Platform

Alex White walking in a parade in a long coat with a green scarf on, waving to the crowd.

How to Improve Rochester

The primary function of government is to improve the lives of its constituents. In Rochester, the best way to do this is to reduce poverty and empower citizens to take control of their neighborhoods. As such, there is much I would like to do as a member of City Council.

 

Fight for Lower Rents & Home Ownership

The City of Rochester spends millions of dollars every year on housing. How the City spends that money generally raises everyone’s rent by replacing current rental units with higher priced ones. This needs to end. We need to work toward lowering people’s rent as this will increase the amount of money people have thus reducing the sting of poverty. I will work to have the City:

  • Start using the City Medium Income (CMI) rather than Area Medium Income (AMI) as a measure for affordability.

  • Stop giving money to others to build housing but instead build public housing ourselves using either the Rochester Housing Authority, the Rochester Land Bank Corporation, or another government agency. We should then sell this housing to those who normally rent.

  • Change zoning laws to allow smaller houses which would have lower prices.

  • Require all new units to be 100% handicap accessible.

  • Convert public housing into housing cooperatives where tenants become owners of the property.

  • End tax breaks for all housing.

  • Return the Urban homesteading program.

  • Support land trusts.

  • Give tenants a right of first refusal for all housing sales.

  • Enact strong retaliation protection for tenants.

  • Require LEED and Green Globe platinum standards for all new construction.

 

Support our Children
Instead of talking about who controls the schools, the City can do many things to help all children succeed. I will work to have the City:

  • Increase library hours so they are open every evening until 9pm and on weekends.

  • Increase recreation hours to include weekends at every rec center and add late night hours at one recreation center per quadrant.

  • Expand the Summer of Opportunity Jobs for Students program from 900 to 3500.

  • Reduce speed limits around parks.

  • Put public water in neighborhood parks and public bathrooms downtown.

  • Greatly increase funding for anti-gang activities through Pathways to Peace and Teen Empowerment.

  • Work with schools to improve education results.

 

Empower Neighbors
In our City, citizens are often helpless to affect positive change or to stop unwanted development in their neighborhood. City Hall is all too willing to seek out our help for government initiatives, but too seldom willing to work on the things that matter most to neighborhoods. This needs to change. I will work to have the City create Neighborhood Councils:

  • Empower these Neighborhood Councils with money in which they decide how to spend it.

  • Give Neighborhood Councils the power to approve zoning variances and building plans.

  • Allow Neighborhood Councils to negotiate Community Benefit Agreements with developers.

  • Permit Neighborhood Councils to participate in the zoning revisions to be done as part of the Vision 2034 plan.

  • Give Neighborhood Councils control over vacant city land in their area.

 

Reduce Poverty
Poverty is simply a lack of resources. These resources can be community improvements, familial support, education, training, or money. Therefore, poverty can be addressed either by reducing costs for people or increasing their resources. Poverty will be reduced by other planks of my platform, but there is still much more that needs to be done. I will work to have the City:

  • Change living wage legislation to apply to all vendors who work with, contract with, or receive money from the City.

  • Raise wages for City employees so that all are making a living wage.

  • Support existing programs for job training like OACES and other apprenticeship / training programs.

  • Increase funding for the Co-op Business initiative to empower residents to become business owners.

  • Restore the We Got You Covered roofing program and use all local labor to do the work.

  • Change zoning to allow for agriculture in the City.

  • Encourage community gardens particularly if they grow food.

  • Give preference to local businesses in the City’s Request for Proposals (RFP) protocol.

  • Change local laws to allow City funds to be deposited into local credit unions.

  • Move City banking to credit unions and have them create a fund for local microloans.

 

Improve Policing in our City
While the City claims crime is at a 39-year low, we are still surrounded by societal ills in Rochester. According to the cities crime data, 85% of crimes committed are misdemeanors and only 7% of all crimes are violent in nature. Therefore, I will work to have the City:

  • Re-allocate City resources that currently go to RPD for mental health, housing, and addiction support for our most vulnerable.

  • Change use of force regulations to focus on de-escalation tactics.

  • Fully fund the voter-approved Police Accountability Board.

  • Put 2 police officers in all patrol cars

  • Get some officers out of their cars to do foot patrols on a regular basis.

  • Improve police record keeping.

  • Start charging security monitor companies for false alarms.

 

How to Pay for it
Too often we are told that the City cannot do something because we do not not have the money. The problem is the City continues to spend our money on projects we do not need while neglecting you and me. To change this we need to do the following things:

  • Too many city departments are management heavy with as many as 1 in 5 employees being managers. Reducing this ratio will save millions. Aim for a 1 to 9 ratio in all departments.

  • Since 2014, the City has added over 200 positions. Examine all of these positions to see if they are valuable or just patronage.

  • Stop giving out building subsidies, particularly for luxury apartments, and stop giving out tax breaks for housing or retail projects.

  • Start fighting back on pre-arranged property assessments and tax breaks for previous projects. There are many in which the builder has failed to hold up their part of the agreement.

  • Close the Municipal Violation Bureau and let the Rochester City Court handle these cases.

  • Make zoning complaint-driven. Also, do repairs for landlords who fail to keep their housing in good condition using local co-op labor and charge the landlords for the work.

 

 

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  • Dave Sutliff - Atias
    published this page 2020-12-28 22:16:44 -0500