Questionnaire from Suzie B. Anthony's Wordpress page

I was not aware of this survey before but came across it and wanted to answer these questions for suziebanthony.wordpress.com that were asked of candidates for office.

Here are my thoughts:

1. In recent years the issue of police and official misconduct has become a prominent concern among the citizenry. What have you done to hold officials accountable for their actions and what do you intend to do as an elected official to ensure the equitable treatment of all citizens?

Since the city has no civilian review board it is the responsibility to investigate the problems with the police and it should be an open and transparent process. I am for a civilian review board and the thorough investigation into these incidents in a timely manner.

2. The issue of education has become the cornerstone of the current mayoral campaign even though the mayor has little input on school operations. What are your thoughts on the issue of education and what do you believe is the role of mayor, city council and the school board in regards to education policy?

The Mayor and the city council should support the total funding of the school district. The funding is inadequate due to too many tax breaks being given to financially stable corporations that do not pay adequate taxes and do not create many jobs in return.

3. Other municipalities are using imminent domain laws to claim foreclosed properties. Should Rochester use imminent domain as a tool in its arsenal to fight the foreclosure crisis? For more information see http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/07/30/richmond-threatens-eminent-domain-to-address-foreclosure-crisis/.

I do think we should seize these properties. Then I think that the city in conjunction with local non-profits should set up programs that will encourage citizen's that their lives can be better. I like the idea of cooperatives and start up programs to assist people in entrepreneurship and local ownership of businesses. I like the idea of cooperative housing for low-income persons that would generate income for the city and improve the quality of life of our citizens.

4. Poverty is rampant in Rochester with the average household income at $30,000. How can our school system educate children whose main concerns are food, clothing and shelter rather than reading, writing and arithmetic?

If a child is hungry when they at school it is hard to learn.
Parents are the first teachers and in conjunction with non-profits programs should be working with parents, with schools and with colleges to give to families to improve lives. I worked for 11 years with Action For A Better Community's Head Start Program. Children would get breakfast in the morning and then lunch. The p.m. Class would get lunch and a snack. The children were alert and interacted well with their classmates. There were 17 children in a class and 2 teachers and other volunteers. There was a nurse onsite and a parent involvement coordinator. Home visits were made regularly by both case managers and teachers. Referrals were made to agencies that helped with food, money management, furniture clothing and counseling.

5. Rochester residents often speak of being over-taxed and others complain of the tax incentives given to large corporations. What is your answer to the issue of taxation? Are tax incentives useful in attracting new businesses to the area, do residents suffer when others are awarded these incentives and is the current taxation rate for residents fair?

Corporations are not paying tax while homeowners pay a fair share. I think that tax incentives are sometime a benefit but are overused in this city. The current taxation seems to favor corporations and unfair with certain homeowners. When you hear of local business owners paying more than a major corporation whose property is assessed at a lower value than a smaller property across the street something seems wrong.
Fair assessment should be made and when inequities are made known a serious investigation should be made.

6. Rochester was home to many historical figures who helped to shape local and national issues. How do you see the legacy of this city and what are your thoughts on the historic preservation of areas of local, regional and national importance?

Historic locations and the importance of historic figures should be preserved. Learning Centers and City locations should educate and encourage citizens to become involved in preserving our historic city.

7. Rochester is home to many institutions of higher learning yet many of these students do not remain in the area after graduation. Also, many local residents leave for college and never return to Rochester post graduation. What can you do to stop the “brain drain” currently going on in the area?

Public Safety, affordable housing, employment and the ability to own your own business are areas that are of interest to students. Rochester has many benefits culturally that other cities lack. When the positive is out weighed by the negative then people will leave.

8. There are many cameras throughout the city designed to ticket drivers who run stop lights. These cameras and the law allowing them is currently being challenged in court. What is your opinion of these cameras and their effectiveness? Would you want to continue this program or have the use of these cameras discontinued? It seems like Rochester had a lot of drivers who don't have an understanding of what a red light means. When I am crossing the street or riding my bike I enjoy making it across the road without getting run down by a large hunk of metal. I think if it lessens the loss of life and the safety of the public then they should be kept.

9. What qualifies a candidate for the office you are trying to attain? Why should anyone consider running for public office in the Greater Rochester Area?

i feel that an understanding of the needs of the average person is important. An understanding of finances and that you need to have a budget and administer it wisely. I  feel that your life experiences and your interest in improving the quality of life of the city should be one of the better reasons to run for office.

