In too many neighborhoods, law-abiding citizens hide in their houses while criminals control the streets. Between gangs, drugs, and violence the same areas have remained troubled for years. The oddest part is the police know where the problems are and yet it feels like nothing is being done. Furthermore, a few bad apples in the police department drag down the performance of the whole force and the culture within RPD does not allow these rogue cops to be fired. My opponent has been the chair of public safety for years and our public safety is a reflection of his work. Yet police are only part of public safety. Crime and violence are a symptoms of a society in crisis. Studies have shown that one of the best way to combat crime is with recreation education, and employment. Our City Council has not increased its share of education funding for 11 years, they have cut recreation funding by 40%, reduced teen summer employment, and even kept library funding at the same level for 8 years. Under these circumstances it is not surprising we have a crime problem. As your representative in City Council I will concentrate on crime by:

  • Finding more funding for libraries and recreation. 
  • Adding more summer employment for students. 
  • Advocating for true community policing. 
  • Increasing positive officer presence in neighborhoods. 
  • Fighting for better supervision of officers. 
  • Saving money in government to increase funding to schools.

  Neighborhood Development

Nowhere in Rochester is the need for a change in operations as evident than in our troubled neighborhoods. We are fighting a losing battle against blight. Empty housing, abandoned buildings, ignored nuisance complaints, and trash are just some of the factors which are dragging many neighborhoods down. While neighborhoods collapse, our city gives tax breaks to residents who live downtown and provide millions to builders to create new apartments with rents which are out of the price range to most Rochestarians. We should not stop the battle against blight, but we need to change the strategy and tactics. Despite these needs, my opponent is seldom seen at neighborhood meetings, often late to council meetings and unresponsive to the residents of his district. As your representative in City Council I will fight blight by:
  •  Being more accessible, attending neighborhood meetings, and always returning emails, or phone calls. 
  • Fighting to get more officers on the street by using civilian workers for clerical and non-security issues. 
  • Working to have parking and zoning officers write tickets for nuisance issues. 
  • Changing Clean Sweep into a neighborhood program where neighborhoods get to hire their own residents to clean their neighborhood over the summer. 
  • Acquire funding for public garbage cans in neighborhoods. 
  • Advocate for an end to special tax breaks for downtown residents. 
  • Planting trees on vacant lots that the City can not sell or get community gardens on.  
Jobs and development

 Perhaps the largest problem facing Rochester is poverty. Various task forces and committees discuss ways to use failed methods more efficiently, meanwhile nothing changes. At the same time our City Council continues to approve millions of dollars of tax breaks and subsidies to our richest stakeholders. Presently, more than 150 properties, each worth over a million dollars, receive tax breaks totaling more than 25% of the total taxes collected. We the people end up making up for these giveaways to pay for essential services. We are told that these tax breaks are needed to provide adequate housing and jobs, yet we have been doing this for years and poverty has increased, there still is inadequate housing and jobs for our poorest citizens, and blight is destroying our neighborhoods. Obviously, corporate welfare is not working, yet Council has given more than half-billion dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to the wealthiest in our city while ignoring the needs of the middle class and poor. Using government money to funnel money to the rich has become so engrained in the culture of the local Democratic Party that they refuse to consider any other method of governing. If we want to stop the growth of poverty in our city we need to stop giving money to the wealthy and start funding programs which will create wealth in our city for everyone. We need to start addressing the asset gap between the haves and have-nots. We need a plan to make assets available to all Rochestarians to go to college, start a business and buy a home. When you put me on City Council, I will fight to end subsidies to rich developers and campaign donors and will instead insist on: Fair taxes on all building in Rochester.
  • A moratorium on property reassessment for home owners over 60 years of age. 
  • Individual Development Accounts to help build assets so people can improve their lives. 
  • Selling Rochester Housing Authority properties to residents so they can have a stake in our society and develop assets of their own. 
  • Making it illegal to give tax breaks to campaign donors 
  • No longer subsidizing new housing and instead assist people in rehabbing vacant houses in neighborhoods.

Listen to Alex...

...on Transforming Rochester on Rochester Free Radio. You can see when it's on at the Rochester Free Radio show schedule.

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