News and Events

Former NY official who gave himself $95,000 raise with public funds lands in jail

By Julie McMahon

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A former New York Deputy Secretary of State who gave himself a $95,000 raise with public funds  has landed in prison after lying to investigators.

Joseph Felix Strevell, 56, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last week.

Strevell admitted to five counts of perjury in connection to restitution payments he owed the state over his crimes in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Strevell was previously convicted of charges relating to his time as head of the state-funded Institute for Entrepreneurship from 1999 to 2001.

At the time, he admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from the Institute. He gave himself the $95,000 raise without approval, and used public funds for personal and family expenses, prosecutors said.

As part of his guilty plea in 2007, Strevell agreed to pay $111,500 in restitution to the state.

How easy is it for public officials to steal hard earned tax payer dollars in New York State?  For years this individual stole hundreds of thousands of dollars yet was only required to repay $111,500 to the State!

It is time to end corruption in government.  Register as a “No Party” voter and vote “Yes” for a constitutional convention.

THE DRUG INDUSTRY’S TRIUMPH OVER THE DEA

By Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein

“In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

Political action committees representing the industry contributed at least $1.5 million to the 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill, including nearly $100,000 to Marino and $177,000 to Hatch. Overall, the drug industry spent $106 million lobbying Congress on the bill and other legislation between 2014 and 2016, according to lobbying reports.

“The drug industry, the manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and chain drugstores, have an influence over Congress that has never been seen before,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi . . .”

The corruption in government goes beyond the local and State level to the Federal Legislators and includes members of both the Republican and Democratic parties.  These individuals are voted in term after term without question due to their political affiliations and the apathy of the American people towards politics.

We must come together as a citizenry to end party politics and the corruption it creates and supports.

Register and vote “No Party” and become the government we were meant to be, a government of the people.

Some Charter Schools Can Certify Their Own Teachers, Board Says

By 

“The State University of New York took a step on Wednesday that will make it easier for some charter schools to hire teachers.

The charter schools committee of SUNY’s Board of Trustees voted to approve regulations that will allow some schools to design their own teacher-training programs and certify their own teachers.

The proposal had been criticized by opponents of charter schools, including teachers’ unions, and others. But proponents of the regulations said that they were needed to allow the schools to broaden the pool of candidates.

“In the midst of a widely recognized teacher shortage, SUNY’s vote today ensures that kids of color will have access to great teachers and exceptional educational outcomes,” Eva S. Moskowitz, the founder and chief executive of Success Academy Charter Schools, wrote in a statement on Wednesday.”

First of all, shouldn’t ALL children have access to great teachers and exceptional educational outcomes. 

Is Ms. Moskowitz admitting that currently children of color do not have access to great teachers or exceptional outcomes? 

How will lowering the requirements for teacher certification produce “great” teachers?

This is simply more rhetoric and less reality where our children suffer the consequences.

Merryl Tisch is back, will have say in how charter schools certify teachers

 “ALBANY — Merryl Tisch, the former chancellor of the state Board of Regents, isn’t done with state education policy making just yet.

Tisch, who championed higher learning standards and ushered in the controversial Common Core during her tenure, is now  taking part in the debate over the certification  of charter school teachers as a member of the SUNY Charter Schools Committee.

. . . Last June, the state Senate appointed her to the SUNY board of trustees. Her first SUNY board meeting was in September, after which she was selected to serve on the Charter Schools, Academic Affairs, Finance  and Administration, and Community Colleges committees, according to SUNY.”

SUNY, the State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. For the Senate to agree that this institution would be able to reduce the requirements for the accreditation of teachers working in charter schools is a direct indictment of their attempt to create and maintain an underclass of citizens who traditionally do not vote making it possible for them to maintain their positions in government, creating the laws that unfairly affect that underclass.

End party politics, register as “No Party” and vote Independent!

 

N.Y. unions brace for high-stakes Supreme Court ruling

By Joe Mahoney

“ALBANY — New York’s politically influential public sector unions are bracing for a U.S. Supreme Court case that threatens to hurt them in the pocketbook should the justices decide that the labor organizations can’t collect fees from workers who don’t support them.

. . . Both in New York and nationally, the Democratic Party and its candidates have been the beneficiaries of union generosity. State Senate Republicans, who have dominated Albany’s upper chamber almost every year for decades, also rake in large donations from the public sector unions.

Now you know why unions are against having a constitutional convention. 

In order to create a government that actually works FOR the people who financially support it we must eliminate political party control. 

Now you know why it is important to vote Independent.

More Corruption Trials? Possible Reprise Makes Albany Groan

By JESSE McKINLEY

“ALBANY — If there was a single upside to the double-barreled corruption convictions of two of New York’s most powerful men, it was the fact that they had occurred in December 2015. That sordid time is past, Albany’s insiders could argue, and we’ve moved on.

But with the recent reversals of those verdicts — of Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, and Dean G. Skelos, the former Senate majority leader — it seems inevitable that Albany’s dirty laundry, and the actions of some of its powerful participants, will once again be hung out for examination.

. . . If Mr. Skelos, a Republican, and Mr. Silver, a Democrat, are retried by federal authorities — as they have indicated — the cases may form the backbone of a Murderers’ Row of corruption trials next year. Federal cases against Joseph Percoco, once one of Mr. Cuomo’s closest aides, and Alain E. Kaloyeros, the former president of the State University of New YorkPolytechnic Institute, are also supposed to begin in 2018.

. . . On a human level, the prospect of another set of Silver and Skelos trials probably resulted in a cri de coeur among Albany’s professional class — staff members, lobbyists and aides who normally ply their trade from deep in the woodwork — who had been forced to appear on the stand or were name-checked in various ways.