10. There are many candidates running for office. Choose a candidate other than yourself and speak to their qualifications. What makes them worthy of the public’s trust and what can they offer the community that other candidates cannot?

David Atias, a fellow Green Party City Council Candidate has experience working within an excellent non-profit The Center For Disability Rights that assists those with differing abilities reach their potential. David works to achieve fair housing and for the rights of people to stay in their own homes rather than be pushed into substandard nursing homes because it is supposedly better economically.

From their website - CDR, with its focus on consumer control and mission of integration, independence and civil rights, continues to win advocacy victories on behalf of the disability community as it continues to grow in size and strength as a service provider. There is not, and there will not be, any dull moments in the future of the Center for Disability Rights, Inc.

I have heard it said that a society is judged ( or should be ) by how they treat the most vulnerable. As a sibling of a person with differing abilities I have seen how difficult life can be when a society does not have equity for all.

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City purchase of property damaged by demolition contractor

Do you know that the mayor and city council approved the purchase of a property on West Main Street which will now become a valuable piece of real estate on property that is a gateway to the city? The property is being demolished, purchased and the restaurant and apartment residents relocated at the cost to city taxpayers.

Who will get to purchase that property for a dollar?

We need to stop these sales of valuable city property to developers who get tax breaks and low interest loans at the expense of the taxpayers.

Apparently the city and whoever was contracted to remove the city owned buildings were negligent in their ability to safely remove the building without causing the damage they did.

Does this company that caused the damage have liability insurance? They were paid by the city to demolish the building and they caused the damage that is now sucking more resources from city taxpayers. We should have the company return the fees charged and pay for the damages.

This is from Two insurance websites that insure demolition companies:

"Collapse hazard" means to break down suddenly or give way; and includes "structural property damage" and any resulting "property damage" to any other property at any time.

Controls to address property damage claims include:
• Conducting pre-project survey of the area for general conditions and pre-existing damage . This can include video, photos, engineering surveys, identification of historical or old buildings/structures, surveys of the interior of neighboring buildings, etc .
• Conducting seismograph/ground vibration surveys prior to and during demolition and wrecking operations .
• Having a document retention policy for all records and reports related to the project (i .e . job files, log books, engineering reports/surveys, accident reports, pre/post job surveys, etc .)
• Shoring and demolition plans designed by professional engineer .

This is the article from the democrat and chronicle website

City to buy, raze building

The city could spend $70,800, including closing costs, to buy a West Main Street property that housed Critic’s Restaurant, which was torn down in May.

Demolition was an unintended consequence of the city’s planned razing of a vacant and condemned city owned structure that was part of a block of interconnected row buildings in the Bull’s Head neighborhood. The restaurant at 906-910 W. Main St. had been open for more than 100 years.

In a memo to City Council members seeking their approval, Mayor Thomas Richards wrote that the April demolition of the other attached buildings “revealed and exacerbated structural defects” in the Critic’s building. Costs to temporarily stabilize the restaurant were estimated at $60,000 to $100,000. An agreement with the owner was reached to sell the building to the city, which also plans to help with relocation expenses for Critic’s and tenants who lived upstairs.

The city should not be paying for an error made by the independent contractor Empire Wrecking.

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Louise Slaughter's Support For Tom Richards

Received this e-mail this morning from Louise Slaughter which I found upsetting. I responded to the e-mail with my thoughts on Tom Richard's unsuitability to be the Mayor.

I feel that if a better choice for Mayor goes against party lines then one should do so for the greater good of the people. If politicians put the needs of the people ahead of corporations the world would be a better place.  Tom Richards is not the best choice for Mayor and neither is Lovely Warren. Their ties to all the mistakes made by the ciy's dominant Democratic politicians are questionable at best and may have been reponsible for possible illegal selling off properties to corporations in the past which caused further hardship for city residents.

This week the City Council with support of the Mayor are planning to perpetuate another selling off of city property in a manner which does not adhere to proper procedures for sale of property. 

Come out to the City Council meeting this week to see how Green Party candidate for Mayor Alex White handles this current attempt to defraud the people of Rochester.

This is the letter from Louise Slaughter

This morning, I will be making a public announcement about my endorsement for Rochester Mayor Tom Richards.

Mayor Richards has commitment - to making our community safer, more prosperous, and more vibrant.

That’s why I’m proud to endorse Tom for re-election this fall. As Mayor, he’s made equality for all a priority, and he’s worked so hard to make Rochester a great place to live, for all its citizens. As a lifelong Rochester resident, he knows its challenges, but he also knows its potential.

