Date published: October 26, 2011
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To vote, you must be registered with the Onondaga County Board of Elections. For more information on polling places, call the Board of Elections at 435-3312 or the League of Women Voters at 422-9797. Note: Addresses without a city listed are in Syracuse.
State Supreme Court Justice
What do you bring to the bench that sets you apart from other judicial candidates?
Democratic, Conservative 7638 Coloins St., Lowville 13367 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.electmerrell.com Profession: Lewis County Judge and Surrogate, Family Court Judge, Acting Supreme Court Justice Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, St. Lawrence University
I am a full-time judge serving as Lewis County judge and surrogate and Family Court judge for eight years and as acting Supreme Court justice for the last four years. I am also the only candidate highly qualified by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission, a nonpartisan, blue ribbon panel of judges and experienced attorneys. I am the only candidate having heard and decided cases in each county in the fifth Judicial District.
Democratic, Conservative 5767 Route 31, Verona 13478 email@example.com; www.patrickmacrae.us Profession: Attorney Education: JD, SUNY Buffalo; BA, SUNY Buffalo
I have an unmatched depth of specialized Supreme Court trial and litigation experience spanning nearly 32 years, a breadth of experience that includes having represented the state Commission on Judicial Conduct in a seminal matter supporting its authority to oversee the ethical conduct of the judiciary, which was considered by the New York Law Journal to be one of the most important cases in New York in 2003, and the appropriate temperament required for all judges.
Democratic, Working Families, Veteran's Party 112 Limestone Lane, Syracuse 13219 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Attorney Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, Le Moyne College
More than 33 years of legal experience, with 30 years in the private sector as a practicing attorney specializing in civil law and 3½ years as judicial law clerk to state Supreme Court Justice Richard Aronson. Represented clients before practically all levels of state courts and the federal District Court - Northern District of New York. I have always treated those I have dealt with respect and dignity. I have the ability to assist parties in finding the middle ground to resolve disputes and avoid needless litigation.
Democratic Veterans, Working Families 107 Hampshire Road, Syracuse 13203 email@example.com; www.tombuckel.com Profession: Partner, Hancock & Estabrook; Onondaga County Legislator Education: JD, University of Virginia School of Law; graduate work, Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; BA, Canisius College
Most diverse public, legal and adjudication experiences. Deepest understanding of communities and hardships faced by families, farms, businesses. Demonstrated commitment to public good over powerful interests. Only candidate who pledged not to hear any case involving any donor for at least two years. Equal justice, no exceptions, Impartial, fair, hardest working, innovative, compassionate. One of five of the nine candidates determined qualified or highly qualified through rigorous evaluation performed by Independent State Judicial Election Commission.
Republican, Independence P.O. Box 94, New Hartford 13413 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.gallforjustice.com Profession: Attorney and principal court attorney to the Honorable Barry Donalty, acting Supreme Court Justice Education: JD, SUNY Buffalo; BA, Boston College
Our courts have never faced greater scrutiny or more demanding caseloads. I will bring a new model of judicial leadership to the bench. In addition to 13 years of experience as chief adviser to Judge Donalty, I have the energy and work ethic necessary to serve those whose lives literally depend on the state Supreme Court. I have seen the judiciary from all vantage points: private practice attorney, counsel to a superior court judge, and as victim of a violent crime. I know how judges think and understand how victims feel.
Republican, Independence 115 Ray St., Ilion 13357 email@example.com; www.klosnerforjudge.com Profession: First Assistant District Attorney, Herkimer County Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, Siena College
As a husband, father and lifelong upstate resident, I will bring to the bench trial experience, local knowledge and common sense to render reasoned decisions that provide positive solutions. As Herkimer County's chief assistant district attorney, I have served the people tirelessly, taking child molesters and violent felons off the streets. I've spent virtually all of my professional life working in the courtroom. I have earned the reputation by my peers as a tough but fair prosecutor and a staunch defender of victims' rights.
Republican 18388 Alpine Ridge Road, Watertown firstname.lastname@example.org; www.judgemcclusky.com Additional Party Endorsements: Conservative, Independence Profession: Attorney Education: JD, SUNY Buffalo; BA, Hartwick College
I am a trial attorney, having conducted 300 trials including approximately 30 jury trials. I know the law and I know the courtroom. In addition, I have been a judge for the last nine years handling thousands of cases from traffic infractions to felonies and $50 small claims matters, to business disputes involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. I understand these matters are important to the litigants and I treat each case that way.