That includes two high-level aides of Mr. Skelos’s who now work for Mr. Cuomo: Robert F. Mujica, the governor’s budget director, and Kelly Cummings, Mr. Cuomo’s deputy chief of staff and senior adviser. Neither was accused of any wrongdoing, but both were working with Mr. Skelos at the time of his arrest in 2015: Mr. Mujica was the chief of staff for Senate Republicans, while Ms. Cummings was the Senate Republicans’ top spokeswoman.”

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.   Will the men who take their place be any less corrupt?  

Without term limits on these positions we are giving our legislators absolute power.

With no one to oppose party politicians, they are given absolute power.

Vote Independent, say “Yes” to a constitutional convention!

 

Why New York gets less from Washington than it sends

By Jon Campbell

ALBANY – New Yorkers send more than $40 billion a year more to Washington than they get back, according to a pair of new studies that come as the state faces steep federal cuts.

. . . Cuomo and New York officials are currently battling Trump’s proposal to repeal the state and local tax deduction, which allows residents to write off their state income and local property taxes on their federal tax returns.

That proposal, which would be offset in part in Trump’s plan by an increase in the standardized deduction, would disproportionately affect states with high state and local taxes, like New York.

If the proposal would disproportionately affect states with high state and local taxes, why doesn’t Cuomo lower State tax while the mayor lowers local taxes so that New Yorkers can benefit from Trump’s proposal?

Party politics takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

Vote Independent and stop the blatant theft of our hard earned income! 

DEMS HOPE TO CLOSE LOOPHOLES, OPEN VOTING

BY JEFF COLTIN

“The “LLC loophole” allows limited liability companies to avoid the state’s campaign contribution limits. Cuomo included closing the loophole as one of his 2017 State of the State proposals, saying in a release that such a reform would “even the playing field so that rich and poor New Yorkers alike have their voices heard in our political process.”

But that proposal failed to become law in 2017, just as it failed in previous years, when Cuomo also called named it as a priority. Notably, Cuomo has benefited from the loophole, getting free rent for his campaign office and reportedly raising at least $1 million from other LLCs.

The Democratic-led Assembly passed a bill that would’ve closed the LLC loophole last year, but the Republican-led state Senate never brought the bill to the floor for a vote.

. . . “Whether it’s through legislation, through the budget or through the state Board of Elections, we really have no excuse not to act this year,” she [Krueger] said. “The governor should make closing the LLC loophole a line in the sand.”

Why would Cuomo push this legislation through when he obviously benefits from it.  And, if he benefits from it other party politicians benefit from it as well. 

We cannot rely on party politicians to do what is right for the people when they are more concerned with doing what is best for the party and themselves.

Vote Independent and change the direction of our country towards a truly Democratic society.

CBS’ Madam Secretary gets big NY tax breaks for first two seasons

by Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

“New York gave out $180 million in the latest round of tax breaks for films and shows, funded by taxpayers, new records show. Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau.

The combination of filming and producing movies and TV shows in New York is a key goal of the state’s $420 million a year film-tax-credit program — the most generous of its kind in the nation.

But the program has drawn criticism for its largesse: Studios received about $42,300 for every direct job created in 2015 and 2016, a report commissioned by the state found.”

Why didn’t Governor Cuomo simply create jobs for citizens?  How much did those direct jobs that were created pay the actual workers?

How much longer will New Yorkers stand for this type of spending of our tax dollars?

End party politics and make the government work for the people, not the party.

Prosecutor Recommends Loss of Vacation for Officer in James Blake Case

By Ashley Southall 

Four days of public disciplinary hearings for a police officer accused of using excessive force to take down James Blake, the retired professional tennis player, boiled down to a single question, a prosecutor said: “Was there cause for force to be used?”

. . .On a screen in the room, a surveillance video, which had helped catapult the episode on Sept. 9, 2015, into a national debate over how police officers accused of brutalizing civilians are often not held accountable, was stopped on a scene showing Officer Frascatore on top of Mr. Blake outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Almost two years ago, the review board, which investigates complaints of misconduct and abuse against police officers, determined that there was no reason for Officer Frascatore to use force against Mr. Blake, who submitted to the arrest even though he had been wrongly identified as a suspect in a credit card fraud ring. But hearings on the ruling were delayed until after efforts to resolve the case through a plea deal collapsed.

The trial finally began last week and ended on Tuesday, its path now shrouded in secrecy. The deputy police commissioner of trials, Rosemarie Maldonado, will find Officer Frascatore guilty or not guilty, and recommend a penalty, if necessary. The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, will ultimately decide whether to accept, modify or reject her findings.

The process could take months, and the deputy commissioner’s findings and the commissioner’s ruling are shielded from public disclosure because of a state civil rights law, known by the clause 50-a . . .”

Why should the civil rights of a police officer supersede the rights of the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve?

Why should any path that leads to the truth be “shrouded in secrecy”?

It is time to change the way we are governed.  Vote Independent!  

Federal investigation examines financing of local apartments

By Matthew Spina

“FBI agents have sent out subpoenas in an investigation of deals involving Buffalo’s fastest-growing apartment owner, Robert C. Morgan.

. . . Five sources with direct knowledge of the FBI inquiry said agents are examining the way Morgan’s companies finance their acquisitions, with a specific eye on the information provided to lenders. Two of the sources said the investigation could extend to other players in the local real estate industry as well. It isn’t clear whether the probe’s focus is Morgan or Morgan’s companies.

