In The Media

December 28, 2017

CounterPunch: What is the Green Party Missing?

However, due to a structural issue that was built into the national party from the start, it is simply impossible to get things like that praxis or dues implemented nationwide without a serious restructuring of the national bylaws. In effect, the Green Value of de-centralization, which would have a lot of merit if utilized in a legislative setting, is used as a smokescreen and cover for the worst kind of liberal flakiness imaginable. Liberals furthermore resort to the slimiest kind of mudslinging when they are challenged for control of their Green sandbox, accusing those in favor of dues of wanting to implement a poll tax. Such a claim is absurd because a dues-based membership organization is absolutely different from registering to vote in a primary with your respective state. How such conflation can take place is beyond my understanding.

Right now people working to make the Greens relevant to progressive politics are operating on the state-by-state basis. Bruce Dixon and Ajamu Baraka have been advocating for changes with this same approach for a while now and Howie Hawkins has been since before the 2000 Nader campaign.


December 11, 2017

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Walsh meets residents, selects transition team, hires chief of staff

Walsh has selected a transition team that he said will address some of the greatest areas of need in Syracuse.

That team includes some of Walsh's mayoral opponents in the past election like former-Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and former-Democratic candidates Alfonso Davis and Chris Fowler.


December 6, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Crowded Syracuse mayor's race was most expensive in history at $1.3M

The two frontrunners -- Ben Walsh and Juanita Perez Williams -- led spending with a combined $887,000.

Republican Laura Lavine spent at least $105,000 (her campaign has not filed its final campaign finance report, which was due Monday) and Green Howie Hawkins spent about $29,000.

Another five Democrats, including primary candidates Joe Nicoletti and Marty Masterpole, spent about $308,000 throughout the year in runs for mayor.

At one point, there were as many as 10 people running for mayor, including six Democrats. The race ultimately came down to Walsh and Perez Williams. A poll released two days before the election showed them neck and neck.

The huge field of candidates and the close nature of the race led to money pouring in from Syracuse's business owners, its political class and donors from out of town and out of state.

Both Walsh and Perez Williams spent nearly everything they'd raised in the final weeks of the election.

Walsh raised $521,451 throughout the year and spent $514,226. Perez Williams raised $363,620 and spent all but $19.


December 4, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Former presidential candidate Jill Stein chipped in for Syracuse mayoral race

Stein cut a check to Howie Hawkins' campaign for $250 on Nov. 5, two days before the election, according to Hawkins' recently filed campaign contribution report.

Hawkins, running on the Green Party line, came in third in the election on Nov. 7.

Stein was one of about two dozen donors to contribute $100 or more to Hawkins' campaign in its final weeks. Most of Hawkins' donors gave small amounts: $30 here, $50 there. He got some donations for $5 or $10.

In all, Hawkins raised $31,809.75, including $17,250 in loans from himself. He made a point that he would not take money from any for-profit or corporate interests (though it's not clear if any such organizations offered).

Hawkins was largely outspent by his better-funded opponents. Ben Walsh, who won the election, raised more than $350,000.


November 28, 2017

CNYCentral (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Howie Hawkins included in Mayor-elect Walsh's transition team

The transition team also includes Walsh's former rival Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins who will serve on the finance committee.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Walsh unveils full 86-person transition team, including 4 former opponents

It includes four of his former opponents for mayor: Howie Hawkins, Alfonso Davis, Chris Fowler and Raymond Blackwell. 


November 20, 2017

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Hawkins on Walsh: 'He ran the campaign I should have run'

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Green Party members Howie Hawkins (right) and Frank Cetera earlier this year.
TOM MAGNARELLI /  WRVO NEWS FILE PHOTO

Hawkins said if he had more time, he would have done what Walsh did and talk with community leaders about why his platform made the most sense.

"He ran the campaign I should have ran, in terms of emphasizing that independent," Hawkins said. "His independence is different that ours. He is independent of the two party lines, and ours is independent of the moneyed special interests. His branding that way was successful, people bought into it."

Hawkins said Walsh was able to build a diverse coalition, but he also said that alliance has contradictions within it.

“The conservative business leaders and the working class people have different interests," Hawkins said. "He may try to balance it out, give some to one side, give some to the other, but he’s going to have difficulty keeping that coalition together."


November 16, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Indigenous Peoples' Day, bully pulpit and more ideas from mayor-elect's first 'town hall'

Indigenous Peoples' Day. Changes to the Syracuse Police Department. The "bully pulpit" of the mayor's office.

Those were among the ideas Mayor-elect Ben Walsh discussed tonight at his first large-scale, "town hall"-style meeting since last week's election.

The meeting, held at the Bishop Harrison Diocesan Center on Lancaster Avenue, was hosted by the Central New York Solidarity Coalition. More than 100 people attended.

The left-leaning CNY Solidarity Coalition formed the day after President Donald Trump was elected....

The group's healthcare committee spelled out its support of the New York Health Act, a proposal to provide Medicare for all New Yorkers.

One member pointed to an analysis by Green Party candidate for mayor Howie Hawkins, who said the bill, if enacted, could save City Hall $42 million a year.

November 15, 2017

Syracuse New Times: Anti-Political Party Fervor Finds Its Way To Syracuse

In the end, Walsh won enough traditional Republican voters that the actual Republican nominee finished dead last — even behind Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins — the first time something like that has happened in a Syracuse mayoral race in 60 years.


November 14, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Hawkins: 'It was a privilege' to be part of Syracuse mayoral campaign (Your letters)

To the Editor:

Thank you to the many community, civic and media organizations that sponsored seven broadcast debates - four on TV, two on radio, one on social media - and more than 20 other community forums in the last month of the election. All of us in the "Final Four" had a full and fair hearing. The other three mayoral candidates were the most articulate, qualified and capable field of candidates I've ever run against at any level. It was a privilege to be part of it.

Thank you to those who voted Green. It reinforced the widespread positive reaction to our policy platform that we have heard pre- and post-election. Now it's time to organize to get some of those proposals adopted.

Congratulations to Ben Walsh. He built a broad and unlikely coalition that ranged from the conservative business donors to black and progressive community leaders. It was clear to me from talking to voters as the election approached that Walsh was winning over those undecided or weakly leaning toward other candidates. Those voters said that he would be open and responsive to their concerns and had the connections to get things done. I hope they were right and wish him the best as mayor.

