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.