. . . In Rochester, one of his companies was a partner in converting an aging downtown mall into a modern mixed-use building known  as the Tower at Midtown. He’s also central to the creation of a new performing arts center with a tower for apartments in the city’s downtown, a project known as Parcel 5.

. . . Many of the companies’ loans for residential real estate  have been bought by national loan guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and sold to investors. An investigator with the Inspector General’s Office of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government unit that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was involved in the early stages of the investigation, two sources with direct knowledge said.

This is an example of how party politics works to undermine the concerns of the people to support the profits of the wealthy.  Affordable housing makes some rich while keeping others bound to indentured servitude paying rent.  Selling building and lots to developers and offering them tax breaks to do so, steals money from tax payers while making it nearly impossible to rise out of poverty.

Vote Independent and put an end to party politics and the power of the wealthy to control our government,

Finalists set for Technology and Manufacturing Awards

By: Colin Hogan

“This region boasts roughly 1,500 small and midsized manufacturers, which together employ more than 62,000 people, Kelley said. With so much attention in recent history devoted to the rise and fall of the former Big Three companies, he feels it’s time toSTART  honoring the lesser-known outfits that are still carrying a heavy load for the local economy.”

Technology is our future, we must guarantee that everyone is included in its path.  To leave any cultural group out of the field is to lose valuable intelligence that could take years to recover.

Inequality crisis: Blacks and Latinos on the road to zero wealth

By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins

“What would U.S. society be like if a majority of families had no wealth – no savings, no home equity, no investments of any kind?

That is exactly where the country is headed if we continue on our current path toward economic dystopia for black and Latino families.

While we celebrate a modest reduction in poverty rates and an encouraging uptick in median income, as disclosed in this week’s Census report, the stagnation and decline of wealth remains a troubling indicator.

Between 1983 and 2013, median black household wealth decreased by 75%  to $1,700 and Latino household wealth fell 50% to $2,000. At the same time, median white household wealth rose 14% to $116,800.

If this trend continues, an African American born in 2013 will see her household wealth hit zero by the time she turns 40. Her Latino peers will suffer the same fate 20 years later.

. . . Low-income families also need to be protected from wealth-stripping practices common in many low-wealth communities. For example, we need to strengthen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau so it can effectively monitor rent-to-buy housing scamsthat prey on aspiring first-time homebuyers. ”

Home equity and investments are key in moving out of the poverty Rochester’s citizens have experienced for decades.  

Increasing home ownership will not only provide economic opportunity for Rochester but it will give its citizens the opportunity to gain wealth and regain control over its failing school district so that we can begin to provide our children with an excellent education.

Vote Independent, begin the change!

Grant to target serious crime in Rochester

By: Velvet Spicer

“The Ibero-American Development Corp. has been awarded a nearly $1 million grant to help reduce crime.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department  of Justice through its Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. The funding program provides grants for states and local jurisdictions and supports an array of criminal justice functions.

. . . The goal of the BCJI program is to reduce crime and improve  community safety as part of a comprehensive strategy to advance neighborhood revitalization. Through a cross-sector partnership team including neighborhood residents, BCJI grantees target neighborhoods with hot spots of serious crime and employ data-driven, cross-sector strategies to accomplish the goal.

The funds will enable Ibero to develop a strategic and community-oriented plan in a target neighborhood and begin  implementation of the plan during the 12-month project period. Ibero-American Development is an affiliate of Ibero-American Action League Inc. in Rochester.”

Instead of spending $100,000 or more for “Shoot to Kill” training for our police, that money could have been used to augment the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.

Peace Officers should be our goal, not killing machines that seek to justify taking a human life.

Register “No Party” and vote Independent.  It is the only way to create a better government for all Rochester citizens.

City to demolish 175 vacant homes

By: Gino Fanelli

“In an effort to repair communities impacted by blighted properties, the City of Rochester has vowed to level every home on its “Demolition List” by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2018. The effort coincides with a $1.5 million  grant to the city’s Land Bank to rehabilitate vacant housing for purchase by first-time homeowners.

. . . The 175 homes on the list have been deemed too far gone for repair, whether it be from presence of asbestos and lead or being focal points for criminal or drug activity. The new demolition effort will tack on an extra $1.2 million to the demolition fund for fiscal year 2017, effectively doubling the original $1.2 million budget. This allocation of funds will go in front of City Council in September.

Since 2014, the Land Bank has built six new homes, rehabilitated 86 homes, sold 16 blighted properties with obligation to rehabilitate by the buyers and subsidized the cost of 32 demolitions.”

Sixty of the homes on the demolition list belong to the city.  Why are they just now being demolished?  Why weren’t they rehabilitated before they became “too far gone for repair”?

$2.4 million dollars will be spent to add to the vacant lots that already exceed 3,000.  The effort of the Land Bank is to rehabilitate homes not destroy them.  How can we repair neighborhoods by destroying them.

None of the homes being demolished are in the affluent neighborhoods in Rochester.  Why are homeowners allowed to abandon their homes in poor neighborhoods?

This is just another news story to show that the current administration is “working” when it obviously is not.

Register “No Party” vote Independent and choose to build Rochester up instead of tearing it down.

National labor shortage affects Rochester home-building

By: Kerry Feltner

“The nation’s labor shortage is affecting Rochester, resulting in delays for homeowners, according to the Rochester Home Builders’ Association.

Fewer homes can be built, and the homes take longer to build, according to Rick Herman, CEO of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association.

“We started to notice the labor shortage locally about two years ago,” he said in a statement. “Framing crews are in the greatest demand among the builders, but we are seeing shortages of carpenters, masons, and plumbers.”

Due to the recession-induced collapse of the housing market, many workers got out of the industry altogether. Labor costs for workers in high demand are climbing, according to the RHBA.

“It’s a real effort to get help,” said Joe Sortino, president of Sortino Properties Inc., in a statement. “We used to build new homes in about 90 days, now it takes us five months.”

Those looking to remodel need to realize the delays, Herman says.”

This is a direct result of the “college and career” path taken in education.  Our children deserve apprenticeship opportunities in the trades fields.  Not everyone is “college and career” oriented.  Many of our children love to work with their hands but are not given the opportunity to do so.

Working with the school board to provide opportunities for our youth to help our elders maintain their homes at low cost and working with Habitat for Humanity to help future home owners to learn those skills that allow them to complete minor home up-keep, raises our families out of poverty and gives them the opportunity to become productive members of a succesful city. 

Make Pot Legal for Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury

By 

“The explosion that wounded me during a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan in 2010 left me with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. In 2012 I was medically retired from the Marine Corps because of debilitating migraines, vertigo and crippling depression. After a nine-year career, I sought care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

. . . The T.B.I. brings on almost daily migraines, and when they come, it’s as if the blast wave from the explosion in Afghanistan is still reverberating through my brain, shooting fresh bolts of pain through my skull, once again leaving me incapacitated. Initially the prescriptions helped — as they do for many veterans. But when I continued to feel bad, the answers from my doctors were always the same: more pills. And higher dosages. And more pills to counteract the side effects of those higher dosages. Yet none of them quite worked.

One thing did. In 2013, a friend rolled a joint and handed it to me, urging me to smoke it later. It will relieve your symptoms, he promised. That night I anxiously paced around my empty house. I hesitated to light it up because I’d always bought into the theory of weed as a “gateway drug.” But after a few tokes, I stretched out and fell asleep. I slept 10 hours instead of my usual five or six. I woke up feeling energized and well rested. I didn’t have nightmares or remember tossing or turning throughout the night, as I usually did. I was, as the comedian Katt Williams puts it, “hungry, happy, sleepy.”

Why is our government denying its citizens the right to benefit from the medicinal effects of marijuana?

Are our legislators being influenced by pharmecutical company lobbyists?

Why is it the right of our legislative body to enact laws that benefit them and not the people by whom they were elected?

Vote “Yes” for a New York State constitutional convention so that we can make our government work for us, the people of New York State!

Shadow of 1967 hovers over convention debate

By 

“Voters will be asked in November whether or not New York should hold its first constitutional convention of the 21st century. The experience of 1967 looms large over the debate, because even though the state’s political landscape has changed significantly since then, the ’67 convention is the only one held since the Depression-era convention of 1938, making it the only concrete example of what a convention might look like if it is held in 2019.

. . . Critics cite the ’67 convention to argue that any such gathering two years from now would be a waste of time. They say the process was dominated by incumbent lawmakers who were more likely to fill up expense reports than fundamentally overturn the status quo, and there is little reason to think a new convention would be any different. What’s more, since voters wound up rejecting the convention’s final product, another convention might very well lead to the same outcome, changing absolutely nothing and wasting time and state resources.

For supporters, however, the fact that the ’67 convention addressed issues that perennially stall in the Legislature, shows that another convention could move beyond the same-old political fights in Albany. And they’re quick to point out that even though the proposed constitution was voted down, many of its provisions were adopted in the following years after being fleshed out at the convention.”

We know and understand the pitfalls of a constitutional convention and can avoid them as long as we, the people, stay committed to change.  We cannot vote to have a constitutional convention and then allow the current corrupt system advocates to dominate the process.  We, the people, have the right to vote for convention delegates that have our rights, our concerns and our voice as their platform.

Vote “Yes” then take responsibility for your vote and remain involved in the process in order to effect the changes necessary to make our State one that supports the 99% majority of its citizens instead of the 1% minority.

 

Report: Rochester among worst real-estate markets in US

By: Velvet Spicer

“Rochester has one of the worst real-estate markets nationwide and the fourth worst midsize market, according to a new report from WalletHub.

Using 21 metrics to compare 300 cities across the country, WalletHub ranked Rochester 281st overall and 95th among midsize cities. Frisco, Texas, ranked first in the report.

Rochester ranked 292nd for its job growth and 278th for its population growth. The region ranked 264th for its percentage of delinquent mortgage holders and 228th for its average days until sale.

Rochester’s affordability and economic environment rank overall was 232nd, while its real estate market rank was 282nd.”

It’s time to grow home grown home ownership in our city.  We can provide opportunities for Rochester’s residents to own their homes instead of renting from others, making them rich and keeping us poor.

Register and vote Independent and make city government work for the people.

 

Students gather data on vacant city lots to inspire future use

By Beth Adams

There are about 2,100 vacant, city-owned lots in Rochester. Three hundred of them are in the Marketview Heights neighborhood alone.

That’s where a team of students spent the summer gathering information that can be used  to turn some of those abandoned properties into assets for their community.

Students from city high schools and RIT went from lot to lot using phone  apps to record specific facts about what they saw.

These lots should be used to grow our community by building homes that community members can own.  Habitat for Humanity is ready and willing to work with Rochester’s citizens  to build new houses and rehabilitate “zombie” properties that they can own to increase the tax base and lift themselves out of poverty.

We deserve leadership that works for the citizens and not for the wealthy.

Vote Independent and change the face of Rochester to look like the citizens that live here.

 

Performing arts center would augment our ‘City of the Arts’

Kent Gardner

“Question: Which city has the largest concentration of professional musicians in the nation? If you guessed Nashville, you’d be right.

But Rochester’s in second place. Among all metro areas with at least half a million employed, Rochester leads San Francisco and Portland, both recognized for their music scene.

And Austin—“The Live Music Capital of the World”—clocks in at No. 16. Musicians may flock to Austin for SXSW and Austin City Limits, but many of them live right here.

Many of the nation’s professional musicians learned their trade right here, too. Among roughly the same group of large metros, Rochester colleges and universities graduate more musicians per capita than anyplace but Boston.

. . . Rochester is undeniably a “City of the Arts.” It is past time for our public “branding” to reflect our most distinctive characteristic.

. . . Let me pivot (cautiously!) to Parcel 5 and the performing arts center controversy. . . Whose performing center is it? Which leads to the next: Who gets to decide where it is and what it will be? Both location and configuration are consequential.

. . . I’m aware of the challenge involved in “design by committee” and the complexity of financing such an ambitious new space amid a clamor of competing interests. Yet taxpayers will inevitably play a “backstop” role in the venue’s construction and operation. Let’s acknowledge this fact at the outset and work collaboratively with RBTL to achieve something wonderful for our City of the Arts.”

A performing arts center that will inevitably utilize taxpayer money must serve our entire community.  This center must be the “center” for the many excellent performing arts venues we have in Rochester along with showcasing the gifts and talents of our underserved and under-appreciated youth.

A performing arts center located in the center of our city must represent and serve Rochestarians first!

RIT named a national center for cyber defense

By: Kerry Feltner

“RIT has a proven track record of training and supplying talented and skilled professionals needed by our nation’s security agencies to protect our cyber infrastructure,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in a statement. “The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency have rightly recognized RIT’s leadership in cybersecurity, and this designation will enable RIT to train a ready workforce to defend and protect our nation’s cyber infrastructure and other assets.”

Why are funds being spent to prepare our children for the service industry when the future of employment in the world is in technology?

 

 

City Hall salaries in spotlight during election year

Brian Sharp

“. . . So, backing up for a moment, this is what Sheppard said in his budget critique:

One financial outlook that continues to look very positive — Mayor Warren’sBANK  account. She voted to raise her pay the month before taking office, and now earns a baseSALARY  that is $40,000 more than the Mayor of Buffalo. With a salary of more than $143,000, four times the median salary of the average Rochester resident and second only to New York City Mayor, one thing is for certain — Mayor Warren is doing fine with this budget.

“While the poor get poorer, crime in our poorest neighborhoods continues to increase, and schools continue to fail, Mayor Warren and her top staff are prospering,” Sheppard said.”

How much does a School Principal in Rochester, NY make?

Salary.com

The median annual School Principal salary  in Rochester, NY is $100,978, as of August 03, 2017, with a range  usually between $89,188-$113,592 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay.

By reducing the salaries of administrators both at City Hall and at the City School District until we begin to see drastic improvement in both our level of poverty and educational success, we can, at the very least, use our tax dollars to improve the conditions of our youth, our seniors, and our citizens by providing the much needed services we all need.

Jobs, decent housing, home repair grants can all be funded by reducing the salaries of our tax paid administrators.

Our tax dollars should work to make our city, Rochester, a better place to live for everyone.

Register and vote Independent and stop the high salaried failure of our city’s administration.

 

Action for a Better Community to get $1.6M grant for training

“Action for a Better Community will receive a $1.6 million grant to provide career training for low-income local residents.

“I’m proud to announce this major award for Action for a Better Community,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement. “This grant, made possible through the Affordable Care Act, will provide a pathway for many in our region to find good, high-paying jobs in the health care industry.”

Once again we are being remanded to “service” jobs that prepare us to work for others instead of being trained in the field of technology which would allow us to work for ourselves.

 

Brighter future: Inmate education reduces crime, saves taxpayer money

“ALBION — The more educated the person, the lower the recidivism rate.

It is with that thought the governor’s office awarded $7.3 million to fund educational programming and reentry services at 17 state prisons over the next five years — including Albion Correctional Facility.

Medaille College out of Buffalo has partnered with the women’s medium security prison for at least 10 to 15 years, and the grant — $400,000 of which was given to the college — would extend the program another three to five years, while expanding the facility’s capacity to teach 80 women. A maximum of about 40 women were previously able to take the college courses, in which they can take classes or complete an associate’s degree in liberal studies.

All classes within the liberal studies program is available for the participants.”

Shouldn’t we be rehabilitating all of our inmates by raising their level of education thereby reducing the rate of recidivism and saving future tax dollars?

Does this award only include incarcerated women?  

Does this award only target individuals who have a high school diploma or GED?

Are we ignoring incarcerated young men and women who first dropped out of school and then fell into prison?

Not all that glitters is not gold.  We must read between the lines and then ask, “Who is this “award” really supposed to help.

 

Tensions Flare as Cuomo Confronts Democratic Rift

By SHANE GOLDMACHER

As he looks to heighten his national profile, criticizing the Republican health care bill and President Trump’s immigration policy, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has been forced to confront a political schism far closer to home.

For five years, a group of renegade Democrats has enabled Republicans to control the State Senate, even though they are in the minority. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has at times benefited from that strange reality: Having a divided Legislature allowed him to position himself as a deal-making centrist.

. . . Reunification was the agenda of a strategy session last month in Mr. Cuomo’s Midtown Manhattan office, attended by nearly two dozen Democratic state senators.

. . . Mr. Cuomo suggested to the assembled lawmakers — many of them from New York City — that the leader of eight breakaway Democrats, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, had a better understanding of the suburbs than they had.

That was all Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate minority leader who represents the suburbs of Westchester County, needed to hear.

“You look at me, Mr. Governor, but you don’t see me. You see my black skin and a woman, but you don’t realize I am a suburban legislator,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said . . .  “Jeff Klein doesn’t represent the suburbs,” she said. “I do.””

Does this represent our elected officials speaking with the voice of their constituents or the voice of a party whose leader would rather make a name for himself by pandering to the “old boys club” than recognize the facts.

Taxpayer money was and is being spent on the stroking of egos not the solving of problems.

Register and vote “No Party” and bring the priority of government back to the people.

 

Cuomo to Give Colleges $7 Million for Courses in Prisons

By JESSE McKINLEY

“ALBANY — Moving ahead with a plan that has drawn criticism from conservatives, the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is awarding more than $7 million in grants to a variety of colleges around the state to offer courses to prisoners.

The plan, first announced in January last year, is the culmination of an effort that began in 2014 but was attacked by Republicans and others in the state who objected to using public money to help convicted criminals, an idea that was derided as “Attica University.”

On Sunday, Cuomo administration officials sought to mitigate concerns, reiterating that the grant program — which creates classes for about 2,500 inmates — will be financed with money from large bank settlements secured by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., rather than general state funds.

In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Vance said that such classes were part of a “public safety strategy” to reduce recidivism, calling that goal the “first premise of penal law.”

Inmates in New York are already eligible for classes in about half of the state’s 54 prisons, but they are largely funded by private sources. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat in his second term who is said to have presidential ambitions . . .”

Since lack of education is the number one reason for juvenile crime, why wouldn’t public funds be used to educate inmates?

What were the lawsuits that promulgated the “large bank settlements” which provided the grant money?

This is another promotional scheme by Governor Cuomo to increase his chances at winning the next gubernatorial race leading him to the presidency.

Party politicians would rather spend taxpayer money to maintain high recidivism rates that secure the prison industrial complex profits than use those funds to educate individuals to become productive members of society.  That is what the Governor should be saying, not securing private funding to finance a program that will do little to change the face of crime and incarceration.

City considering sale of Inner Loop parcels for Strong Museum expansion

WHEC News

The city council is now considering legislation that would sell four pieces of city land that would be used for a Strong Museum of Play expansion.

According to the legislation, the museum is looking to expand onto two sites available after the Inner Loop East fill-in project as well as two other pieces of city property near the museum to create a “Neighborhood of Play”.

The two Inner Loop sites, Sites 4 and 5, are located across from the museum’s parking lot. The additional two locations, 15 Manhattan Square Drive and 47 Savannah Street, are located on the north side of the museum’s property.

The project would include a 100,000 square foot museum expansion, 250 housing units, retail spaces, a hotel and restaurant along with a 1,200 car parking structure.

The museum and a developer will pay $2 million for the city property. According to the legislation, a state environmental review is underway.

If this is to be a “Neighborhood of Play” why aren’t we building more than 250 housing units.  Rochester has three hotels in the area that can serve the museum.  There are plenty of retail spaces available downtown and current restaurants are struggling for customers.  A 1,200 car parking structure is unnecessary as there is a parking structure across the street on Chestnut Street and one at East Avenue.

This area can easily accomodate three times more owner-occupied homes that will not only increase the tax base of Rochester but increase the customer base of the museum as well.

One wonders what type of tax breaks this new project will cost Rochester’s citizens?

Cuomo rakes in campaign cash
ELECTION: Governor prepares to make case for third term

By JOE MAHONEY

ALBANY — With a political war chest brimming with nearly $26 million, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have plenty of resources to amplify his message to New Yorkers should he seek a third four-year term in 2018.

As aides to the Democratic governor tell it, Cuomo is prepared to showcase a long list of accomplishments when he swings into full campaign gear.

His greatest polling strength, according to the latest snapshots of public opinion, is with liberal Democrats, the type of voters who support his initiatives to offer free college tuition to those from family income less than $125,000, his ban on fracking for natural gas and his success in enacting marriage equality, paid family leave and a minimum wage that will gradually rise to $15 an hour.

Despite the fact that New York has the highest poverty level in the US, that businessess and people are leaving due to its high tax rate and that its government is rife with corruption, Governor Cuomo has amassed $25 million dollars from campaign donors that will pay for the publicity that will win his election.  This speaks more to the political nature of citizens than to Cuomo’s campaign.

The people are more swayed by what they see in commercials than what they hear in the news.  

A candidate who believes in and carries the voice of the people should not have to be wealthy to win a campaign or reap donations from the wealthy, thereby owing a debt of gratitude, in order to win an election.

The people should demand that candidates run their campaigns out of their own pockets, they should demand public servant salary caps that do not exceed the average worker wage of their State, and they should demand a louder voice in public policy.

Register and vote “No Party” and begin a new era in politics.

ABC’s programs to get $7M grant

Action for a Better Community’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs will receive a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department ofHEALTH  and Human Services for education programs for children, infants and pregnant women in Monroe County.

“Ensuring access to health and education services for young children is critical to ending the cycle of poverty that affects too many families in our community,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement. “Investments in Head Start and Early Head Start are a key component of making sure our kids are ready for success in school and life.”

ABC’s Head Start programs promote school readiness of children ages birth to 5. The program supports six centers in the Rochester region and provides direct services to more than 1,330 people.

ABC received a $6.9 million grant for the programs in 2015.

We must make sure, as a community, that these dollars actually reach the children they are intended to serve.  Preparing children for entrance into the system of education we currently support

Rochester ranks 38th on most educated cities list

Rochester is among the most educated cities nationwide, a new report shows.