Although I don't think the voters' choices hinged so much on policy, I am concerned that 96 percent of the voters chose candidates who advocated hiring more expensive police officers as the city spirals down toward fiscal insolvency without proposing progressive tax reforms to significantly increase revenues. Something there has to give.

I have received many messages since the election urging me to stay active on the issues I raised. I will.

Howie Hawkins
Syracuse


November 10, 2017

Urban CNY: Howie Hawkins and the Green Party - Winning by Losing

In this city-wide election, the Green Party took another giant step towards establishing them as another alternative. Howie Hawkins was commended by the Mayor Elect, by recognizing his ability to bring issues to the table and articulate them, on behalf of others. It was a sincere homage to a man, who’s transformed Syracuse politics with his multiple issue-driven campaigns. Hawkins moved from sitting in the hot July sun collecting thousands of signatures, to a political force, whose issues are on the lips of many.


November 9, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Read text of Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh's victory speech (Video)

Howie Hawkins is the very embodiment of a community activist. He is among the most well-read and knowledgeable leaders in our city and he speaks openly about issues of race, segregation and inequality with a directness that is necessary if we are to confront the very real challenges facing our city. Thank you, Howie.

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): What does Walsh's win mean for party politics in Syracuse?

Syracuse independent Mayor-elect Ben Walsh’s decisive win on Tuesday could be seen as an opening for more independent candidates to successfully run for office in the future.

For Walsh to have won, several factors had to come into play according to Grant Reeher, professor of political science at Syracuse University and Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Walsh had name recognition, coming from a family of former Republican elected officials. Reeher said it was a paradox of Walsh’s campaign....

Reeher said Democratic elites were not excited about their candidate Juanita Perez Williams, which hurt her in fundraising and voter mobilization. Republicans abandoned their candidate, Laura Lavine, most likely for Walsh. And Reeher said Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins’ progressive platform took away a little support from Perez Williams.


November 8, 2017

Spectrum News: Ben Walsh wins decisive victory in Syracuse mayoral race

With 100 percent districts reporting, Walsh won 54.4 percent of the vote compared to Perez Williams' 38.1 percent. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins pulled in 4.1 percent, Republican Laura Levine grabbed 2.5 percent of votes and Joe Nicoletti picked up 1 percent....

Hawkins came in a distant third, with 4 percent of the vote. He thanked his supporters and wished the other candidates well, saying he hopes to work with them in the future. 

Hawkins said although he didn't win, he feels he raised real solutions to the city's problems. 

"The election is one day in the political process and the vote is sort of a marking point," he said. "But the discussion and the organizing and the whole process continues. You know, tomorrow is another day and we'll keep working on these issues." 

Hawkins said he may run for governor in 2018. 

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse's next mayor: Ben Walsh - "A Grand Experiment" (print edition)

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins had 4 percent of the vote, making him a second minor-party candidate in 60 years to earn more votes than a major party candidate. Republican Laura Lavine won less than 3 percent of the vote.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Ben Walsh elected Syracuse mayor

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins had 4 percent of the vote. He and Walsh became the first minor-party candidates in 60 years to earn more votes than a major party candidate. Republican Laura Lavine won less than 3 percent of the vote.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Who won, who lost in 2017 Syracuse elections?

Winners...

Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for mayor, added another loss to his already-long list, but managed to defeat Republican Laura Lavine, a major-party candidate, by nearly 400 votes.

Hawkins also earned a shout-out from mayor-elect Ben Walsh during his victory speech that garnered loud cheers from the crowd at the Hotel Syracuse...

Losers...

Voter turnout

Despite a fierce, highly-publicized mayoral race, turnout in this year's election lagged.

So far, officials have tallied 24,174 votes. More than 1,000 absentee ballots have also been received, so the total will go up.

That's around the same number of votes cast in 2009, when Miner was first elected. At the time, it was the lowest turnout in the history of the city. The record for lowest turnout was four years ago, when Miner was re-elected.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Ben Walsh: If you want to see Syracuse move forward, my doors are wide open

Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh on Wednesday promised to begin building a broad coalition that has room for anyone - including any former opponent - who wants to move the city forward.

On the morning after his historic victory as Syracuse's first independent mayor in more than 100 years, Walsh said he wants to work with Democrats, Republicans and perennial Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins....

Role for Howie Hawkins in grand experiment

Asked if there's any role Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins could play in his administration, Walsh said, "It's something I would absolutely love to talk to him about, and I told him that last night...I have an immense amount of respect for Howie."

Walsh said Hawkins may not necessarily be asked to serve in his administration, but he made it clear the longtime Syracuse activist is someone he respects and whose opinion he values.

"Standing next to him and sitting next to him over the course of this campaign, and hearing him, his intelligence, his passion, his conviction, were really inspiring," Walsh said. "As I said to him last night, I have his number and I plan to use it."

Syracuse Post-Standard: Sometimes nice guys finish first: 4 takeaways from Syracuse mayoral election (Editorial)

3. Walsh ought to give Howie Hawkins a seat at the table.

The mayor-elect went out of his way Tuesday night to compliment Hawkins for his ideas, clarity of thought and plain speaking about racism and segregation. The Green Party candidate relishes being an outsider - perennially running for offices he cannot win - and so may be reluctant to become an insider in a Walsh administration. He'd be great in a "kitchen cabinet" of informal advisers.

WSYR-TV (ABC): Howie Hawkins says 'vote for what you want'

Video story

WSYR-TV (ABC): Howie Hawkins proud of his campaign

Video story


November 7, 2017

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Howie Hawkins' persistent, all-encompassing platform is what will save Syracuse

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With the country’s highest level of poverty concentration among blacks and Hispanics, an above-average high school dropout rate and a massive load of debt, Syracuse is in a state of disarray. Among the city’s mayoral candidates, only Howie Hawkins has the radical, progressive solutions to correct the unfair treatment many Syracuse residents face.

The race’s other candidates — Republican Laura Lavine, Democrat Juanita Perez Williams and independent Ben Walsh — have only presented mainstream solutions to these longstanding problems.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Will competitive 2017 Syracuse mayor's race lift voter turnout?

