A Couple of County Issues to Think About

 County. The Syracuse Common Council passed a resolution to form an independent committee to redraw district lines after the 2020 Census. Although 9 of the 11 Republican County Legislators signed this pledge: “I pledge my support for non-partisan and independent redistricting in the County of Onondaga. If elected, I will work to ensure fair and representative County Legislature districts.”. 

Why was this vote important? Take a look at the County Legislative District Map. Some of those districts weave and wander in all directions. This is done to keep as many districts as possible mostly Republican and/or Republican leaning. 

Of the 11 Republicans (9 pledge to support this measure before they were last elected), not one republican joined the 6 democrats and the measure was defeated 6 yes, 11 no. Is your legislator one of them? May, Holmquist, Bush, Jordan, Rowley, Burtis, Tassone, Code, Abbott-Kenan, and Knapp.

The other issue, close to my heart, was the vote that allowed Ryan McMahon to let go up to 250 county employees in the midst of a pandemic. There was no looking for other solutions – like Syracuse’s 4 furlough days. Syracuse employees shared the burden and saved jobs. But 9 county legislators voted to cut up to 250 jobs. I wonder if they’ve used any of the surplus to bring them all back? 

My guess is many of those jobs were union jobs. The employees and unions were never given a chance to negotiate. At the same session, the legislature made several appointments. 

Just a couple of things to think about. 

Vote Local

 Over 156 million people voted in the 2020 Presidential Election. Of them, 237,736 were in Onondaga County. That’s beyond fabulous!

Too many of those folks will not even think of voting again…at least not until the next presidential election. And, that’s too sad.

While presidential politics has all the hoopla, local politics effects daily life so much more than national. School, village, city, town and county elections determine who will put forth school budgets, property taxes, laws that limit the height of your fence, and who picks up the garbage. This is where the pavement hits the pothole!

Knowing what’s happening at town hall can save you from nasty surprises down the road. In Cicero, attending town hall meetings is as easy as logging onto YouTube. There’s a link in the agendas for the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Board, and the Town Board meetings that will bring you to the meeting. If you don’t feel comfortable attending in person, or would prefer to listen for your comfy chair, this is a great way to monitor town hall happenings.

The North Syracuse Central School District also broadcasts their Board of Education Meetings on YouTube, which you can access on their website

Don’t live in Cicero? Many towns, villages, and school districts are broadcasting their meetings. Google the entity’s name to find their website to check.

Wherever you live, connecting with the village, town, or county committee of your party is a great way to get involved – even if it is only to be added to an email list and see what’s going on.

Town and County

In New York, we finally have early voting. In Onondaga County, we have 6 early voting sites. The republican lead county legislature refuses to increase the number of sites, even though the funds are available. Why is that?

When the issue first arose, I asked my town supervisor, at the time it was Mark Venseky, why he was not advocating for a spot in Cicero…a town with approximately 20,000 registered voters. He said he had not been approached. Really? You have to be approached to advocate?

Councilwoman Judy Boyke brought a measure before the town board to make the town available as an early voting site. She was shot down. 

As a result of our republican lead town board consistently refusing to ask/allow a site in the town of Cicero, we get to travel to the town of Clay – the closest early voting site – to cast our votes. Since Clay is also a large town, this often leads to long lines. 

Last year, on a Saturday morning, I brought my sister who lives in Baldwinsville to vote at the Clay Town Hall. We were there well before the building opened and the line was already through the parking lot and to the Clay Town Highway garage.

I ask again. Why would our republican lead county and town governments not want to service their constituents by making voting convenient?

Salt City Market

A New “Gem” in Syracuse

The Salt City Market, located at 484 South Salina St. in Downtown Syracuse, contains 10 local food and beverage vendors with varying cuisines, ranging from soul to Asian, and everything in-between. There’s a full service bar and coffee shop, along with the Syracuse Cooperative Market located inside. Open Mon-Sat (11am-9pm) and Sunday (11am-5pm). Check out their website at http://www.saltcitymarket.com.

Cicero Town Board Meeting

by Joyce Villnace

If you left the virtual Cicero Town Board Meeting of February 10, 2021 after the nearly 2 hour public hearing on the Horner Farmstead proposed zone change run by Mr. Bragman, you left way too soon!

Along with a third public hearing that didn’t make the agenda, there were “two late breaking items” Councilman Jonathan Karp brought up at the end of the meeting. One was a donation for ballistic shields for the police department, the other was to reestablish the Deputy Supervisor position the same board abolished in the September 9, 2020 meeting.

