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NY Conference of Mayors Travel to Syracuse to Renew Calls for Federal Pandemic Aid

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John Smith/WAER News
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  Many major New York ?cities, from Syracuse and Albany, to Hamilton and Ithaca are calling for more federal aid to get through the pandemic.? A dozen members of the New York Conference of Mayors gathered today at Syracuse City Hall to demand Washington stops bickering on aid for cities.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan was among them.

“Every time there’s a recession, or something like this pandemic happens, who gets hurt the most? Those who have the least,” Sheehan said.

Now is the worst time to be caught short, Sheehan says, as social unrest spreads across the country over civil rights and the upcoming election.

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Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said that it is especially important that cities are delivered stimulus packages during these uncertain times.

“When we have people demanding justice, when we have people who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, and then we look to cut funding that provides essential services to those very people, we pile on the inequity. It cannot stand.”

 

Sheehan added that Congress cannot bail out airlines and Fortune 500 companies while ignoring cities. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said this shouldn’t be a partisan issue where the government is pitted against businesses. 

 

“The choice is not: are we going to help cities or help our economy grow. By helping cities we help our economy grow. So don’t let them fool you, don't let them divide you, don't let them think you can either root for the private sector or root for your local governments. Neither of us will succeed unless we all succeed,” Myrick said.

 

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WAER News
Ithaca Mayor Syvante Myrick spoke about bipartisanship as the key to getting cities aid.

Both Myrick and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh note that Syracuse Area congress member John Katko voted against a house aid package.  But Katko, along with Utica-area rep Anthony Brindisi helped come up with a compromise that included aid for cities. Myrick said that approach is what’s needed. 

“Recently Katko, who did vote against the stimulus, has said he would vote for a package that includes aids for cities and states. That kind of bipartisanship is what we need more of,” Myrick said. “Now why would a democrat say that a month before an election? Because I mean it, that kind of bipartisanship is what we need more of, so we should recognize it when we see it.”

 

Katko is running for re-election against Dana Balter, who also supports an immediate stimulus plan. Brindisi faces Claudia Tenney, who has stayed in line with Donald Trump. The President said in a tweet that all negotiations on any stimulus package should wait until after the election.   

Mayor Walsh hosted the gathering and noted businesses rely on the city for essential services. He said that without federal assistance for cities, businesses can’t fully recover.   

 

 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.