Population declined by about 34 percent from 1950 to 2013 while the total number of votes for mayor declined by about 82 percent....

This year's ballot has five candidates for an open seat. Ben Walsh, who is running on the Reform and Independence party lines, is in a dead heat with Democrat Juanita Perez Williams. Republican Laura Lavine, Green Howie Hawkins and Joe Nicoletti, who lost the Democratic primary, are also on the ballot.

Auburn Citizen: Critics slam tax reform plan as Trump administration official visits Syracuse

SYRACUSE — As Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration, addressed a panel of business owners Monday inside the Tech Garden, an estimated 150 people gathered outside to protest the Republicans' tax reform plan. 

The rally, organized by the CNY Solidarity Coalition, derided the tax reform bill as a giveaway to the wealthiest Americans. The speakers included at least two Syracuse mayoral candidates — Democratic nominee Juanita Perez Williams and Green Party standard-bearer Howie Hawkins. 

"Instead of dealing with the tax plan, Congress should be impeaching Donald Trump," Hawkins said. The crowd roared. 


November 6, 2017

WSYR Radio: Howie Hawkins - Green Party Mayoral Candidate - Final Pitch

5 minute interview

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse mayoral candidate Hawkins defends income tax proposal (Your letters)

Your editorial, "Ben Walsh for Mayor" (Nov. 5, 2017), claims that my proposal for a progressive city income tax "would be a disaster, driving employers who could move or expand elsewhere to do so."

I am not proposing a business income tax. I am proposing personal tax on individuals who earn income in the city, whether they are residents or commuters.

Personal income taxes do not appear on a business's profit and loss statement. They do not affect a business's bottom line.

...If your claim of driving employers away was correct, why aren't businesses in the booming economy of New York City, with a city income tax averaging 3 percent, moving to cities like Syracuse with no income tax?

WAER (PBS, Syracuse University): Green Party has a Plan to Increase Voter Turnout During Off-Year Elections

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Green Party Mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins, center, makes his pitch for Inclusive Democracy in front of city hall. L to R, unidentified supporter, Councilor-at-Large candidate Frank Cetera, Hawkins, and 2nd District Council candidate Eric Graf.
CREDIT SCOTT WILLIS / WAER NEWS

The local elections on Tuesday aren’t expected to generate much activity at the polls, so it’s probably no surprise the Green Party has a plan to change that. They’re calling for "Inclusive Democracy" to increase turnout and civic engagement. Mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins illustrates his point.

"Did you hear there's an election Tuesday? A lot of people out here, as we knock on doors and make phone calls, they're like what? We had a presidential election last year. What's this year?"

Hawkins says that lack of awareness is exactly why fundamental reforms are needed. For example, the Greens are calling for neighborhood assemblies to better reflect the city’s smaller, natural neighborhoods. Hawkins says they’d have their own budgets and make planning decisions....

"People are always telling me if you were a Democrat or a Republican, you could be elected. Newsflash! We get more votes than the Republicans in this city. Greens are the second party. We're the opposition to the Democrats."

Hawkins says the problem is most aren’t tuned in to local news, and are getting hung up on the topic of the day in the 24 hour news cycle, and the latest nonsense on Facebook.

Syracuse Post-Standard: 3 Syracuse mayoral candidates unite against Trump, tax plan day before election

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Syracuse mayoral candidates Mayoral Candidates Howie Hawkins (left), Ben Walsh (right) and Juanita Perez Williams (not pictured) protest SBA Administrator Linda McMahon pitching the tax plan with NY legislatures Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 in front of the Tech Garden.

Hawkins called for the impeachment of Trump, saying he is in violation of the emoluments clause. He criticized the tax plan, saying it would cut $1.5 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. He expressed concern about pension plans for people like him. Hawkins will retire from his job at UPS next month, he said.

"Let's be clear about one thing: Donald Trump doesn't care about us. Especially in Upstate New York," Hawkins said. "Who does he send [us]? The administrator of the Small Business [Administration] is a billionaire from the World Wrestling Federation. If this was in a script for a movie in Hollywood, they would say this is too preposterous."

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Mayoral candidates, politicians criticize GOP tax plan during Trump cabinet member’s visit to Syracuse

Hawkins criticized Trump for sending McMahon to Syracuse.

McMahon, who donated $6 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign, was a controversial cabinet appointee. She’s a former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO and married to billionaire Vincent McMahon, a friend of Trump’s.

“Let’s be clear about one thing. Donald Trump doesn’t care about us,” Hawkins said. “I got an appointment with Social Security and Medicare because I turn 65 next month … I’ve been paying in for 51 years of working to that system. And now I’m worried I won’t get what I was promised.”

Urban CNY: Hawkins Supports Public Power, Broadband, and Sidewalks

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Syracuse, has called for a municipal power system to lower electric rates and make a rapid transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.

Hawkins also stated his support for a publicly-owned community broadband system (internet, cable TV, phone) to provide faster, lower-cost service than the corporate telecoms have.

Hawkins said the city’s sidewalks should also be municipalized, with the Department of Public Works taking responsibility for sidewalk snow removal and maintenance like it is for city streets.

“Public utilities are the public avenues of private commerce. Publicly-owned utilities will lower the cost of living and doing business in the city and improve the quality of our infrastructure,” Hawkins said....

Syracuse Post-Standard: Take a sneak peak at ballot for Syracuse mayor before Election Day

Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for mayor, can thank voters statewide for giving him enough votes for governor to have his name placed higher on the ballot for Syracuse mayor.

Hawkins won 184,419 votes in the 2014 race against Cuomo. He appears third on the mayoral ballot.


November 6, 2017

CNYcentral (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Candidates make final push for Syracuse Mayor

On the south-side, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins did not let low poll numbers stop him.

"The polls say I'm behind but if nothing else I'm gaining on them and I think we'll surprise on Tuesday with the results," Hawkins said.


November 5, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Accusations of dirty politics in final Syracuse mayoral debate: 4 takeaways

Hawkins kept out of the scrum and insisted voters are more concerned about the issues facing the city.

"This is why people don't vote, that's how that question started," he said. "Our problems are poverty...crime is too high. And we're talking about what people said about each other."

... Hawkins touted revenue sharing. The city's share of state taxes has been cut to half a percent. Simply doubling that to one percent could generate more than $80 million, he said.