Councilors Boyke and Becallo seemed stunned that the Deputy Supervisor resolution was on the agenda. The resolution was read by Mr. Karp and seconded by Councilor White.

Ms. Boyke opened the discussion saying this resolution needed more discussion and that she felt pressured to vote before talking with the Town Attorney or going into executive session for further discussion.

Mr. Becallo said he preferred the resolution be put up as a public referendum in November and asked what the real reasons were that this was being proposed at this meeting. You could almost hear a chorus of “good government” coming from Karp, White, and Meyer. Ms. Boyke mused that Ms. White seemed to have been informed, implying that Ms. Boyke and Mr. Becallo had been left out of the loop. 

Mr. Becallo insisted the real reasons be disclosed. Ms. White asked Mr. Becallo to enlighten us as to the real reasons.

When pressed, Mr. Karp said it was a “reasonable request” of Supervisor Meyer in order to get him to sign the Police Contract. Mr. Becallo reiterated that Mr. Meyer has refused to sign any contracts until his demands were met. The resolution passed 3 (Karp, White, Meyer) to 2 (Boyke, Becallo).

So, who will be the new Deputy Supervisor? Most money is on Mike Mirizio being appointed Deputy Supervisor since he has already chaired a meeting (January 13, 2021) in order to enhance his candidacy for Town Councillor. However, since Mr. Mirizio is an ad hoc member of the Planning Board, and they can already have him sitting on the Zoom meetings, even though he doesn’t participate (as they have the last several meetings), my money’s on Mike Aregano who’s the Republican candidate for Town Supervisor.

We’ll know soon enough and then Mr. Meyer can be “unavailable” and the entire slate of Republican candidates can be front and center through November.

Relieved, but not Resting

We’ve never been happier seeing this image of the *former* President leaving the White House for the last time.

Yet our resolve remains firm that we should never again endure him or his sycophants in any position of authority at any level of government (including those that supported him here in Cicero). The new Congress must ensure that supporting a violent insurrection is met with swift consequences.

Dana Balter Virtual House Party

The election is 28 days away and tonight Ciceronians heard from Dana Balter during a live event on ZOOM!

Dana Balter speaks directly to you about the strategic importance of Cicero in the upcoming #NY24 congressional race

As our next congresswoman, Dana will uplift communities like ours that have been overlooked in Congress for far too long. She’s fighting alongside Joe Biden to secure affordable healthcare during a pandemic and to restore science-based policy making to fight coronavirus. We need leaders like Dana that will formulate real plans to keep us safe and tell us the hard truths of what’s going on.

The virtual room was filled with engaged citizens looking to regain control of their government! We also had a very special guest: the Roman Senator and consul member Cicero himself showed up to warn us of the dangerous threat to our democracy posed by Katko and other sycophants siding with Trump to score political points instead of dedicating the resources our local governments need to survive.

Marcus Tullius Cicero looks an awful lot like retired teacher Rob Santucci

Join the campaign without spreading the virus by joining an event to safely make calls or send texts via the campaign website or by simply emailing the Cicero Democratic Commitee today to ask how you can get involved.

FAIR MAPS FOR ONONDAGA COUNTY

Help us by getting people to sign the petition.  Many people are going out right now getting designating petitions.  The great thing about this petition for fair maps is that you don’t need to go off a list!  Anyone can sign regardless of their party ID! We all want fair elections in Onondaga County, right?

You can return them by sending an email to fairmapscny@gmail.com or info@cicerodems.org for instructions on where to send them. Thanks everyone! Let’s end gerrymandered maps!

Onondaga-Fair-Maps-Petition-1

Cicero Democrats Giving Back

Dana Balter and others join the Cicero Democratic Committee for their regular meeting and holiday donation drive!

Your local Cicero Democratic Committee gave back to three families in our community. Two of the families have served their community, and their nation, by enlisting in the armed forces. The third family came to us at the suggestion of the Cicero Canteen.

Nate Riley and his daughter, Keira, delivery holiday gift baskets to 3 Cicero families (Keira carried the turkeys)

Nate Riley, our chairperson for this effort, organized the donations, decorated the baskets, and delivered them with his family. The Committee’s donations to the holiday gift baskets included a complete dinner for the holidays: a 20 pound turkey, stuffing, sausage, and all the fixings! The baskets also contained $25 gift cards for Price Chopper so each family could pickup anything they wanted to add to their holiday feast.

Nate, Keira, and two veteran families

The Democratic Committee wishes everyone a blessed, warm, and safe Holiday filled with fond memories!