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Hawkins Welcomes Miner to Governor’s Race. He remains the Progressive Alternative
For immediate release: June 18, 2018
While Howie Hawkins welcomed fellow Syracuse resident Stephanie Miner to the Governor’s race today, he said that her pro-corporate economic policies had increased income inequality and segregation during her tenure as Mayor.
He also questioned her involvement with a new political party that has deep ties to the 1% including the CIA, Rudolph Guiliani and the real estate industry.
“Having more candidates to provide voters with alternative visions and choices is always good for democracy. Everyone, of course, is against corruption — until they are elected,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins questioned Miner’s credentials on corruption and clean government. He noted that her campaign manager, Sherman Jewitt, was paid by Syracuse taxpayers in 2016-2017 as PR consultant for $84,000 a year to work part time, 10 hours a week.
Miner hired Jewett in January 2016 under a no-bid contract from the Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency, an agency the mayor controlled. The contract did not require, as most city contracts do, approval by Common Council. The Miner administration was warned by the State Authorities Office that SURA, once a conduit of federal anti-poverty money before the Community Development Block Grant program took over that function in 1974, is illegal. But the state has taken no action.
“Miner hired family members, politically-connected supporters, and Jewett through SURA. It was a taxpayer-funded patronage system that bypassed civil service regulations and Common Council. That the state has not taken action to correct this just shows that we have public corruption from top to bottom in New York State,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins had pointed out that during Miner’s tenure as Mayor of Syracuse, the city’s high level of poverty and segregation of housing and schools by race and class became further concentrated. Miner’s policies and subsidies gentrified downtown, pushing low-income people out. Inner Harbor development was approved for exclusively upscale housing by COR Development, whose principals are now the subject of criminal charges for bribery and bid-rigging. Miner also failed to push the state to restore revenue sharing with local governments to prior levels, which would have helped reduce high local property and sales tax without cutting city services as Miner did.
Syracuse was the thirteenth poorest city in the country in 2016. And while most of the country have seen lower poverty rates during the economic recovery, Syracuse’s poverty has continued to worsen. Almost half of the children in Syracuse live in poverty. Syracuse has the most concentrated black and Latino poverty, and fifth most concentrated white poverty, of any metro region in the county, reflecting an extreme degree of racial and economic segregation.
Hawkins also noted that Miner had endorsed – and then implemented - the 2010 New York Mayors' Task Force conservative recommendations for wage freezes, benefit rollbacks, and labor rights concessions designed to balance budgets on the backs of municipal workers.
Minor wants to be the first candidate of the Save America Movement, which promotes conservative economic and foreign policies, including free trade, privatization, fiscal conservatism for social benefits, and high spending for military and intelligence agencies. Scott Muller, the Director and Secretary of the Party, was general counsel to the CIA in 2002-2004 during scandals over weapons of mass destruction, secret rendition, and torture. Sarah Lenti, the CEO of the party, worked in the White House for Condoleezza Rice as Director of the National Security Council during that same period.
“SAM seems to be largely organized by wealthy corporate center-right interests. The board is filled with people connected to big banks and real estate and the national security establishment,” noted Hawkins. “Miner's positions have never departed from the corporate party mainstream. They are clueless about the problems that working people in New York face,” he added.