Medium: Black Lives Matter Syracuse Election Guide

Howie Hawkins, Frank Cetera and Serena Rahzie Seals think that city resources could be better used on addressing the root causes of crimes and on care workers in the city.

Crime is a problem in the city of Syracuse, and neighborhoods are often stuck with a false choice: more law enforcement or more violence in their communities. The real solution is social, economic, and racial justice: hiring ordinances with teeth, real public works projects in the city, and a fully funded and culturally relevant education.

Spectrum News: Syracuse mayoral poll: Which 2 are in dead heat?

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Among the 620 likely Syracuse voters polled, 36 percent said they would vote for Walsh if the election were held today, compared to 34 percent who said they would vote for Perez Williams.

The polling took place between October 29 and November 1. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent....

Republican Laura Lavine, Joe Nicoletti – who is still on the Working Families line despite suspending his campaign – and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins are far behind the front-runners with single digits.

  • Lavine: 7 percent
  • Nicoletti: 6 percent
  • Hawkins: 5 percent

"It would take a series of Hail Marys for them to get across the finish line. This is clearly a two-person race," [pollster] Greenberg said.


November 4, 2017

WSTM-TV (CBS): Watch: CBS%'s non-nonsense discussions with the Syracuse mayoral candidates


November 3, 2017

WCNY TV (PBS): Syracuse Mayoral Debate

Candidates Juanita Perez-Williams, Laura Lavine, Howie Hawkins, and Ben Walsh join us in our studio's to debate the issues most important to Syracuse NY.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse mayoral debate: Walsh, Perez Williams spar over City Hall results

Democrat Juanita Perez Williams and Independence and Reform Party candidate Ben Walsh traded barbs over who achieved better results while in leadership roles in city government.

All four mayoral candidates -- including Republican Laura Lavine and Green Howie Hawkins -- participated in the debate, which aired on WCNY Friday night. WCNY Senior News Director Jim Aroune moderated....

The debate covered a series of other topics, including police, conflicts of interest and a potential city takeover. Hawkins outlined his plan to raise city revenue in order to avoid a fiscal control board.


November 2, 2017

Spectrum News: Syracuse Mayoral Race Roundtable

Video Story Howie Hawkins, Laura Lavine, Ben Walsh and Juanita Perez-Williams are all trying to separate themselves from the pack. And they had another chance to do so at the Thursday morning roundtable.

The discussion was moderated by Syracuse University political science professor Grant Reeher. He is a political observer, who noticed that one big topic has been missing from the conversation this election season.

"With the exception of Howie Hawkins, the other three really aren't talking about sources of revenue and taxes. So if we have a city that has the financial situation that Syracuse has, it does have a limited tax-base. But something has to be addressed there, and dealt with.  And all three of them have kind of skirted away from that. I think it's also interesting that none of them, at least in the forums I've seen and heard, have mentioned Destiny,” said Reeher.

Spectrum News: Syracuse mayoral candidate profile: Howie Hawkins

Video Story Howie Hawkins has prior runs for governor, Senate, Congress and this seat, Syracuse mayor. Those past losses haven't stopped him from going Green on the ballot again.

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Despite being underdog, Hawkins still hopeful in the race for Syracuse mayor

This is the third time Hawkins has run for mayor on the Green Party line. And he’s seeing a whole different dynamic this time around.

“I would say all the forums we did in those two campaigns combined, were less than we’ve been doing every week of the last month, and the audiences that come out are much bigger,” said Hawkins.

He believes that’s because the city has problems. A fiscal crisis, youth shootings and struggling schools, and voters are concerned. Hawkins’ answers to these issues include youth councilors on the streets instead of more police officer, and creation of a commuter tax to help dig the city out of debt.

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): DNC chair says Democrats need come together, support Perez Williams

Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins shares funds with other Green Party candidates running in the city.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Editorial endorsement: Ben Walsh for Syracuse mayor

Fiscal crisis: Averting a state control board

Syracuse's next mayor confronts a stark reality: a structural deficit that could eat up the city's rainy-day fund in the next three years, raising the specter of a state control board with the power to unilaterally slash staff and cut services. Other fiscal challenges will arise, including possible cuts to federal funding for cities and expiration of the city-county sales tax sharing agreement in 2020.

With half of city properties tax-exempt, raising taxes on the remaining property owners is not an option. The city can't organically grow tax revenue fast enough to stave off a control board. Service agreements with Syracuse University and other nonprofit entities help but aren't enough to close the budget gap.

Of all the candidates, Hawkins offers the most developed program for raising revenue - a progressive income tax for people who work in the city. That would be a disaster, driving employers who could move or expand elsewhere to do so. Perez Williams says the city has a spending problem, not a revenue problem; she would streamline services to cut costs.

Walsh would rely on data to track the performance of city services and find inefficiencies. He also intends to explore sharing more services with Onondaga County - a realistic and achievable goal. The mayor, and the people he surrounds himself with, will need to think creatively and decisively to keep the city from going broke.


November 1, 2017

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Hawkins: Bring the Erie Canal back to downtown Syracuse

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Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for mayor of Syracuse
ELLEN ABBOTT /  WRVO NEWS

Hawkins’ plan starts out with what some of the other candidates want: Interstate 81 replaced by a street-level boulevard, also known as the community grid option. After that Hawkins’ plan expands with that community grid joining two other civic and environmental corridors that would crisscross the city. The first one returns Onondaga Creek to its more natural course, complete with hydropower and biological sewage treatment facilities along the way, as well as other waterfront development.

His most ambitious idea?

“Bring the Erie Canal back from the Inner Harbor through downtown and out Erie Boulevard,” he said.

Syracuse New Times: Green Pastures

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Michael Davis Photo

Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins remembers something about each of the 22 campaigns he has run, from district councilor to governor. Since 1993, his efforts have been to raise and disseminate information about issues from economic justice to environmental reform. As his vote grew over the past decade, they have also been about winning in the local races.

This time he says calmly, “I could win this one.” Given the five-candidate general election, the 35 percent to 48 percent he has received in his last four local races, including 4th District councilor and city auditor, makes him a contender.

