For a Sustainable Syracuse

Declaration of Candidacy by Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Mayor of Syracuse

May 4, 2017

A mayoral candidate ought to provide voters with a Strategic Vision for where he or she wants Syracuse to move during his or her administration and an Action Plan for getting there.

Strategic Vision

My strategic vision for Syracuse is a Sustainable Syracuse that uplifts its poor and working-class people and retains and attracts middle-class residents and businesses.

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Metropolitan Government Needs Federalism and Proportional Representation

by Howie Hawkins

This op-ed was submitted to the Syracuse Post-Standard on February 13, 2017 but not published.

The Green Party believes that our region needs a metropolitan government in order to effectively address segregation, poverty, economic stagnation, sprawl, and civic disengagement. Unfortunately, we cannot support the Consensus Commission's partial metro government as proposed.

The Commission's proposal disempowers city residents. They lose their local government, while the towns retain theirs. City residents are stripped of their local planning, zoning, and code enforcement powers, while the towns retain theirs. Debt is not consolidated. The city is reduced to special tax district to pay on its debts and underfunded schools. Schools and public housing remain segregated from the rest of the county, which has the the most “concentrated” (i.e., segregated) poverty of any metro region in the nation. This is the consolidation of segregation.

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A Federated Model for Metropolitan Government

Only a metropolitan government can overcome existing municipal and school district borderlines that – intentionally or not – enforce race and class segregation in housing, schools, and job and business opportunities. But that kind of metro government requires a metropolitan school district and metro-wide policies to enforce fair housing, inclusionary zoning, and equal employment and business opportunities.

The Green Party's federated model for metro government would make both local and metro government more democratic by introducing citizen assemblies, revenue sharing and participatory budgeting, and proportional representation in the metropolitan legislature.

 

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State aid is the once and future solution to Syracuse's fiscal crisis

Bott-Hawkins.jpg

The City of Syracuse is moving ever closer to bankruptcy. By the end of next fiscal year, we face a Detroit-like takeover of our elected city government by a state-appointed Financial Control Board.

The once and future solution to the city's fiscal crisis is state revenue sharing, funded by progressive taxation. Revenue sharing is not a bailout. We already pay for revenue sharing with our state income and sales taxes. It is a fiscal responsibility the state took on to fund the services it mandates that municipalities provide.

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Sustainable Syracuse: The Green Alternative to Destiny USA

from the 2005 campaign for Mayor

Public power may be most popular plank in the Green platform. But whether we build Destiny USA or a Sustainable Syracuse is the most important issue facing the voters in this election. The decisions around this issue will shape Syracuse for a generation.

Both major party mayoral candidates, Driscoll and Mahoney, support the Destiny USA project. The Green Party opposes the Destiny USA project because it subsidizes a private developer to be the city's planner. Its marketing hype about powering it with renewables does not change its basic character as anti-ecological monument to sprawl and consumerism that depends on exploiting cheap labor and natural resources the world over. Destiny USA would make Syracuse itself a barracks for low-wage workers who service upscale tourists.

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An Anti-Poverty Program for Syracuse

from the 2005 campaign for Mayor

High levels of poverty and unemployment have become entrenched in recent decades as service and retail jobs have replace many of the jobs in manufacturing. These problems are more concentrated among, but not exclusive to, African Americans and other people of color in Syracuse .

Without basic changes in how Syracuse approaches economic development and shares its benefits, there is no reason to believe poverty and unemployment in the city will be reduced. Syracuse needs a new approach.

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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor