News and Events

Rochester City Council approves budgets for city and school district


The city council approved budgets for the City of Rochester and Rochester City School District during  a meeting Tuesday night.

“I am pleased that again taxes will decrease for City homeowners, all while maintaining city services and amenities,” said Council President Loretta Scott in an emailed statement.

The city budget was approved by a 9-0 vote while the school district budget passed by a vote of 8-1 with Councilmember Carolee Conklin voting “no.”

Speaking with News10NBC about the school budget, Conklin, who is retiring this year after three terms in office, did not mince words.

“It’s a district that’s failing its students,” says Conklin. “It’s not preparing them to go out into the world forJOBS , for adulthood, even to maintain a checkbook.”

. . . “We’ve been innovative,” says White. “We pulled in the U of R, the largest employer in this region. We recently signed an agreement, a letter of intent, with SUNY Geneseo to run one of our elementary school. We have a smart phone app where parents can look at their phone and look real-time in terms of when their kids are going to graduate — that’s going online. We gave a car away to increase attendance, so we do think there is some progress.”

The mayor agreed.

It is easy to identify inconsequential movements as innovative however, handing off schools to be run by colleges, allowing parents smart phone access to their child’s graduation date and giving away a car to increase attendance are merely placative and ineffective responses to the real problems that plague the RCSD.

Enticing attendance does not educate, parent access to graduation dates does not educate, bringing in colleges to do your job, for which you are being paid, does not educate.

Motivating students to want to learn by showing them they are gifted and talented with something valuable to offer society will cause them to want to become intelligent, knowledgeable members of their society.

Charter Communications agrees to $13M settlement

The state Department of Public Service and Charter Communications Inc.—the largest cable provider in the state—have reached a $13 million settlement over the company’s failure to meet requirements of its 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., officials announced Tuesday.

Charter Communications failed to build out its cable network as required by the deal, which closed in January of last year.

“The commission conditioned its approval of the merger on Charter’s agreement to undertake several types of investments and other activities,” said Gregg Sayre, department interim CEO, in a statement. “While Charter is delivering on many of them, it failed to expand the reach of its network to un-served and under-served communities and commercial customers in the time allotted.”

Under the settlement agreement, Charter has agreed to pay $1 million in grants for equipment to provide computer and internet access to low-income users, and to set aside $12 million as a security to meet its network expansion commitment going forward, officials said.

Who in New York State will be privvy to these grants for equipment?  How will low-income users be made aware of this opportunity?  How will grant monies be awarded?  So many questions, so few answers.

NY state’s $500M to ‘transform’ CNY economy: More hope than results so far


SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative was pitched as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put Central New York back on its feet.
The goal of pouring half a billion dollars of state taxpayer money into the region was to revamp the local economy, according to a 2015 guide to the program.

. . . “Try to be transformative,” the manual said. “Revitalization plans should identify how the regions would transform.”

But thus far many of the CNY projects to get grants from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative are far from transformative.

The most expensive project was already rolling before the URI came along. Other projects are longshots appearing to go nowhere.

Several others involve conversion of old buildings into upscale apartments, a familiar sight in Syracuse that often happens without state funding. At least 12 of the projects never promised to create any jobs in return for state money, records show.

. . . The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council won the URI money in December 2015. The council’s plan, called “CNY Rising,” made big promises to create 6,000 jobs and drive down poverty.

But council leaders and state officials had few big-impact projects ready to start on Day One of the URI. So the first year also featured a grab bag of mostly smaller projects that had already applied for state money before the URI came along. One-fifth of the $500 million was awarded right off the bat to projects that had little or no connection to CNY Rising.

. . . Under the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, three regions including Central New York won a competition for $500 million each, to be distributed over five years. The money comes from $9 billion in settlements the state received from multinational banks in recent years, a one-time windfall that Cuomo called “a gift from above.”

Our elected officials are spending tax dollars in the same way across the state with little to no impact on poverty or educational success.  It is time to change the face of government by voting for individuals who truly wish to represent the people and not the corporations who fund their campaigns.

City and Irondequoit get grants to combat zombie properties

The City of Rochester and the Town of Irondequoit are two of 18 cities and towns statewide that will receive grants to address and transform zombie properties.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday announced the winners of the first phase of the Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement grant awards. The investment will total more than $10 million over the next two years.

The program aims to innovatively address and transform blighted, vacant or poorly maintained problem properties through the use of housing and community data from various state agencies. Cities RISE was launched in April as a strategy for helping New York families and communities rebuild from the housing crisis.

The funds will come from settlements made with large financial institutions that contributed to the collapse of the housing market, officials said.

This funding could create enough individual home ownership to potentially lift Rochester out from under the “Big Five” control over our school board and place that control in the hands of the people where it belongs.

Register and vote Independent and make Rochester great again.

NY teacher’s win in state assembly election sends shock waves

by Félix Pérez

As an elementary school reading teacher for 25 years and a mother of two daughters in middle school, Christine Pellegrino was not supposed to win the special election for New York’s Ninth District in the state’s Assembly of Delegates. But win she did, and the world took notice, including as far away as Great Britain.