WAER (PBS, Syracuse University): "Outrage" Over National Politics Drives Democrats and Greens to Field Larger Slates of Candidates

But the Greens have outperformed expectations in the past.  In 2011, Howie Hawkins won 48 percent of the vote in the 4th District in his run for Syracuse Common Council. Their slate this year includes Hawkins for mayor, along with Frank Cetera for councilor at large.  Eric Graf and Serena Seals are seeking the second and fourth council districts respectively.  Election day is Tuesday, November 7th. 

CNYcentral (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Who donated to campaigns for Syracuse mayoral candidates?

Since announcing their campaigns:

Independent Ben Walsh has raised $440,036.26
Democrat Juanita Perez-Williams raised $256,256.88
Republican Laura Lavine raised $115,136.00
Green party candidate Howie Hawkins raised $9,967.75

...Hawkins received $1,000 from Solidarity, a Michigan-based organization.


October 31, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Let's bring back the Erie Canal: 5 policies Howie Hawkins proposes to fix Syracuse

Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins wants to radically re-imagine both Syracuse's physical layout and its social systems.

"We need to take bold urban design initiatives to boost Syracuse out of its economic doldrums," he said. "Syracuse can't be Everywhere USA and expect it to attract people and business any better than any other conventionally designed city."

Hawkins, who is making his third run for mayor, has proposed a slate of novel policies designed to nearly double the city's revenues and establish several large municipal authorities, similar to the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority.

His plans would broaden the role and the reach of government and, if effective, increase the Syracuse tax base.

Hawkins likes to point to successes in cities more progressive than Syracuse, frequently citing Richmond, California, which has a Green mayor. Here's a look at five policy proposals that he thinks would help fix Syracuse....


October 30, 2017

WSTM-TV (NBC): Watch: Full NBC3 Syracuse Mayoral Debate

WSTM-TV (NBC): Infrastructure, city spending the foundation for other issues at Syracuse mayoral debate

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said the city should build civic and environmental highways, and that he likes the idea of rebuilding the corridor around Onondaga Creek as a basis for rebuilding the south side.

"We need a public power utility so we have the power to choose 100 percent clean energy," Hawkins said....

"I want a graduated local income tax, not just on residents, but on commuters and absentee landlords who use all the city services but don't pay for them," Hawkins said.

WTVH-TV (CBS): Candidates for Mayor of Syracuse debate: Matt's Memo

I asked this question "Over the last 50 years Syracuse has had six mayors - which one would you rank as the best and what approach or policy would you borrow from him or her to improve your administration?" 

...Howie Hawkins never named his choice, but he told the story of another community organizing minor party candidate who lasted just two years in Syracuse City Hall before the big party bosses prevented his reelection....

The way each candidate wrapped up their appearance speaks to their level of confidence as to how Election Night is likely to turn out....Howie Hawkins asked for votes, but also spent time pitching his fellow Green Party candidates on the Syracuse city ticket.

WSYR-TV (ABC): On The Trail with Howie Hawkins

Video story

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Syracuse mayoral candidates discuss climate and energy policies at SUNY-ESF

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Crystal Fang | Contributing Photographer

Candidates discussed environmental and energy issues facing Syracuse, along with Interstate-81, the city-county merger proposal and poverty in the city.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, said the city needs to implement a public power utility so Syracuse has the “power to choose 100 percent clean energy.”

“I don’t think we’re going far enough,” Hawkins said, referring to the city’s energy and environmental policies.

He added he would support rebuilding the Onondaga Creek corridor and put agriculture in the area.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Still Moving Forward: Following Howie Hawkins’ canvassing campaign across the city’s South Side

His life doesn’t solely revolve around politics, though. Hawkins unloads UPS trucks at night to help pay bills. He’s a secretary and treasurer at the Eat to Live Food Cooperative, a community-owned grocery store on the South Side.

Brandi Woolridge, general manager of the co-op, said Hawkins, “definitely puts his hands to the plow.”

She said Hawkins has a well-informed idea of middle- and lower-class Syracuse residents. He has a better understanding than any other candidate, she said.

“When he’s not running for an election for something, he’s out there doing something,” Seals said.

Syracuse Post-Standard: How will the next Syracuse mayor fund Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today?

Howie Hawkins

I would increase funding for TNT and bring it back into the structure, process, and budget of city government from its recent exile into a separate non-profit with uncertain funding.

Most TNT sectors are too big and arbitrary, encompassing several different real neighborhoods that people have names for and identify with. I propose 20 to 25 humanly-scaled Neighborhood Assemblies in our actual neighborhoods that, like New England Town Meetings, are direct democracies with a voice and vote for every resident.

The Neighborhood Assemblies would engage in community planning and participatory budgeting of funds allocated from the city budget for neighborhood improvements, services, and social and cultural activities. City staff would help the assemblies organize and publicize their meetings, decisions, and activities. City departments would consult with and respond to the assemblies on service delivery.

A Council of Neighborhood Assemblies composed of representatives elected and instructed by each assembly would express the positions taken by the people in their assemblies on city budgets and policies to common council and the mayor. The assemblies and their council could also send resolutions to county, state, or federal representatives about any issue that concerns them.

Building this grassroots self-government into the city's governing process will institutionalize civic engagement and education. It will harness workaday people's energy, creativity and detailed local knowledge of their neighborhoods. It will turn around the widespread sense of powerlessness that says "you can't fight city hall and it's foolish to try." Voter turnout will increase along with city government responsiveness.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Trio of TV debates coming up this week in Syracuse mayor's race

The area's network stations will air debates on Monday, Friday and next Sunday.

There are four candidates participating in the debates: Democrat Juanita Perez Williams, Republican Laura Lavine, Green Howie Hawkins and Ben Walsh, who is not affiliated with a party and is running on three ballot lines...

Earlier this month, Syracuse.com hosted a mayoral debate live on its website. Spectrum News also hosted a debate.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Democratic National Committee investing time, money into Syracuse mayor's race

The Democratic Party's national leadership is taking an active role in the tight race for Syracuse mayor, steering money, time and resources toward the Democratic candidate this week.

The Democratic National Committee today will announce it is investing money in Juanita Perez Williams' campaign....

Perez Williams had $49,500 in her campaign account as of Oct. 27, the latest deadline for filing a financial disclosure with the state Board of Elections.

