SEIU Local 200United

SEIU Local 200United – 2013 Candidate Questionnaire

1. Do you support workers’ right to organize? Yes

2. Would you advocate for neutrality during an organizing drive? Yes

3. During an organizing campaign, do you believe public monies should be prohibited from use to coerce or intimidate workers? Yes

4. Would you cross a strike or picket line? No
4a. If yes, please explain?

5. Do you support expanding casino gaming? No

6. Do you support strong public services that are funded adequately (public schools, municipal government)? Yes

7. Do you support public workers' benefits, such as pension and health insurance? Yes

8. Do you support economic plans that create local jobs that pay a living wage? Yes

9. Will you support and advocate for a fair Medicaid reimbursement rate for people with developmental disabilities? Yes

10. Do you support claw back provisions for businesses who fail to produce the number of jobs promised where tax money is being invested (i.e. IDA’s)? Yes

11. What three (3) issues do you feel are the most challenging to our community?

1. Fiscal Justice: Progressive Tax Reform and Revenue Sharing – The Democrats in Syracuse, led by the mayor with my council opponent expressing no dissent and being a reliable vote for the mayor, are dealing with the city's fiscal crisis by pushing for changes in the Triborough Amendment and Binding Interest Arbitration to give the city a stronger hand in bargaining with public employee unions so the city can cut public workers' wages and benefits. They are also cutting services: closing a school, a fire station, and a senior center and reducing school staffing by about 1000 workers, about a quarter of city school workforce, in the last four years. I advocate restoring the traditional state revenue sharing with the cities of 8% of state revenues and fully funding the Foundation Aid Formula for urban schools adopted by the state in 2007. Revenue sharing was the solution in New York State in 1971 to deal with cities like Syracuse where tax-paying manufactures had left and non-tax paying Eds, Meds, and government offices had become the new economic base. That state revenue sharing solution is still relevant but not being discussed. Less than 1% of state revenues are now shared with the cities. Revenue sharing is a far better fiscal solution for the city than cutting public services and workers's wages and benefits. Pushing for the restoration of state revenue sharing is my alternative to the Financial Control Board toward which Syracuse is headed and which will accelerate the cuts to services and the concessions in public employee contracts.

2. Jobs: City-Funded Jobs for City Residents – The fastest way to get good jobs to city residents is to get them their fair share of city-funded jobs. Blacks and other minorities had one-fourth to one-third of their proportionate share of these jobs, according to 2004 through 2008 reports of the now defunct Syracuse/Onondaga County Human Rights Commission. I will work to update and enforce the Equal Employment Opportunity Program ordinance passed in 1973, including re-establishing the Human Rights Commission to monitor enforcement of this and other civil rights laws. I will work to expand and enforce the Living Wage Law to cover all workers with city departments and contractors, including beneficiaries of economic development incentives. I will propose amending the Living Wage Law to make city-certified Community Hiring Halls the first source for qualified new hires on city-funded jobs. Community Hiring Halls, which are included in Living Wage Laws in Boston and New Haven, would enable more minorities, ex-offenders, and others with weak connections to the labor market to have employment opportunities. Equal employment opportunity is a huge issue in the predominantly black south side neighborhood in the 4th district where labor force participation by prime working age adults aged 24-54 is around 40 percent in many of its census tracts.

3. Build Community Wealth – The best longer term strategy to create living-wage jobs and expand the property tax base in Syracuse is to build community wealth. My opponent, as chair of the council's Economic Development Committee, has focused on tax breaks for private developers, including when Common Council and the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency were divided on giving particular tax breaks. I will push for public technical assistance and financing to build community-owned enterprises where the wealth created is anchored to our community by democratic ownership structures. This policy would prioritizing city economic development incentives for worker and consumer cooperatives; developing a Municipal Development Bank to plan, finance, and advise cooperatives; and promoting public enterprises in key sectors: A Public Power Utility to cut energy costs, improve customer service, and build clean, renewable energy sources; a Community Media Organization to use Time Warner franchise fees to fund a community-controlled nonprofit organization that provides programming, staffing, and training in all forms of community media, including cable channels devoted to Public Access, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) programming, community radio, community newspapers, and web-based media; and a Community Broadband Utility to serve as first-rate community-owned broadband system (internet, cable TV, phone) to provide faster, lower cost service than the corporate telecoms do.

Please use the following space to explain any of your answers above.

Casino Expansion – I support the provisions for owner neutrality on union organizing at casinos and for prevailing wages and project-labor agreements for casino construction in the casino expansion proposal. But I don't favor more casinos as a form of revenue raising and economic development. Casino gambling is regressive as an indirect tax. It gets trotted out as the “painless” alternative to taxing the rich. Casinos do not add value to the economy. They just move mainly working people's money from their own pockets to casino owners' pockets, who tend to be virulently right-wing anti-labor political funders and operatives like Donald Trump, Roger Stone, Steve Wynn, and Sheldon Adelson. Gambling revenues nationwide have been flat since 2007 while the number of casinos has exploded to about 900. The odds of Cuomo's casino expansion developing our economy are worse than Pataki's casino and gaming expansion, which mostly never even got started.

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