Did not respond
Republican, Conservative Veterans 4964 Adah Drive, Manlius 13104 email@example.com; johnstone4 supremecourt.com Profession: Attorney; Law Clerk to state Supreme Court Justice James Murphy Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, St. Michael's College
More than 100 lawyers have become honorary co-chairs of my campaign. I have 17 years experience as a civil trial lawyer in both private practice and as a senior assistant corporate counsel for the city of Syracuse. For the past seven years I have been the principal law clerk to state Supreme Court Justice James Murphy. I have been found qualified by the Onondaga County Bar Association and the independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission. I have also received the highest rating of "qualified and commended" given by the Central New York Women's Bar Association.
Republican, Independence P.O. Box 291, DeWitt 13214 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.joaniemahoney.com Profession: County Executive; Attorney Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BS, SU
By far the most effective thing New York state government could do to encourage job creation is reform the programs it requires local governments to pay for and I applaud the governor for beginning that process. The costs for those state programs are passed on as property tax bills and detrimentally affect any economic development efforts.
During the governor's campaign, he promised to move from state control of economic development monies to local control. The Regional Economic Development Councils are an example of that shift. We as a region can choose our best economic development ideas ourselves and move forward.
Republican,Conservative and Independence Maple Grove Drive, Tully 13059 Profession: Attorney Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, SU
I am proud of many accomplishments in my 20 years as district attorney. Among the most notable is my reopening and investigation into the deaths of five infants between 1965 and 1971. That investigation resulted in the prosecution of their mother Waneta Hoyt in 1995 for murdering her five babies and literally changed the way we look at infant deaths in this country.
I am also proud of helping to establish a state-of-the-art forensic crime lab in this county. I am proud of our efforts to speak for child victims, by creating one of the first Special Victim's Bureau in the state, a police Abused Persons Unit and recently, a Child Advocacy Center. Most recently, I was responsible for establishing and currently chair the state District Attorneys Association Committee on Fair and Ethical Administration of Justice, which focuses on developing best practices and ethics to prevent wrongful convictions.
Did not respond.
O nondadaga County LeLegislator
The 2 percent tax cap signed into law this year creates an imbalance between a limit on property taxes and rising costs for state-mandated programs. As a county legislator, what measures would you propose to compensate for the inability to raise taxes more than 2 percent?
Brian F. May
Republican, Conservative, Independence 1395 River Bend Drive, Baldwinsville 13027 email@example.com; www.citizens4may.com Profession: Business Consultant Education: BS, SUNY Empire State College
The 2 percent tax cap is a perfect example of counterproductive over-regulation by government. Capping the levy does not address the core problem of overall government spending. Fear of downstream penalties invoked by increasing mandates, or by the cap itself, is actually prohibiting well-run municipalities from reducing overall spending. As county legislator, I will fight for mandate relief and meaningful reform of the tax cap while striving to improve government efficiency at every opportunity.
Republican, Conservative, Independence, Veterans 4350 Loveland Drive, Liverpool 13090 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.johndougherty.org Profession: Engineer Education: MBA, Syracuse University; MS, SU; BS, SUNY Buffalo
The county should work closer with New York state to get them to help us with the costs of mandated programs. Without this, anything we can do will matter very little. Beyond that, we should be looking beyond property taxes to increase revenue. We should encourage more public/private partnerships that encourage growth in blighted neighborhoods and revitalization of abandoned or underused industrial sites. We should be doing absolutely everything we can to encourage tourism and increased commerce from outside the area. We have had recent successes in this area and we should leverage that into the future.
Republican 7021 VanAntwerp Drive, Cicero 13039 legislatorbill.meyer@ yahoo.com; www.electbill.meyer.com Profession: Insurance agent Education: BA, Kansas State Teachers College
We must accept the fact that the fiscal crisis in Albany is for real. Therefore, we must take the following steps.
1. Halt all but essential purchases until the state budget is passed.
2. Stop all new hiring except for essential areas.
3. Start a complete budget review process now to evaluate and rank all services and costs. We can no longer do a budget on an annual basis. It must be an ongoing process.