Please visit Tom’s website to learn more about his accomplishments and his plan for the future of our community.

Sincerely,

Louise

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Homeless Memorial

This week I attended a memorial service for those who passed in the last year. This is the second memorial that I have attended since 2012.

The saddest life lost I felt was a young woman who died while incarcerated in the Monroe County Jail.

She was a regular on La Avenida (Clinton Avenue). She stayed in an abandoned building and panhandled to meet her needs. She had a drug addiction. From what I heard from those who spoke of her, she was well liked.

I do not know what led her to be incarcerated but it was her withdrawal that led to her death. From what I heard she died due to inadequate care at the jail while going through withdrawal.

it was a life that might have been saved if she had received better monitoring and care.

This past December a family member of mine who was homeless and addicted died while living in a park. He was in rehab but relapsed, mixed some drugs and lost his life, he was 25.

We have to come up with better ways of helping those who are homeless, addicted and/or suffering from mental illness. 

My plan and my hope would be that the city and other agencies would work together to meet the needs of those who are ready and willing to accept assistance. 

Through my previous experiences with people in need I know that some people do not want to be in the system as it is now but it can be changed and if the dignity of the individual is better respected we may be able to help them make the changes they need.

 

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Single Payer Health Care

I went to Albany last Tuesday with Metro Justice. We went to meet with Morelli and instead ended up with Justin Wilcox. 

This is the posting on The Democratic Ledger - Monroe County Legislator Justin F. Wilcox represents the 14th Legislative District, which includes the Town of Brighton, and northern portions of the Town of Henrietta.  Justin was elected in November 2011 to serve a four-year term which began on January 1, 2012. Justin currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the Environment and Public Works Committee and is also a member of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.Having worked in the New York State Senate and then the Monroe County Legislature, Justin has developed a strong background and experience in government and public policy that spans a decade

Justin currently works in the New York State Assembly where he has a central role in crafting and advancing Assemblyman Morelle’s legislative agenda, which has focused on economic development and restoring consumer protection and accountability in the financial services industry.

I would like to say that the encounter was positive but I was surprised at his negative attitude. For every fact that was presented to him concerning the reports that single payer would save money he  would comeback with an ubstantiated report about why our info was flawed. 

When I reported on the salaries of CEOs that were receiving huge bonuses and salaries he didn't have a quick comeback on that. I reported to him that the CEO of Excellus received a 2.7 million dollar bonus for agreeing to stay with Excellus for an additional 3 years. 

I would think that the amount of waste in corporate salaries could be streamlined and that would result in lower costs in operating expenses.

This is the link to the Democrat and Chronicle article from which I gathered my facts.

http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/Excellus-CEOs-Big-Payout-Why-Executive-Pay-is/6Z3Hf0sdPEy_6UYvTjjDXQ.cspx

With the need for healthcare as a preventative measure there would be less cost in the long term due to prevention of illness in the  patient. 

I also read recently that when a person has less stress due to lack of health care that they have better health overall.

http://www.insweb.com/health-insurance/preventive-care-health-insurance.html

http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/2009-power-of-prevention.pdf

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Politics as usual needs to be changed

In the past it appears that there may have been connections to politicians that may have influenced decisions that were not the best for the City but may have been best for them.

Politics in Rochester seems to have become a club that is based on who you know rather than what you know. Read the postings below and decide for yourself.

On the link below it gives info about the property that had been owned by David Gantt that became the Fastrac Gas Station and Store.

http://urbanchamp.blogspot.com/2009/06/mainunion-gateway-use-variance-appeal.html

The property needed a variance from the city to build Fastrac on the lot. The property did not have the square feet needed for the use that it was going to be used for. The Marketview Heights neighbors did express the opinion that they wanted it to be used for a purpose that would highlight the area as a gateway to the city. I had been involved with the neighborhood group at that time in my position as a case manager for Pathstone housing in Marketview Heights.
On Lovely Warren's City of Rochester Page she states her work with getting the project approved:
I have also worked with the Collective Action Project of Marketview Heights to help bring the new Fastrac Market at East Main and North Union Streets to our community.  This much-needed grocery store hired twelve neighborhood youth and a single mother, as some of the store’s first employees. 
Recently there was an announcement made with a quote from David Gantt that was very political and in support of Ms. Warren.
Warren is Assemblyman David Gantt's chief of staff. David Gantt told reporters that Joe Morelle, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee, made promises that Warren would be the Democratic candidate in this election. But current mayor Tom Richards, who finished out Bob Duffy's term when he became Lt. Governor, decided he would run for reelection.
Statement from Joe Morelle: 
"David Gantt's claim is preposterous. He knows it, and everyone who knows him will say 'this is David being David'. He's trying to distract people from the remarkable job that Mayor Richards has done in rebuilding our neighborhoods, our schools and our city. Tom Richards deserves our support."
Statement from David Gantt:
"This is the case where a commitment was made for him to finish the term and then leave. Now we get to the door and he's not leaving. That's not our fault," Gantt said.
We need change! We need Alex White as our Mayor!
Rochester needs real change and the Green Party can bring that about.
Vote Row F this November.