Walsh had $134,000 on hand. Republican Laura Lavine had $9,600. Green Howie Hawkins had $2,700.


October 27, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Hawkins is true progressive in race for Syracuse mayor (Your letters)

Hawkins calls for tax reforms to save our city from insolvency and state takeover; and he proposes smart spending plans for both the short and long term to make Syracuse a more prosperous place to live and work. Hawkins' presence in the race has forced the other candidates to talk about their plans for generating revenue to avoid the aforementioned fiscal crisis. Unfortunately, they come up short -- raising either too little or taking too long to raise enough....

WAER (PBS, Syracuse University): Syracuse Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sustainability in Debate at City Hall Commons

Mayoral_Panel_on_Sustainability__10.27.17.jpg

Left to Right: Independent candidate Ben Walsh, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, Democratic candidate Juanita Perez Williams and Republican Candidate Laura Lavine at the debate in Syracuse City Hall Commons
CREDIT LEO TULLY / WAER NEWS

The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins is never short of ideas, all of them progressive and some might say a bit radical.  So it might seem the Consensus Commission’s sweeping new recommendations for modernizing local government would fit his agenda.  But Hawkins has mixed reviews…

“Because if we keep the winner take all single member district system of electing our county or metro officials, which is what the consensus proposes, just like the county legislature, city interests will get steamrolled as they are in the county legislature now. So I think we should look at some of those shared services. The property tax sharing plan is good. Water consolidation would help with our infrastructure. The IDAs are obvious because now the developers are playing one off against the other and the city’s losing out.”

Audio recording of the debate


October 26, 2017

Spectrum News: Mayoral candidates assess Miner tenure

Video Story

Focused on finances, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and fellow Democrat Juanita Perez Williams says Miner kept an important status quo.

"I would give her credit for maintaining really the ability to keep us in the black," Perez Williams said.

"She prevented us from going bankrupt; I give her credit for that," Hawkins said.

But Hawkins and Perez Williams now want the city to do more, partly by working with others. Hawkins graded her tenure a D.

"I think she went the austerity route rather than seeking the funding that we need from the state or for progressive tax reform locally like I've called for," he said.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Syracuse teachers union, after 3 interviews, endorses no mayoral candidate

During STA interviews, other candidates discussed their views on charter schools, the possibility of a state constitutional convention, high stakes testing and safety, Hawkins said.

Hawkins, while on the campaign trail, has said he supports a constitutional convention, which would change New York state’s constitution. The STA is opposed to a convention, though, he said.

“We should go to the constitutional convention to strengthen our political, social, labor, civil rights and our environmental protection,” Hawkins said. “The people are ahead of the politicians on this.”

The Green Party candidate knew he would not be endorsed by the STA, he said, but was surprised none of the other candidates received support.


October 25, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Howie Hawkins answers questions about his Syracuse mayoral candidacy

Video of a live question-and-answer session with a Syracuse.com reporter. 

Urban CNY: Cover Page

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Urban CNY: Green Candidate Howie Hawkins Presents His Vision for a Sustainable Syracuse

Speaking from the top floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel overlooking the I-81 corridor and the rest of Syracuse beyond, and surrounded by vision maps and drawings of what a “Sustainable Syracuse” could be, Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins presented his ideas for “rebuilding Syracuse green” on Tuesday.

“Rebuilding the I-81 corridor as a community grid, with a mixed-income, mixed-use, walkable neighborhood that is serviced by public transportation, should be the first of three civic and environmental corridors Syracuse should build to become sustainable fiscally, economically, and ecologically,” Hawkins said....

“We need to take bold urban design initiatives to boost Syracuse out of its economic doldrums. Syracuse can’t be Everywhere USA and expect it to attract people and business any better than any other conventionally designed city. By restoring the old 15th Ward community street grid and the Erie Canal and Onondaga Creek waterways, we would create three civic and environmental highways criss-crossing the city. They would enhance the city’s charm and beauty and provide attractive gathering places for businesses, residents, workers, shoppers, and tourists to participate in commerce, recreation, education, politics, arts, and cultural activities,” Hawkins said.

Urban CNY: Urban CNY Asked Howie Hawkins, “Why Do You Want to be Mayor of Syracuse?”

I want to help Syracuse resolve its fiscal crisis and reduce its widespread poverty.

My strategic vision focuses city resources and policies on uplifting and desegregating poor and working class people, neighborhoods, and schools. This approach will reduce the concentrated poverty that produces the crime and school problems. Better public safety and schools will retain and attract middle class people and businesses, and help build a sustainable prosperity for all.

I want to be the next mayor of Syracuse, not its last mayor. The city in on the brink of insolvency and a state-imposed financial control board that could dissolve the city into a metropolitan government on terms unfavorable to city residents.

An immediate top priority for me is therefore progressive tax reforms for a broader, fairer, and secure revenue base for the city.

CNY Central (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Among Syracuse mayoral candidates, Walsh and Hawkins support NY constitutional convention

Hawkins also agreed that a convention would be a way to get around lawmakers in Albany, and the benefits a convention could bring to the area.

“State financial responsibility for its mandates on local government — this would resolve the related problems of upstate city, county, and town fiscal distress and highest-in-the-nation property taxes,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins also said that municipal home rule on income taxes, rent control, school governance and minimum wages would help local communities deal best with local issues.

“This would enable Syracuse to institute a progressive tax on incomes of residents, commuters, and absentee landlords alike, so that the city can avoid its pending bankruptcy and has a broader, sustainable, and fairer tax burden,” Hawkins said.


October 24, 2017

Spectrum News: Green Party Mayoral Candidate Shows Plans for a "Greener" Syracuse

(Video) Hawkins wants a walkable neighborhood environment city-wide, including tearing down the I-81 viaduct downtown. He'd also like to see the Erie Canal flow from the Inner Harbor through Clinton Square.

He'd also like Onondaga Creek to have an organic agricultural corridor.

CNY Central (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Syracuse mayoral candidates debate on city's west side as election nears

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins talked about the need for some changes in the city's school system. 

"There's too much embezzelment and fraud and real estate deals behind charters," Hawkins said.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins can win -- if you vote for him (Your letters)

I write in support of the candidacy of Howie Hawkins for mayor of Syracuse. My wife and I attended the mayoral debate at the Palace Theatre the other week and listened to all four candidates without preconceived ideas about whom we would support. Ordinarily, as a lifelong Democrat, I would support the Democratic Party candidate. I am also predisposed to support women candidates, but in these troubling times the future of the city my family has called home for three generations is too important to leave to labels.