Joan Zinsmeyer Kesel
Democratic, Working Families, Independent 8406 Brewerton Road, Cicero 13031 email@example.com Profession: Retired Education: North Syracuse Central Schools
The 2 percent cap helps to control property taxes but not without sacrifice. Every department needs to be examined using consolidation where redundancy with state, town, village or city services exists. Working together to establish a joint health insurance consortium with towns and villages could negotiate better premiums and enhance coverage. Prepare to negotiate salaries and benefits that compensate current employees and attract new employees. Convince Albany that a new pension tier will lower obligations in the public employees' retirement system
Republican 4855 Thornwood Drive, Liverpool 13088 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Small business owner Education: Columbia College
As a current county legislator I realize that measures must be addressed regarding the imbalance between a limit on property taxes and the rising cost for state mandates. I recently sponsored a resolution in support of permanently ending new and existing unfunded state mandates on local governments, and ending state budget actions that simply shift costs from the state to local taxpayers. We must also work to consolidate services and costs without depriving our taxpayers of the necessary services they require.
Democratic 4854 Driftwood Dive, Liverpool 13090 email@example.com; www.voteforDaveStott.com Profession: Independent manufacturing representative Education: Syracuse University; SUNY Oswego; Herkimer County Community College
Throughout the 4th District, 2011 property taxes increased significantly: 73 percent. In Salina, county taxes and add the bad decision to pass a tax-sharing agreement that led to a 22 percent increase in the village of Liverpool and a 36 percent increase in the Lakeland area. I never voted for a budget with a county property tax increase and will use my experience to make better decisions because we can't afford any more property tax increases.
Republican, Independence/Conservative 437 Jewell Drive, Liverpool 13088 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kathyrapp.com Profession: Director, ACLS (Alberta Crowe Letter Service) Education: BS, SUNY Oneonta
Mandate relief is critical if we have any hope of continuing county services while containing property tax growth. Without that relief, the 2 percent cap will reduce county government to only a delivery service for social service programs. To that end, I introduced two resolutions along with our budget. The first asked directly for no unfunded mandates and the second urged passage of two bills already on file in the state Senate and in the Assembly. Both call for the state to assume the cost of Medicaid in ever-increasing percentages over the next 10 years. Last year the county absorbed $20 million in new unfunded mandate costs. This year we absorbed another $17 million. At the same time, we reduced the property tax levy by $35 million. In other words, the sales tax the county "kept" was directly turned over to the state to pay for ever-rising mandated costs. This is obviously unsustainable. If we are required to raise taxes by no more than 2 percent yet continue to receive increases that amount to 12 percent of our levy, our only recourse will be to cut local services.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 3798 Oak Hill Road, Marietta 13110 email@example.com; www.tobyshelley.com Profession: Sheriff's deputy
Having read the 2011 county budget, 66 percent is mandated programs, the next largest expenditure is public safety at 32 percent. With a strong background in public safety, I would look at ways we could govern smarter. We can better manage the largest unmandated part of the county budget by taking a look at unjustified take-home cars in the county which will save more than $1 million. Better scheduling of personnel could save another $1 million in overtime costs.
Republican, Independence 4753 Howlett Hill Road, Marcellus 13108 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mikeplochocki.com Profession: Attorney Education: BA, Cornell University; JD, SUNY Buffalo College of Law
I worked in Gov. Pataki's office with the specific task of advising the governor's staff on cutting wasteful state regulations and state mandates. From a position of experience, I want to lead the County Legislature's effort in lobbying the state to cut back its mandates to the counties. This has to be done because, quite frankly, this conundrum cannot be solved without the state eliminating, reducing, or at least placing a similar cap on the cost of some or all state-mandated programs.
Danny J. Liedka
Republican 211 McCool Ave., East Syracuse 13057 email@example.com; www.liedka.com Profession: Business development manager, New York state, Marriott Corporation; sports commentator, Time Warner Cable Sports Education: East Syracuse-Minoa High School
Right out of the gate, public-private partnerships need to be created. If there are operations that can be handled by private sector companies, and take the burden off taxpayers, I'm all for it. This is a complex question, with no short-answer solution. The biggest problem lies in Albany, with the Medicaid program. I fully support legislation, currently pending in the state Senate and Assembly, that would freeze county Medicaid expenditures, and gradually return all Medicaid costs to the state over an eight-year period.
Democratic ,Working Families 112 W. Yates St., East Syracuse 13057 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Small business owner Education: Central City Business Institute
The sharing of government services and duplication of services. Are our taxpayers paying for the same service from more than one government agency? Can we effectively consolidate services, keeping the same level of service for our community while saving money? Where can we get the most for our money? Look into purchasing practices of the county to ensure we are using collective buying power, state contract prices, centralize purchasing would benefit other municipalities.
Republican, Veterans 103 Hunter Ave., Syracuse 13204 email@example.com Profession: Education: High school graduate
I would need more information to answer this question. Be it known that I would rely on help and guidance from our county executive and other legislators, but most importantly from the voters in the district for additional help and guidance.