Pellegrino won the Long Island district 58 percent-42 percent late last month. Because the district is heavily Republican and President Trump won it with 60 percent of the vote, the commonly held observation was that the win by Pellegrino, who had not run for office before, was a harbinger of voter discontent with Trump politics. Not so much, said Pellegrino.

Instead, she credits her win to local issues that are not affiliated with any political party or Trump. “It doesn’t matter what party you belong to. You still want clean drinking water. You still want great public schools,” she said in an interview with Nomiki Konst of The Young Turks. She said she spoke with voters “not as a politician, not as someone who’s been involved in politics, but as someone really wanting to make a difference and a change, and that really resonated.”

People are beginning to recognize the truth in politics, it’s not about the party it’s about the people.

State DOT to share plans for Mt. Read project

The open house-style meeting is slated to run 3 to 7 p.m. June 14 at Theodore Roosevelt School No. 43 on Lyell Avenue.

The proposed project will resurface Mt. Read Blvd. and include safety and operational improvements throughout the corridor. The roadway will be restriped to provide two lanes in each direction and the raised median will be removed.

Officials said the excess pavement width will be repurposed for a two-way center turn lane and five-foot wide shoulder to accommodate bicycles. The project also will replace the existing signalized traffic circle at the intersection of Buffalo Road with a modern roundabout and provide a defined drop-off area on Mt. Read Blvd. near School No. 43.

Highway users, residents and business owners are encouraged to attend the open house to view design plans and speak with DOT representatives.

What will be done to improve inner-city streets that are riddled with pot holes?

Listen to WXXI’s Connections at noon on June 15, 2017 as I talk more with Kevin Dawson about my vision for Rochester and the Rochester community.

Beechwood Neighborhood Association will hold a Town Hall Meeting for mayoral candidates on Thursday, June 1 from 7:15PM – 8:30PM at the Thomas Ryan Center located at 530 Webster Ave.


Car slams into Times Square pedestrians, killing one, injuring 22

We are not giving our veterans the mental health help they deserve once exiting the  service.  Move and more acts of violence are being committed by former military personnel because they are not properly assessed upon release for PTSD. Even when diagnosed with PTSD our veterans do not receive the mental hygiene help they deserve.

Hydroponic commercial greenhouse to bring 137 jobs to region

Monroe County soon will soon be home to the country’s largest hydroponic commercial greenhouse based at Eastman Business Park, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. The project is expected to add 137 full-time jobs to the local economy.

Fifty-five of the new jobs are reserved for veterans or those who are underemployed to support the region’s anti-poverty initiative, officials said.

It is clear that the vision I brought to our political leaders four years ago to create a co-op of veterans and community members who maintained community greenhouses was a good one. As mayor, I will work with the Governor to facilitate other projects that will move Rochester towards becoming a successful city. 

May 11, 2017

Attending the Worker owned co-operatives and urban farmer Shift Change event at the Central Church of Christ, 101 S Plymouth Ave., from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM.

May 19, 2017

The Rochester MAAFA Celebration Committee presents: Malcolm’s Vision of the O.A.A.U. Friday May 19, 2017 6:00-8:00pm Gandhi Institute. “The purpose of this event, held on Brother Malcolm’s birthday, is both to celebrate his life and to challenge and inspire people of African descent (and their friends) in the Rochester area to carry his critical work forward in tangible ways, modeled on the O.A.A.U.”

May 25, 2017

AtteningPlex Mayoral Candidates Forum70 Corretta Scott Landing, 6:30 PM until 8:00 PM

June 1, 2017

Attending Beechwood Neighborhood AssociationTown Hall meeting , Thursday, June 1 from 7:15PM – 8:30PM at the Thomas Ryan Center located at 530 Webster Ave

April 27, 2017

Attending St John the Evangelist Church annual meeting at 533 Humboldt St. at 7 PM.

April 26, 2017

Housing dedicated to female veterans closing

Zion House in Avon closing due to a possible misuse of funds

AVON, N.Y. (WROC-TV) – It’s been a growing problem for decades — homeless veterans in America.

The Zion House in Avon, dedicated to serving female veterans in our area, is closing its doors due a possible misuse of funds.

The last two remaining residents at Zion House say they have been told have to be out of the house by May 31.

The women say finding affordable housing is one of the biggest struggles of transitioning back to civilian life.

Our veterans deserve to be given every opportunity to live successful lives after their service to America has ended.  The Military Greens project gives them that opportunity.

April 21, 2017

Listen to WXXI Connections with Evan Dawson interview on Monday, April 24, 2017 at Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370 when I will be interviewed.

April 18, 2017

Don’t forget to watch Need to Know this Thursday, April 20th @ 8pm on Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

Meet me at the Public Market this Saturday, April 22, 2017 to find out who I am, why I’m running for Mayor and what I plan to do once elected.

April 3, 2017

Another mayoral candidate in Rochester

April 02, 2017

Retired teacher Lori Thomas becomes fifth person in Rochester mayoral race