The Green Party of Onondaga County designated three candidates at its county convention on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at the Peace and Social Justice Center at 2013 East Genesee Street in Syracuse.
For Commissioner of Education, the Greens designated Raymond Blackwell. Blackwell is a 2007 graduate of Fowler High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Long Island University in 2013 and a master’s degree in the Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University in 2015.
“I want to build bridges of trust and cooperation between the parents and teachers of the Syracuse schools,” Blackwell said. “I want to help us all work together to address the root causes of our struggling schools in poverty and underfunding that are concentrated by race and class segregation. To save city schools, we must desegregate and fully fund them.”
For 2nd District Councilor, the Greens designated Frank Cetera. Cetera is a certified NY State Small Business Advisor with an office in the district on North Salina St. and a community activist on the Near Westside working with The Westside Residents Coalition, TNT Westside, and urban gardening and landscaping projects as Founder of the Alchemical Nursery.
“My campaign will focus on three themes: safe streets, living wages, and civic engagement,” Cetera said. “Safe streets includes traffic calming, pedestrian and bike infrastructure, snow management, dog droppings, and protection from the explosive oil trains traversing our district. To address the high poverty in the 2nd District, the living wage ordinance should be expanded to cover more city workers and city contractors, as well as development of businesses that pay living wages. My campaign will focus on increasing the low level of voting and civic engagement in the 2nd District we will need to win these changes.”
Howie Hawkins was designated by the Greens to run for City Auditor. Hawkins is a Teamster who unloads trucks at night at UPS and has run many times for public office, most recently as the 2014 Green candidate for New York Governor.
“The main issue in the auditor’s race is simple. Marty Masterpole hasn’t done the job. Howie Hawkins will,” Hawkins said. “Masterpole has failed to fulfill his responsibilities as auditor under the city charter and city budget. His four-person staff is not producing. This race will be a voters’ audit of the City Auditor.”
Hawkins added that if elected, “I will not only fulfill the minimum financial and performance audits expected by the charter and budget. I will bring in best practices from other governments.” Hawkins said that such practices would include environmental audits, tracking economic indicators of public welfare and sustainability, and instituting a Syracuse version of New York City’s online “Checkbook NYC” transparency tool that tracks the budget, revenue, spending, payroll, and contracts, including minority and women’s business enterprise contracts, in real time.