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Politics & Government

Can Green Party Crack City Hall with Syracuse Councilor-at-Large Candidate?

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A fourth candidate has entered the race for two Councilor-at-Large Seats on the Syracuse Common Council, that will be contested this November.  Progressive politics that oppose a conservative Congress and President might play a role in the local election.  The Green Party locally has run numerous candidates for a range of positions in City Hall, including this year's candidacy for Mayor by Howie Hawkins.  None has broken through to get elected yet.  

Is it time for Syracuse City Hall to get a green tint?  Frank Cetera of the Green Party believes so because of recent activism here around the environment or immigrants, and against conservative Washington politics.

“The greens are in line with many of those policies that the CNY Solidarity Coalition and other groups are espousing.  In addition to that all of us as candidate s with the greens, we are doing that work, we have been doing that work and we continue to do that work.” 

He’d support pushing some of the city’s economic development investments toward worker cooperatives and worker-owned businesses, something that’s gaining momentum in Rochester, Buffalo and New York City to support small, local businesses.

“Those are jobs that are stable.  Those are jobs that aren’t going anywhere because owners have control over them.  If we take a small portion of money from our budget to create worker-owned business center and development opportunities, instead of continually giving that money away to corporate developers, we con create more of those opportunities.” 

Frank Cetera explains more of his platform "a Syracuse That Works," including more involvement by residents, sidewalk snow removal, a city income tax and jobs measures.

Cetera shares an idea of Green Party Mayoral Candidate Howie Hawkins of imposing a small income tax on people who work in the city, including those who commute in. 

“Because Syracuse does need the workers that come from outside of the city.  We need the folks in our Eds (education) and meds (medical) who are living in our surrounding suburbs and towns and villages.  But we also need them to take on their fair share of our city infrastructure that supports their employers and supports their jobs.”

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Can current political winds help Cetera win and finally get a Green elected to a position inside City Hall?

He says he’d like to make city hall work better for residents by streaming common council meetings live over the internet, beefing up T-N-T groups, and figuring out, as most other snowy cities have done, a way to clear the sidewalks.

“We have individuals who live here who need to get to work.  We have families that need to go grocery shopping and we have students that need to walk to their grade school, middle school, high school and college locations. And we intend to take the burden off of the shoulders of individuals and onto the collective residents as a whole here in Syracuse. 

There will be two Councilor-at-Large seats open in November’s election.  Cetera joins a field that includes announced candidates Kyle Madden, Tim Rudd and Khalid Bey.