could help prevent this from happening.


A not-so-friendly stretch of sidewalk in the target area that has basically become an icy sheet due to pedestrian traffic over the snow.


The CENTRO bus stop at the corner of Grace and Delaware overlooks footprints in the snow of people who come in and off the roadway instead of walking on the icy sidewalk.


More good work of the Westside Residents Coalition in the neighborhood. Syringe litter is a problem of concern here as it is in many parts of the city, but concerned and caring citizens are confronting it directly.


Karaline, Susan, and Gary work on the final stretch together before the whole crew heads inside for a community lunch of turkey casserole and vegetarian sweet potato and black bean chili at Brown Memorial on South Geddes St.

Find out more at