Democratic, Conservative 205 Maple Road, Syracuse 13219 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Executive Vice President CWA Local 1123, Verizon Communications Education: BS, Buffalo State; AAS, Onondaga Community College
Onondaga County has a $1.2 billion operating budget. State mandates comprise a good portion of that overall budget. I will work to initiate conversations between village, town and city lawmakers to collectively voice our concerns to state officials and work on ways to reduce costs. I will also work to reduce county operating costs. For example, we should initiate discussions with the Sheriff's Department regarding video arraignment. We need to examine countywide ways to reduce soaring health care costs, as well as doing our very best to try and find ways to increase revenues aside from raising taxes.
Republican, Independence 260 S. Edwards Ave., Syracuse 13206 email@example.com; www.bobandrews2011.com Profession: Manager of Business Development, Madison Cortland ARC Education: MBA, Northeastern University; BA, Colgate University
We are at the point in the county budget where there is very little to cut. We have done a lot of cutting in the last several years and it has allowed the county to idle in neutral and survive. However, going forward we need to be much more proactive. First, we need to start investing in our community to create more job and business opportunities in order to grow our tax base. We must increase our revenues without raising taxes. The only way to do that is to increase population, business activity and the overall economy. Onondaga County can also be at the forefront of developing countywide vocational education hubs for high school students. We need to provide a better educational opportunity for those children that are not going to college and at the same time providing a skilled workforce for our manufacturing and business community.
Second, the county must be united in the effort to reform and reduce state mandates. The county executive cannot be the only voice coming from the county on this issue. We need to take advantage of the relationship the county executive has developed with Albany and the governor to insist upon immediate mandate reform. As a county legislator, I will add my voice and my efforts to reducing the burden of state-mandated programs.
Democratic 228 Brattle Road, Syracuse 13203 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Financial Adviser Education: Master's of Public Administration, Syracuse University; BA, University of Notre Dame
With the support of cost-cutting and sales tax revenues, the County Legislature has been reducing the property tax levies for 2011 and 2012. City residents saw their property taxes reduced 17 percent for this year and will be reduced and additional 5 percent for 2012. I hope to be a strong factor in continuing this trend going forward.
Democratic 7665 Hunt Lane, Fayetteville 13066 email@example.com; sites.google.com/ gwynmannionforcountyleg Profession: Engineer Education: BS, Purdue University Did not respond.
Republican, Conservative, Independence, Taxpayers First 123 Summerhaven Drive S., East Syracuse 13057 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kevinholmquist.com Profession: Licensed Relationship Manager, Key Bank & Key Investments Education: BS, Syracuse University, Political Science; AAS, Onondaga Community College
We need mandate relief from New York state government. The tax cap is meaningless without mandate relief. We need to be able to handle our own affairs at the local level of government. We have been reducing spending and getting the county out of areas that we never should have been in. We need to continue this aggressively.
Democratic 4782 Burrstone Road, Syracuse 13215 email@example.com; www.buffyquinn.com Profession: Associate Director of Sustainability, Byrne Dairy Education: MA, University of Denver; BS, University of Southern Mississippi
The 2 percent tax cap shortchanges students, schools and working families while it shifts more of the burden of providing high-quality education to local communities. In Onondaga County, school districts have already cut budgets, and teachers have made sacrifices with increased class size, pay freezes, and a lengthened class day. As a member of the County Legislature, I will support programs like Say Yes to Education that provide grant money to schools who have committed to innovative educational programs.
Republican , Conservative, Independence, Veterans 4482 Renee Meadows Drive, Syracuse 13202 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.patkilmartin.com Profession: Attorney, small business owner Education: JD, New England School of Law; BA, University of Rochester
Both officials need to recognize and respect the two offices and understand the need for checks and balances. Improving communication would be the key to providing better service to the community. If both officeholders understand, recognize and acknowledge that the voters of the city will benefit from oversight, checks, balances and transparent review, then both offices can more effectively carry out their duties. The focus should not be directly at friction between the individuals, but how both offices can provide better service to their prospective bosses, the voters of the city.