All four candidates were polite and respectful, knowledgeable on the issues discussed, and well-spoken. Howie Hawkins however, came out head and shoulders above the others. Yes, everyone knows Howie Hawkins is a perennial candidate for public office, and perennially, unsuccessful. Yes, everyone knows Howie Hawkins is a liberal, and like Bernie Sanders, frequently labeled a socialist,. And like Bernie Sanders, lots of people acknowledges he's right on the issues, right on the policy, right on the money, but, they say, he can't win. It seems a lot of people would rather vote for the winner than for the best candidate....

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Mayoral candidates discuss Syracuse Police Department policy, crime

Howie Hawkins, who’s running on the Green Party line, said he would hire more “youth outreach workers.”

The Green Party candidate cited an Associated Press report published in September that found, in Syracuse, teenagers are being killed or wounded by gunfire at rates higher than most other cities in the United States. From 2014 to this past June, 48 children ages 12 to 17 were killed or wounded by gunshots in the city, an AP analysis found.

“That’s why I say we need youth outreach workers,” he said. “We need to connect these youth, who are unattached to jobs and employment, and reintegrate them into society and provide them what they need, whether it be educational opportunity, employment training, a job.”


October 23, 2017

NY Daily News: Cuomo reaches out to Green Party as he shores up liberal credentials

As he tries to mend fences with New York progressives, some of Gov. Cuomo’s top staffers for the first time are regularly reaching out to the minor Green Party.

Cuomo’s secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos have been in more frequent contact with leaders of the environmentally focused party, Green Party officials say.

The governor himself popped in for about 15 minutes during one meeting between his aides and party leaders, officials said....

State Green Party Co-Chairwoman Gloria Mattera confirmed the increased Cuomo outreach, which began about 18 months ago. She said the talks have focused on environmental and climate change issues, not electoral politics heading into the governor’s 2018 re-election campaign....

With some questioning whether the leftist Working Families Party will back Cuomo for a third time, insiders wonder if the outreach is the first step toward seeking the Green Party’s endorsement....

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party gubernatorial candidate in 2014, received 184,419, or 5% of the overall vote, while Cuomo on the Working Families Party line received 126,244, or 3.5%....

But Mattera slammed the door on her party backing Cuomo or any other major party candidate....

“Being an appendage party for the governor’s reelection doesn’t work with our philosophy,” she said.

Politics aside, Mattera said her party is happy to see some movement by Cuomo on environmental issues it cares about, like banning hydrofracking and increasing wind power.

“When things come up that the party feels are steps in the right direction, we acknowledge it,” she said. “But our platform obviously calls for bolder solutions and faster actions. There’s a number of issues that are not being taken up or could be taken up differently.”

Syracuse Post-Standard: Next Syracuse mayor will likely get less than 1/2 the vote; How will he or she unite?

Howie Hawkins 

I would start by reaching out to all the mayoral candidates and their supporters. All the candidates have brought distinctive qualifications, experience, and ideas into the campaign that the next mayor should utilize.

I would increase communication and transparency by being available to the media frequently for questions and by insisting on more transparency and responsiveness from all city departments. I would get out into all the neighborhoods regularly so people can give me their advice, ask me questions, and tell me what I'm doing right and wrong.

To increase the people's voice, participation, and power, I would follow through on my Inclusive Democracy platform, which includes Neighborhood Assemblies and Instant-Runoff Voting.

Neighborhood Assemblies would bring the TNT planning councils back from exile as a separate non-profit into the structure of city government in a stronger form. Like New England Town Meetings, every resident would have a voice and vote in community planning and participatory budgeting. I would break down the eight TNT sectors into about 20 Neighborhood Assemblies that correspond to the actual neighborhoods people have named and identify with.

Instant Runoff Voting would mean we never again elect a mayor who receives less than a majority vote. In ranked-choice, instant-runoff voting, voters rank their choices. If no candidate receives over 50% on the first count, the last place candidate is eliminated and their votes are transferred to their next ranked choice. That "instant runoff" process continues until the most preferred candidate receives over 50% of the votes.


October 20, 2017

WAER (PBS, Syracuse University): Green Party's Howie Hawkins: Desegregation in City Schools is Key to Better Student Performance

Hawkins says both economic and racial integration are key to bringing up student performance.

"When you look at the data from the 1960's on, study after study shows when you concentrate poor kids of any race in schools, they score poorly on standardized tests and bring the problems of poverty into the schools. Nothing comes close to improving educational outcomes on standardized tests and other measures than desegregation."

WSYR-TV (ABC): Howie Hawkins wants to merge city and suburban school districts

Video Story The Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor wants to make major changes to the schools, not just in the City of Syracuse, but elsewhere in Onondaga County.

Howie Hawkins says day school districts are like modern day Jim Crow Laws, in the sense that students are segregated based on class.

Spectrum News: Syracuse mayoral candidates differ over direction of city's school districts

Video Story And, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said he'd like to see schools more integrated when it comes to children of different economic backgrounds.


October 19, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Watch the videos: Syracuse.com mayoral debate, post-debate discussion

The four candidates for Syracuse mayor squared off in a live debate Wednesday night hosted by Syracuse.com.

Syracuse Post-Standard: What qualities Syracuse mayoral candidates would look for in city's next police chief

Green candidate Howie Hawkins named Chris Magnus, the former Richmond, California chief who worked under a Green mayor as an example of what he would look for in a chief. Magnus is now chief in Tuscon, Arizona.

Magnus, Hawkins said, created a model for community policing that helped reduce murder and crime rates. In discussing crime, Hawkins said the city needs to focus on intensive work with disengaged youth who are involved in most of the city's murders.

He said he'd look for a mayor committed to that, and aggressively hiring officers of color.

Hawkins has said he would look outside the department for a chief because of concerns about an "old boys' network" in the department that has created a culture of overtime and other abuses.

Syracuse Post-Standard: What drives Syracuse mayoral candidates nuts about the city?