Rochester limpia y verde.

Rochester Clean and Green!

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Stop the violence in Rochester

I wonder why, in this city, we have so much violence.

In my neighborhood the other day three young people were shot and one of them, a young woman, has died.

I have had bullets hit my home once and one came through the wall into my house.

One night while I was riding my bicycle home from Frontier Field. I rode up Campbell Street and I was shot at. Two young men were sitting outside a known drug house one block from my home. I was a half block from my home. The young men took off when they realized they had missed. One week later that same house was set on fire.

When I called the Police they never came out to make a report because the bullet missed me.

What can we do to change things in Rochester?

Are the issues of drug houses, gang activity, lack of a good education, lack of jobs and hopelessness responsible for the violence? Maybe.

I believe that all these issues and many more may be responsible.

Life seems to have been devalued in modern society where violence is seen as a a way to solve problems.

I believe that we need to come up with a radical idea to help change this city.

I know that there are many people in this city who are looking for a way to heal this city and reduce the violence. They say it takes a village to raise a child but I believe it takes a whole city to bring about a major change.

We can work together to make the changes. I believe that the people of this city working with the Green Party are the ones who are going to make the needed changes happen.

Let's help make the changes our city needs.

 

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Living Poor In Rochester

I was downtown today looking for work. The job market this month is not great for older workers or anyone with or without some education. I think of myself as being a pretty savvy person, as someone who can always find a job but that isn't the case right now. I have been applying for jobs that I would usually not think of applying for. Yesterday I applied for a job in a card store putting inventory on shelves. Other jobs that I have applied for that were at places I had worked at previously that didn't turn into a job offer or even an interview. I would hate to think that it is an age discrimination thing but it might be the case.

So here I am living on my limited income and trying to do as best I can. I buy bulk rice, tofu, shop at the public market, thrift stores.

On occasion I stop in at my favorite soup kitchens and clothing rooms. I like going to the soup kitchens because aside from the food I can get healthcare advice, referrals to the clothing rooms and I get to be with my friends. They are my friends because they are good people who have just have fallen upon hard times financially or emotionally. I feel at home there. We sit and chat, discuss films, news, current books we are reading and just about our lives in general.

The lives we are living here in the city is just one of the reasons that I am interested in being on Rochester's City Council. I want to represent the people who have the greater needs. We need affordable healthcare, affordable housing and jobs. We need to feel safe in our city. I don't think that is too much to ask for.

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Being Green

As a former Democrat it was a conscious choice to become a Green but the only one that I felt made sense. I was breaking with my roots but for me it was the only logical choice to make. I felt that the Green Party had the concern for the issues that I cared about in their party platform.

In the years since I became a Green I have seen the struggle that the Green's face in their attempts to make drastic changes. The Greens aim to make positive change that often upsets the status quo of the political parties that protect corporations. For myself it has always been the needs of the people that should be addressed and that are the most important.

It is not hard to see as you walk through the city that there are many areas that need improvement. We need to have a balance between meeting the needs of the city for growth and businesses but not by ignoring the needs of the residents. These projects which are subsidized by the city do not appear to make positive change in adding jobs for residents in this time of high unemployment.

Government should be a give and take situation but it appears that the city is giving more away than it is getting in return. 

Now we hear from the current Mayor that we are in a major deficit position financially. What services to the residents are going to be cut to feed the projects that have been approved by the Mayor?

Are taxes going to be raised on the property owners of the city to fund projects that should not have been approved without input from and concern for the people of the city?

Will absentee landlords with substandard rental properties raise the rent on those who have little choices in affordable and safe housing? Some of these landlords receive their rents through DSS and while collecting rents fail to pay their city taxes and water bills.

Will we be further burdened by the choices made by past administrations?

We need change and I believe the Green Party has the qualified candidates to make the changes that the people and this city need.

Vote Row F for the Green Party this year and bring about real change.

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