David H. Knapp
Republican, Conservative, Independence P.O. Box 467, LaFayette 13084 email@example.com Profession: Clinical Laboratory Sales Education: BS, United States Military Academy at West Point
The 2 percent tax cap instituted by New York state has created a very difficult situation for local governments because the state Legislature and the governor only passed half of what they said they would. They never went back and addressed the litany of unfunded mandates that they have been burdening local governments with for years. In LaFayette, for example, for 2012, the town's contribution to the state retirement system increased so dramatically that by itself it was more that the 2 percent tax cap allowed. We were forced to find cuts in other areas to make up for that increase. At the county level we must continue to pressure our state-elected officials to finish the job and cut unfunded mandates. We must also take a top-to-bottom look at the county government to look for duplications of service and make some potentially difficult decisions concerning cutting programs that in these tough times are considered nice to have versus need to have.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 3161 Route 91, Jamesville 13078 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.philforcountylegislature.com Profession: Maintenance supervisor, Syracuse University; Peace officer, town of Pompey Education: BA, Syracuse University
With any new program or law, the first year is most critical. One almost has to take a wait-and-see position. However, we are not without options. There is a tax cap override process (if needed) to raise taxes, I would caution in doing such until we see what effect the 2 percent cap will have on each area.
Other options include tapping into grants and subtitles, creative management of lighting/water districts, putting off major purchases, lower pensions costs, etc. Plus there is always the option of tapping the reserves to help compensate.
The bottom line: Any decision made we all will have to deal with the political realities someone is not going to be happy about it. We cannot let that influence us in our decision-making for the public good. I feel the key to success has to be open dialogue and communicating, being as transparent in the decision-making
Derek T. Shepard Jr.
Republican, Independence 127 Northrup Blvd., Syracuse 13209 email@example.com; www.derekshepard.com Profession: Assisted living administration Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BS, SU
Mandates must be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, this is not within the direct power of county government. Discretionary costs can be reduced, but over time there would be nothing left to cut. It would be best to bring specific mandated costs to the voters' attention so they can bring pressure to bear on state representatives to either reduce mandates, provide supporting state funding, or move administration of mandated programs such as Medicaid back to the state.
Democratic, Working Families 4 Comstock Road, Baldwinsville 13027 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.scarmo.com Profession: Chef Education: AAS, Mohawk Valley Community College
Regarding the 2 percent cap, legislators need to take a good look at the county budget and start going line by line and eliminate the excess spending in the budget. Let's take a look at take-home vehicles and the cost to taxpayers. Are all those vehicles a necessity? Middle-class America has been carrying the burden and sacrificing so politicians can have these perks. Let's get back to basics because that's all taxpayers can afford. For too long taxpayers were an open-ended credit card that government just kept on going to.
Republican, Conservative 1478 Gunbarrel Road, Baldwinsville 13027 Profession: Retired Education: State Police Academy
Being the Republican Conservative county legislator for the past 20 years, we have somewhat addressed that issue in the 2012 budget. We have reduced the number of county employees and made cuts in other departments. We have left enough in the fund balance account if need be to offset any necessary increases above the 2 percent next year.
Republican, Conservative, Independence, Veterans 8133 Rizzo Drive, Clay 13041 email@example.com; www.voteforcaseyjordan.com Profession: Attorney Education: JD, Hofstra University College of Law; BA, Vassar College
Implementation of mandate reform so as to minimize the impact of unfunded mandates on the county budget. This would include, but not be limited to, urging Albany to assume full responsibility for the payment of all state-mandated costs, such as Medicaid, food stamps, aid for dependent children and the other safety net programs that the county is mandated to provide to its citizens. This would also include the exclusion of mandated costs from the calculation of the dollar amount of the 2 percent tax cap.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 117 Breakspear Road, Syracuse 13219 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.citizens4markenglish.com Profession: Attorney Education: JD
The austerity now required is already affecting vital services and important cultural assets. For the time being any county legislator will have to carefully scrutinize any spending and hold the line on any tax increase. However, in the long run only an increase in our tax base by a concerted job creation program will resolve the problem. That too should be a great concern for all elected officials.
Did not respond
Democratic, Working Family 125 Hudson St., Syracuse 13204 I THINK email@example.com Profession: Staffing Coordinator, Rosewood Heights Health Center Education: High school graduate
The 2 percent tax cap is good for homeowners and landowners who continue to be taxed at alarming rates. We need to address the unfunded mandated services that the state puts on counties. As a county legislator, I will continue to look for ways to collaborate with other municipalities for the services that we deliver.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 6331 Danbury Drive, Jamesville 13078 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Retired Education: BA, Syracuse University
Continuing advocating for relief in Medicaid and unfunded mandates. Continue consolidation efforts with the city, town and village governments to achieve efficiency in spending, like the purchasing department and the joint location of county and city economic development offices. Continue to grow tourism and other businesses to locate in the county to generate revenue. Continue to ask all departments to look critically at spending, to be creative with staffing, to seek grants to offset expense where ever possible.
