Dave's Comments on the Rochester 2034 Draft
Submit your comments by August 16th here.
Here are the comments I submitted.
City Council's Sad Vote on the Education Referendum
Ten days ago, Mayor Warren put forth legislation for City Council to vote on that would put a referendum for voters on the November 5th ballot. If voters approve it, then City Council will ask the New York State legislature to consider state legislation allowing the State Department of Education to take over the City School District. Councilmember Malik Evans, didn't seem to think that people in the audience understood this. We did, but more on that later. Read More.
How We Should Use Our Land
I am a current member of Our Land Roc, a coalition of community groups and local residents who seek “to cultivate a more equitable, sustainable, and collaborative approach to development in the City of Rochester.” I have helped develop Our Land Roc’s proposals and as a member of City Council write and/or vote for the following legislation: Read More.
We Need REAL Economic Development
As long as we live in a capitalistic society, government should be used to offset the inequality that capitalism creates. Instead of giving tax breaks, grants, $1 properties, and loans that never get paid back to rich out-of-town developers, we should be using our money to create real opportunity for our citizens. Read More.
How Rochester Should Fight Climate Change
There really is no more pressing matter than climate change. It has already started affecting every Rochestarian whether they realize it or not. The City does have a Climate Action Plan, but it’s not enough. I’m not going to spend time picking the plan apart, instead I am making specific recommendations of what we should be doing and speed is important. We cannot wait for “market forces” to save our planet as the market is interested in one thing only: profit. Read More.
Dump RG&E for a Public Utility
Rochester Gas and Electric has got to go. It’s really that simple. When it was a local company, it served the community relatively well, but now that it is owned by a Spanish conglomerate, it no longer serves our needs as it should.
We need to set up a publicly-owned energy company in the City of Rochester. There are over 2000 municipalities that have already done this and we should join that list. This is not going to happen overnight. It is going to take a lot of organizing and advocating to get this done, but if done right it will be a win-win-win situation. Read More
We Should Be Supporting Cooperatives
Along with my call to ban political contributors from doing business with the City, we must shift more of our public economic development resources to the creation of worker-owned businesses, the kind that are run democratically by the workers.
How Can We Pay For My Ideas? (Updated)
The City of Rochester’s annual budget is approximately $540 million a year. It’s a lot of money, but we use some of it on important, life saving things such as infrastructure, garbage collection, the fire department and more. But we also waste a lot of money that could be used to keep libraries open more, reduce crime in humanistic ways, make sure people have appropriate places to live, fight climate change, and all of the other things I would like to work on when elected to City Council. Read More.
How We Can Reduce Gun Violence
We need a two pronged attack that goes after supply and demand. There are limited things we can do to reduce the supply. There will need to be State and Federal laws that focus on the manufacturing and selling of guns and ammunition. But there are some things City Council can do legislatively to help. Read More.
Support the Rochester Fire Department
Our Libraries Must Be Open Every Day
I will advocate for a budget that increases library hours.
Our goal should be to have libraries open 7 days a week. While libraries do enhance our quality of life, they are also enormous economic drivers. There are the obvious educational benefits to libraries, but they are also enormous resources for those looking for jobs and job training. Many libraries in Rochester also serve as community meeting places for groups. Read More.
Housing is a Human Right
Housing is a human right. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone in our community to be without a clean, safe, affordable place to live. With that, I will propose and/or vote for the following legislation:
*For every dollar the City of Rochester uses to promote the creation or rehabilitation to rental housing, the same amount must be used to promote single home ownership (not expensive condos). This includes but is not limited to grants, loans, and tax breaks.
*All new housing built in the City of Rochester must use Universal Design principles.
*Designate 30% of Community Development Block Grant money into a fund to retrofit houses for accessibility.
*A property and school tax cap for elderly and impoverished homeowners. Read More.
Recently, Rochester participated in a form of Participatory Budgeting (PB) through the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), though few people knew about it and it did not go far enough. I advocate for a PB system to be enacted across the City with at least $1 million a year to be given to 16 sections of Rochester. These sections would be each quadrant divided up into 4 sections each.
Participatory Budgeting is a democratic way of using public money. Those interested in participating, develop and decide on projects that meet the needs of the people who live in that area. The planning and decision-making are done by the residents of each area. If there’s a project that two (or even more) adjacent areas want to share, all the better.
Ideas for safety, economic development, education, fighting climate change, food creation, and more are all on the table. Read More.
Dave's Stance on Corporate Welfare
I will not vote for a project that includes local corporate welfare.
Corporate welfare consists of government handouts to corporations (usually larger ones) to create and/or retain jobs. Tax breaks, PILOT’s (payment in lieu of taxes), and municipal construction of dedicated infrastructure are only some of the ways our elected officials undermine the fiscal health of our city. While this practice is by no means just a Rochester issue – virtually every municipality participates in corporate welfare in some way – Rochester has been giving away the store for decades. Read more.
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