WalletHub’s 2017’s Most & Least Educated Cities in America ranked the nation’s largest 150 metro areas based on factors including the share of adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the racial education gap and the quality of the public school system.

Rochester ranked 38th overall. The region ranked 32nd for its educational attainment and 69th for its quality of education and attainment gap.

The question is does this report concentrate on the city of Rochester or include the Greater Rochester Area?

We know that Chili, Greece, Irondequoit, Pittsford, Henrietta, Penfield and Fairport are graduating their students and that their students go on to complete college requirements, gaining their degrees.  We also know that this is not the case for the Rochester City School District.

Charter Allies Pouring Money into Cuomo Re-Election Campaign

It’s no secret that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would like to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president. But first he must be re-elected in New York in 2018. He has already stockpiled more than $25 million, which will intimidate potential challengers.

. . . Among his biggest donors are charter supporters.“Ravenel Curry III, founder of Eagle Capital Management, chipped in $65,000.

{Curry is a founding member of DFER, Democrats for Education Reform, Democrats leading a political reform organization that cultivates and supports leaders in our party who champion America’s public school-children.}

“Great Public Schools PAC, which is headed by Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, contributed $50,000. Financier John Petry on the Success board, donated $20,000

“Walmart heir Jim Walton, a charter-school advocate, and Carrie Penner, the granddaughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, each gave $25,000.”

This is how party politicians make their money and cast their vote.  Their interests lie, not with the concerns of the people, but in the pockets of their donors.
Register and vote “No Party” and become Independent of those who would utilize our tax dollars to profit their corporate donors.

Report: NY taxes leave families with no way to save for the future

By Chris Baker

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After paying taxes and basic living costs, families in Central New York are left with next to nothing for their savings, according  to a new report from an Albany watchdog group.

The report from the non-for-profit Reclaim New York details the “wake-up” expenses of a typical New York family, and says the state’s tax system is creating an “affordability crisis.” According to the report, most New Yorkers are left with just two percent of their income after paying taxes and basic living expenses.

“New York families are struggling through an affordability crisis whether  you make $45,000 or $120,000,” said Reclaim New York Executive Director Brandon Muir. “The largest expenditure they’ll have in a year is government.”

Rochester, New York, sales tax rate is 8.00%. Income tax is 6.45%. The income per capita is $19,180, which includes all adults and children. The median household income is $30,784. Sperling”s Best Places

The citizens of Rochester must demand change and bring ourselves out of the poverty that has plagued us for decades.

Register and vote Independent and change the direction of our city from failure to success.

 

Health Buzz: These Are the Most Stressed Cities in America

Some cities on the list had many stressful variables in common.

By David Oliver 

“Stress permeates our daily lives, from work to relationships to politics and more. But does where you live make a difference?

WalletHub’s latest ranking, “2017’s Most & Least Stressed Cities in America,” out Tuesday, listed the most and least stressed cities in the U.S.

. . . AnalystsDETERMINED  the rankings by looking at four groups of data: work stress, financial stress, family stress and health and safety stress. Among these four categories, analysts evaluated 30 metrics, including unemployment rate, poverty rate, strength of social ties and share of adult smokers.
Some cities on the list had a number stressful variables in common. Researchers found the highest poverty rates in Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, Brownsville, Texas, Rochester, New York, and San Bernardino, California. The highest divorce rates were in Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Birmingham, Alabama, Rochester, New York, and Richmond, Virginia.”

Rochester ranks number eight on the list of top ten stressed cities.  High poverty rate is one of the common stressors that continues to plague our citizens.

By working together, as a community, we can end the cycle of poverty that has been our legacy for decades.

Voting the same way will produce the same results, more poverty.  Register and vote Independent and begin to change the direction of Rochester toward success and relieve some of our stress.

Cuomo raises $5.1 million for reelection bid

By Chris Bragg

Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised more than $5.1 million over the past six months and has about $25.7 million in his campaign account , his most-recent campaign finance filings show.

As has been the case in previous filings, Cuomo’s biggest campaign donors include people from the New York City real estate  industry and supporters of charter schools.

Cuomo has said that he plans to run for re-election in 2018. There has been speculation that Cuomo could launch a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

This is the way of party politicians, receiving money from millionairs who buy their way into our government creating legislation that suits the best interest of their donors and not the interests and concerns of the general public they are sworn to serve.

Register and vote as a “No Party”, Independent and make your voice heard over the sound of the money machine.

It’s time to take back our government, united, our numbers will out-vote their money.

Court: Cuomo administration must turn over records related to scandal
New York Times took FOIL request to court

Chris Bragg

“ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration must provide the New York Times with records related to a scandal involving his former top aide and others, an Albany County state Supreme Court justice ruled.

. . . The Cuomo administration  has repeatedly denied open records requests – including from the Times Union – regarding the federal inquiry into upstate development deals and other matters because they were being “compiled for law enforcement purposes.” A subpoena, issued to the Cuomo administration in April 2016 by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, had sought records pertaining to two dozen individuals or companies.”

Party politicians are ensconsed in corruption from the local to the federal level. Register and vote Independent and end the corrupt nature of the beast.

More Than 400 People Charged for $1.3 Billion in Medicaid and Medicare Fraud

Abigail Abrams

The Justice department  charged more than 400 people across the country in a major crackdown on health  care fraud, officials said Thursday. The accused individuals cost the federal government $1.3 billion in false Medicare and Medicaid billings, according to authorities

The investigation focused on opioid-related crimes as the government continues to try to address the public health crisisthat has been sweeping the country. Many of the health care providers charged had billed Medicaid and Medicare for drugs that were never purchased, while others took advantage of addicts by giving out unnecessary opioid prescriptions for cash or charging for false treatments,ACCORDING  to the Justice Department.