C ommissioner of EdEducation
With a new system in place to evaluate public school teachers, the Committee on Open Government has stated that the results of the teacher ratings should be made public. Do you agree or disagree and why?
Republican 107 Summit Ave., Syracuse 13207 email@example.com Profession: Retired Education: MS, Education
We will have to comply with whatever legislation or policy is put into place. With that said, I do not agree that this action will have the desired effect of raising student achievement levels. These ratings should be used by districts as information to improve staff evaluation systems and tools. Re-evaluating and/or reforming tenure laws might raise the quality of teachers in the classroom.
Democratic 1517 Westmoreland Ave., Syracuse 13210 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.commoncentsforschools.com Profession: Public health compliance officer Education: MPA, Syracuse University; BA, Columbia University
Disagree. There is a difference between supporting consistent, meaningful and measurable performance indicators to help inform and improve the professional development of teachers (and ultimately student outcomes) and recommending that a yet-to-be articulated, let alone perfected, system of evaluation be immediately released to the public. Parents have a right to know about teacher performance, and schools should make teacher evaluations available to key stakeholders, but in context and with the goal of constructive dialogue.
Democratic 121 Crawford Ave., Syracuse 13210 email@example.com; www.steveswift.net Profession: Business owner Education: BS, SUNY Buffalo
I have serious concerns about public release of teacher evaluations in their current form. The evaluation process is fundamentally flawed and needs to be completely revamped. There needs to be a collaborative effort to construct a viable evaluation tool. Care needs to be taken to assure the data used to judge teachers, which among other things needs to be considered the demographics of the various school districts, is fair and equitable. In the present form this tainted information will only further isolate our teachers and prevent the collaborative effort within our communities so needed to solve our problems.
Edward J. McLaughlin
Republican 460 N. Franklin St., Syracuse 13204 firstname.lastname@example.org. Profession: Retired; currently a part-time bus driver, Westhill Central School District Education: High school graduate
The results of the public school teachers' evaluations is public information. With some effort anyone can get it if they want it. The issue is whether it should be broadcast publicly in the media. A concern that I have is that just evaluations without any background as to who the evaluators are and how the evaluation process worked procedurally leaves statistics devoid of any meaning.
Consider the evaluation having pilot status, at least for the first year. Look at the negatives and positives. Improve the evaluation process and then make a decision if making the evaluation public is warranted. Then there is the cost factor/no state or federal funds, grants, etc. In essence this will become another bloated subdivision in the state Education Department.
Democratic, Working Families 1615 Euclid Ave, Syracuse 13224 email@example.com; www.maxforourschools.org Profession: Geographer Education: MA, George Washington University; BS, University of Idaho
A transparent government, and by extension school district, should always be our goal. That being said, this is a new and unproven evaluation system and until we are sure that these scores accurately reflect a teacher's performance then releasing them may be counterproductive. I would support releasing the scores once we are sure that they are truly representative of teacher performance or we are mandated to by the state.
William H. Bullen
Democratic 239 Scottholm Terrace, Syracuse 13224 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.billbullen.com Profession: Sales and marketing executive Education: BS, Krannert School of Management, Purdue University
Publishing limited assessments for broad purposes such as teacher ratings is irresponsible. The state Education Department assessment is not an accurate measure of teacher performance. Publishing the new composite assessments before we can ensure equity and prior to a thorough peer review (i.e. multiple years of data) is a flawed process and may undermine our efforts to create a positive and collaborative culture that prepares our students for the future.
Did not respond.
C ity Court Judge
What would (or do) you bring to the bench that sets you apart from other City Court judicial candidates?
Rory A. McMahon
Democratic, Republican and Working Families 117 Richard Road, Syracuse 13215 email@example.com Profession: City Court Judge Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, SUNY Plattsburgh
Perspective and experience. I am the only candidate who has been a judge, a prosecutor and a defense attorney. As a result, I recognize the importance of balancing justice with fairness and compassion. As a lifelong resident of the city of Syracuse, I also understand the uniqueness of this community. As the father of three young children, I want to do whatever I can to ensure that Syracuse remains a wonderful place to live.
Karen M. Uplinger
Democratic, Working Families, Independence, Veterans P.O. Box 369, East Syracuse 13057 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Judge. Education: JD, College of William and Mary, Marshall Wythe School of Law; BA, University of Kansas
Experience. I am the only candidate who has served 10 years on the bench. I practiced law in Syracuse for 25 years, criminal and civil, the same cases that come before the court each day. Further, as a common councilor for eight years, I dealt with the Syracuse Housing Code and helped to write our local laws.
