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Politics & Government

Syracuse City Councilor to Challenge for Mayor on Police, Codes, Sidewalk Reforms

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A Syracuse common councilor announced his bid to run for Mayor Tuesday. Democrat Michael Greene made his campaign launch in an admittedly uncommon location. 

“If you ask a political strategist where you should kick off a campaign, they probably wouldn’t recommend an abandoned KFC on Butternut street.  But when I thought about the state of our city, I realized that Butternut street provided he perfect context for where we need to go.  The status quo in Syracuse needs to change.”

He's proposing a 14- point plan for the city titled “A City for All of Us.” Included in the plan are such items as improving code enforcement, creating bus rapid-transit corridors, and a municipal sidewalk program. Greene would also create a commissioner of public safety who would look to reform police policy. 

“I think it’s something the police department, if they’re honest, admits that they need.  They need someone who’s job it is to be in city hall every day and implement change.  The police department needs to be overhauled.  So, having someone there to do that would pay for itself very easily. … Just look at $2 million we spend every year on lawsuits, where discipline isn’t enforced.  So there’s a lot of savings to be had there.”

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Greene is currently in year two of a 4-year term as Councilor-at-Large.

Greene has been critical of current Mayor Ben Walsh.  He suggests much of the mayor's work has been superficial -- ideas that have drawn attention but that have not improved the city.   Greene, with just three years' exprience on the council, has to answer the question of, “why run now?” 

“Because I think this is the moment that requires change.  I think that, it’s not about the Mayor being a bad person; he’s not.  He’s a very nice man, a great person.  But the city needs to reform quickly, now.  COVID 19 has slashed our budgets.  We’re going to need to make services more efficient, and we don’t have four years to wait.”

Greene notes if he does not receive the vote of the Democratic committee, he would support whoever did , avoiding a primary battle.  Fellow Democrat Khalid Bey already announced his intention to run.  
Greene will host a public kickoff event tonight at 6:00 p.m.  Information about the virtual forum and his platform are at: GreeneforSyracusedotcom.