“Some doctors wrote out more prescriptions for controlled substances in one month than entire hospitals were writing,” Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said on Thursday, according  to NBC News.

This article by Ms Abrams was posted in Time U.S.  As written, it first appears as though individual citizens were the culprits of this fraud when health care providers and doctors were the actual criminals, taking advantage of the citizens who were in their care and those who provided the tax dollars that support Medicare and Medicade.

We, the people, must work together to change our Nation from one that worships money to one that honors humanity.

2017’s Best- & Worst-Run Cities in America

Richie Bernardo

Running a city is a tall order. The governments of large cities, especially, can be more complex and difficult to manage than entire countries. In addition to representing the residents they serve, local leaders must balance the public’s diverse interests with the city’s limited resources. Consequently, not everyone’s needs can or will be met. Leaders must carefully consider which services are most essential, which agencies’ budgets to cut or boost, whether and how high to raise taxes, among other important decisions that affect the daily lives of city dwellers.

But how do we measure the effectiveness of local leadership? One way is by determining a city’s operating efficiency. In other words, we can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget.

Reports ranks city of Rochester near bottom

Rochester ranks among the most inefficient cities nationwide, a new report from WalletHub contends.

In its 2017’s Best- & Worst-Run Cities in America, the online personal finance website ranked 150 of the nation’s largest cities based on 33 key performance indicators. Rochester ranked 132nd overall.

For each city, WalletHub analysts constructed a “Quality of City Services” score—comprising the key performance indicators grouped into six service categories—that was then measured against the city’s total per-capita budget.

Rochester’s total budget-per-capita rank was 139th, while its quality of city services rank was 83rd.

The best run city, according to the report, is Nampa, Idaho, while the worst is Washington, D.C.

When broken down further, Rochester ranked 144th for its economy, 98th for its education and 78th for its financial stability. The city received high marks for its infrastructure and pollution, where it ranked fourth.

This is the result of party politics wasting our valuable tax dollars while not responding to the needs of its citizens.

Anti-poverty initiative to get millions in funding

“The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative will receive nearly $5 million to support the expansion of early childhood anti-poverty initiatives.

The programs target children and caregivers in the city of Rochester pilot neighborhoods targeted by the initiative, including the EMMA neighborhood of East Main, Mustard and Atlantic Avenue; Beechwood; and Marketview Heights.

“Fighting poverty and providing opportunity to all New Yorkers is a top priority of this administration,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “Through these strategic investments and collaborative community efforts we are helping to ensure young New Yorkers receive quality care, access to new learning opportunities and are moving the Finger Lakes Forward toward a more equitable and prosperous future.”

Finger Lakes Forward is the region’s strategic plan to grow the economy and create new opportunities for businesses and the community.

The two-year anti-poverty pilot program will include home visiting, summer learning and child care initiatives.”

 

Why will it take two years and 5 million dollars to tell us what we already know, that Rochester lacks owner-occupied housing; it needs a more successful system of education and a less expensive, safer, and more educationally grounded child care system.

Will this be another example of the inefficient use of tax dollars?

 

Veterans to Cuomo: Allow medical marijuana for PTSD

BY Jon Campbell

ALBANY — Veterans groups are pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow those with post-traumatic stress disorder to use medical marijuana, urging him to sign a bill that will soon head to his desk.

The state Senate voted late last month to add PTSD to the list of illnesses and ailments eligible for the state’s medical-marijuana program, about six weeks after the Assembly voted to do the same.

It remains unclear, however, whether Cuomo will sign the bill, which could significantly expand the number of eligible patients in New York’s medical-marijuana program, which is among the more restrictive in the nation.

The state Council of Veterans Organizations wrote to the Democratic governor last month, asking him to approve the measure while noting PTSD affects veterans at a higher rate than the general public.

Why is our government forcing citizens to pay for a plant that can be grown in anyone’s back yark.  There have never been any reported deaths linked to marijuana use and its medicinal value is highly documented.  As states pass individual legislation allowing the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, New York State is still incarcerating men and women for making marijuana available to those who cannot afford to purchase it under the law yet benefit from its medicinal properties.

Register and vote “No Party” and end the control of party politics over our civil liberties and Constitutional rights.

New York state enhances medical marijuana program to meet increasing demand

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Department of Health is boosting New York’s medical marijuana program to meet growing demand.

Effective immediately, nurse practitioners can register online and certify patients the same day. Officials say that will help streamline and simplify the registration process and make it easier for nurse practitioners to speed up the process.

The Health Department also has approved the addition of a second course on the medical use of marijuana for nurse practitioners who want to participate in the state program.

The state’s medical marijuana program has more than 22,000 patients, and that number is on the rise. In late March, the department added chronic pain as a qualifying condition and since then an additional 7,504 patients have become certified.

New York State has now joined a host of other States who wish to profit from people’s pain.  Marijuana, which can be grown in the home can only be used legally if purchased from licensed growers who have to pay the State for their licensure.

Research has proven that marijuana has little to no hazardous effects and can actually reduce the number of heroin addictions that are currently on the rise.

Still, individuals are being arrested and jailed for selling this non-lethal plant on the street, making even more money for the politicians who maintain that marijuana is harmful.

Party politics is more harmful than marijuana.  Register and vote “No Party” and break the bonds of control over our Constitutional right to liberty.

 

Rochester City Council approves budgets for city and school district

WHEC News

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

BY TIM KNAUSS

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

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