Republican, Conservative and Veterans 118 Remington Ave. Apt. K, Syracuse 13210 email@example.com; www.lavalasforcitycourtjudge.com Profession: Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney Education: JD, Syracuse University College of Law; BA, SUNY Albany
I believe my 12 years of prosecuting thousands of cases involving diverse groups of people, coupled with my personal background as a black and Hispanic female, affords me a unique perspective that would aid me in the thoughtful adjudication of the matters that would come before me as a City Court judge. As a prosecutor, I have been thoughtful, deliberate, firm but fair. I will continue to exhibit these qualities as judge. I have firsthand experience with making decisions that affect people's lives in a tangible and significant way. I aspire to have an even greater impact as a Syracuse City Court judge.
In recent years there has been friction between the mayor and city auditor. What would you do to improve this relationship?
Martin D. Masterpole
Democratic, Working Families 344 Coleridge Ave., Syracuse 13204 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.masterpoleforauditor.com Profession: Partner, Masterpole-Murphy Agency Education: BS, SUNY Oswego; AAS, Onondaga Community College
I have already been accused of being too close to the mayor and therefore this question might be moot. However, having served on the Common Council with Mayor Stephanie Miner, we already have had numerous occasions where we have disagreed on various issues yet remained respectful of each other's opinions and advanced good government.
As city auditor, I will remain an independent entity providing a check-and-balance on the City Council, School Board and mayor. When I believe that the taxpayers of the city of Syracuse are at risk, I will use the powers given to me by the Charter of the City of Syracuse to communicate to the citizenry that said "friction" is coming at a cost to the taxpayers.
Republican, Independence, Conservative, Veterans 318 Sedgwick Drive, Syracuse 13203 email@example.com; www.steveforsyracuse.com Profession: Lawyer and Media Consultant Education: BA, Princeton University; JD, Cornell University Law School
To improve the auditor/mayor relationship, I would initiate an open dialogue on all issues of importance to the city with the mayor. Before issues became matters of public discord, I would seek to proactively resolve them with the mayor.
Syracacuse Common Council
Controversy over Mayor Stephanie Miner's decision to close the Ida Benderson Center has drawn concern from both senior citizens and Common Councilors. What do you think is the solution to provide these services for needy citizens in the city?
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 2225 James St., Syracuse 13206 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kathleenjoy.org Profession: Attorney Education: JD, Capital University Law School; BS, Allegheny College
This center should not have closed. I proposed an alternative: renegotiate the rent and apply the savings toward senior programs. We called for a needs assessment. Seniors simply wanted a social center to gather with friends. They never demanded additional services. I recognize that difficult fiscal decisions must be made, but services must match the need. Society is judged by how we treat our most vulnerable. I will fight to keep other senior centers open.
Democratic, Working Family Party 241 Hall Ave, Syracuse 13205 email@example.com; www.helenforsyracuse.com Profession: Labor liaison, United Way of Central New York Education: Industrial Labor Relations Certificate, Cornell University
It is difficult to make an informed opinion without knowing all the specific details and inside information around the closing of the Ida Benderson Center. I do know how vital services are to our community because of my years working with populations in need and I believe accessibility is key. Collaboration between the Common Council, Office of Aging and nonprofits would offer the best solution to guarantee needy citizens have access to these services
Republican, Independence, Conservative, Veterans 165 Chatham Road, Syracuse 13203 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Business owner, JD Rotondo Accounting Services Education: BA, Syracuse University
The mayor and the Common Council should work together to create more transparency. Then the council and the administration of the Ida Benderson Center would have known in June of the mayor's agenda, not one month prior to the closing of the facility. They could have all worked together to explore alternate funding to keep the center open and not force the seniors to go to the Salvation Army.
Conservative, Republican 614 Carbon St., Syracuse 13207 email@example.com; www.abettersyracuse.com Profession: HVAC technician, instructor Education: AAS Equivalent
I believe the money issue in this instance is bogus. The mayor has passed up many occasions to save money for the city taxpayers. I was the only voice that spoke out against the inclusion of $6 million in overtime at the last budget hearing. She, along with Bill Ryan, gave a Christmas present to the Chamber of Commerce of $250,000, and $60,000 for the senior citizens is a problem?
Matthew J. Rayo
Republican, Independence, Conservative 15 Brattle Road, Syracuse 13203 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mattrayo.com Profession: Partner in a biodiesel firm, property management/maintenance, restaurant worker Education: BS, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
The mayor and the Salvation Army did not discuss the decision to close Ida Benderson with the Common Council, the seniors or the public until after the decision was announced. If everyone had been involved from the beginning, it is possible that the stakeholders may have come to the same conclusion as the mayor,
or may have been able to come up with an alternative solution. Because the decision to close Ida had already been made, however, the council should have held a vote on providing funding to the Salvation Army to support the transition.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 238 Brattle Road, Syracuse 13203 email@example.com Profession: Program manager, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County Education: BS/BA, Georgetown University
Populations served at the Ida Benderson Center have a sound and appealing alternative. The Salvation Army has a history of providing high-quality care. As the substitute, their Adult Day Services program is located just four blocks south. In terms of pure logistical advantages, the replacement Salvation Army site is far closer in proximity for the pending Centro bus depot. This new hub for the Centro's fixed bus routes will serve senior riders far better.
Democratic, Independence and Working Families 212 Bryant Ave., Syracuse 13204 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Teaching Assistant, School Based Intervention Team Education: AAS, Onondaga Community College
The mayor's decision was made without consultation with the Common Council. The entire council opposed it and offered alternative solutions that were rejected by the administration. The council is fully aware of the financial crisis that faces the city and imperils its future. While services and programs may have to be cut to keep the city solvent I will work to make sure the cuts don't fall unduly on the residents that can least afford it: the poor and elderly. In addition, in realizing that the federal and state governments will in all probability have to cut aid to the city, it is incumbent on us to find ways to grow city tax revenue. This is the reason we have proposed the change in the city charter to give the Common Council more control in zoning decisions. Decisions in the past have in many cases been consistently and persistently obstructionist to new businesses. Businesses that are unfettered by arcane rules and regulations will expand our tax base and give us both additional property tax revenue and sales tax allowing us to grow as a city.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 120 Edna Road, Syracuse 13205 email@example.com Profession: Retired Education: BA, Texas Christian University
My response to the Ida Benderson Center situation is not going to be popular, but unfortunately these tough economic times will call for many unpopular decisions. I have had personal experience with both the Ida Benderson Center and the Adult Day Services at the Salvation Army. I have found the comprehensive services at the Salvation Army to be excellent and far superior to the drop-in nature of Ida Benderson. With the Centro hub being relocated, it makes sense for this service to be closer to the bus lines. I understand that change is hard and believe that as much as possible should be done to ease this transition. Although I believe the city's solution was correct, I believe this situation could have been handled more expeditiously with better communication.
Republican, Independence 207 Edna Road, Syracuse 13205 firstname.lastname@example.org Profession: Retired
Where we have a situation having multiple needs where a single solution is required, I have found that by canvassing other communities within this state and utilizing their knowledge on how best they have satisfied their seniors' needs and concerns, we can develop a long-term plan. I would then set up a small committee of seniors to build a plan, hopefully with one or two alternates. Once this has been accomplished, funding and location will have to be determined. I believe by addressing this need in this manner, we will accomplish a long-term solution.
Democratic, Working Families 217 W. Kennedy St., Syracuse 13205 email@example.com; www.khalidforsyracuse.com Profession: Small business owner; author; public speaker Education: BS, Virginia State University
Once finance became a major issue, moving the program to "its own" location should have been considered (if it hadn't). I agree that $120,000 annually is too much for the space the center occupied, especially considering the state of the economy, but I do believe remedy can (still) be provided by considering the aforementioned. Government has to be willing to compromise in an effort to reduce "casualties," assuring that constituent services are ever No. 1 on its list.
Green P.O. Box 562, Syracuse firstname.lastname@example.org
Reinstate funding for the Ida Benderson Center to help meet the needs of our growing population of seniors. It is a matter of priorities. The city didn't need to spend $377,000 bailing out the Chamber of Commerce's delinquent National Grid bill. The city's fiscal crisis is not due to spending on needed public services. It is due to tax cuts for the rich. Progressive tax reform and revenue sharing, state and local can resolve the fiscal crisis.
Democratic, Working Families, Veterans 1702 Euclid Ave., Syracuse 13224 email@example.com Education; MS, Rochester Institute of Technology; BA, SUNY Oswego
Encourage my fellow colleagues to be proactive and create a public/private ad hoc task force of volunteers to partner with the Community of Caring Coalition to:
1. Determine the need of all needy citizens
2. What are the costs associated?
3. Set a timeline for a report to be drafted/completed.
W. Bruce McDaniels
Did not respond.