Howie Hawkins, of the Green Party, said it upsets him that city services are better delivered in middle class neighborhoods than lower class areas of Syracuse.

Hawkins proposed giving neighborhood groups like "Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today," a budget and real power, to engage more residents and solve problems in a more neighborhood-focused way.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): A look into the money behind the Syracuse mayoral race

It is unclear the exact amount Hawkins, Green Party candidate, has raised. Unlike the other candidates, the committee he raises money through — the Vote Green Syracuse committee — divvies up funds between Hawkins and three Common Council candidates.

The committee, in total, has accumulated about $15,000, which includes a $7,000 loan from Hawkins himself.

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Hawkins said the committee receives lots of small donations and, as a policy, doesn’t take contributions from for-profit entities. The committee hosts house parties where people talk about the campaign and make donations. Vote Green Syracuse also emails solicitations and accepts direct mail and online donations.

“We want to represent regular people, not money from special interests,” he said.

The Vote Green Syracuse committee’s largest contribution was a $1,000 donation from Solidarity, a socialist and feminist organization based in Detroit.

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October 18, 2017

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Perez Williams calls on opponents to reject proposed city-county government merger

Walsh, Republican candidate Laura Lavine, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins all said they have not yet received a letter from Perez Williams to sign. Lavine and Hawkins said they are against the Consensus plan. Lavine said she believes the city should not be absorbed under the county. Hawkins said he would not sign the letter because he believes a metropolitan government is needed to desegregate the city's housing and schools.


October 17, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Mayor Miner: Syracuse can't afford more cops

Miner said every city commissioner wants more personnel, but the cash-strapped city simply can't afford as many police as the chiefs would like....

Police staffing has become a hot-button issue as four candidates vie to replace Miner as mayor next year. Three candidates -- Laura Lavine, Juanita Perez Williams and Ben Walsh -- have said they would put more cops on the street. Only Howie Hawkins has said we don't need to hire more cops.


October 16, 2017

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Are political parties still relevant in 2017?

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said parties are important because they organize people around political perspectives and help them participate in the process.

"What has happened in the Democratic and Republican parties, their grassroots is alienated," Hawkins said. "That's why I think a lot of people are not listening to their political leaders in the old, two major parties."

Hawkins said Democrats claim to be the party of the working people but participate in trickle-down economics. He said Republicans say they are fiscally conservative but explode budget deficits. As for Walsh, Hawkins said being independent on the ballot is one thing but he said the Green Party is independent of money special interests.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Will the next Syracuse mayor make cuts to the fire department?

Howie Hawkins

We are literally playing with fire if we impose more cuts on the Fire Department.

In 2013, the city shut Station 7 near University Hill and reduced Station 6 on West Street to a rescue station without a fire engine. This year's $1 million cut to the Fire Department's overtime budget in practice means cuts to the operating budget because the overtime budget line can and will go into the red in response to calls.

Calls to the department have grown since the cuts. They will continue to grow with the repopulation of downtown and new Inner Harbor housing. Response time can mean the difference between life and death.

Oswego cut 27% of its firefighters. That would be a disaster in Syracuse. Watertown demoted officers to reduce a top-heavy 1.8 firefighter to supervisor ratio, which was more reasonable.

Rather than more cuts to fire and other city departments, the city must increase revenues. I propose a progressively graduated tax on incomes made in the city by residents, commuters, and absentee landlords alike to help pay for fire and other services and infrastructure they all use. I would also help organize a powerful coalition of the many upstate cities and towns in fiscal distress like Syracuse due to unfunded state mandates that consume 15% of regressive local property and sales taxes. We must convince state government to restore revenue sharing to former levels to end municipal fiscal distress, cut our highest-in-the-nation property taxes, and make our overall tax burden more progressive.

Syracuse Post-Standard: After interviewing 3 mayoral candidates, Syracuse teachers union endorses no one

In a message to the union's 3,000-plus members, STA President Megan Root said the union board interviewed Democrat Juanita Perez Williams, Green Howie Hawkins and unaffiliated candidate Ben Walsh, then chose not to endorse any of the three....

The board questioned candidates on three topics: charter schools, funding equity and the Constitutional Convention....

At a recent debate at the Palace Theatre, Perez Williams said she is against holding a con-con (as it's often known). Hawkins and Walsh said they favor it, though Walsh said he has reservations about it.

Root said the union would have a good working relationship with whoever is elected. Presumably, that does not include Republican Laura Lavine, who the union chose not to interview..... 


October 15, 2017

Urban CNY: Howie Hawkins: Syracuse Needs a Marshall Plan to Address Poverty Crisis

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Syracuse, called today for a state- and county-funded Marshall Plan to rebuild the city’s high poverty neighborhoods.

The U.S. Marshall Plan rebuilt a devastated Western Europe after World War II. The National Urban League has been calling for a domestic Marshall Plan to rebuild inner cities every year since 1964 in its annual State of Black America reports.

The plan would include a public jobs program in public works and services, with investments in affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, and community services.


October 11, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Cops, guns and a Green mayor? 5 takeaways from first TV debate in Syracuse mayor's race

2. Do we need more cops?

The candidates differed on ideas for staffing the police department. Hawkins was the only candidate who said we do not need more police. He said he would hire outreach workers before hiring more cops.

"We can get more effective reduction of [shootings] by having youth outreach workers...rather than hiring more police," he said.

Hawkins also said he would look out of town to hire a chief of police....

5. Hawkins: I can win this thing

Hawkins pushed back on what he described as a narrative that he has "big ideas and little money" so he can't win. He pointed out that he earned 35 percent of the vote in a race for City Auditor in 2015 and 48 percent in a district Council race in 2013.

"I don't think your vote is for sale to the highest bidder," Hawkins said.

Hawkins has raised about $16,000 -- much less than his opponents who have each raised sums in six figures.

He urged voters to ignore a poll released Tuesday that shows he has support from just 5 percent of voters. Instead, he asked them to consider his solutions to city problems, which include creating a progressive income tax in the city to generate enough revenue to avoid insolvency.

Hawkins also plugged the Green Party candidates running for Common Council seats.

Spectrum News: Syracuse Mayoral Candidates Talk Poverty, Crime, in Exclusive Debate 

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins outlined his top priority if elected: "Progressive tax reform, so we have the money to run the city," he said....

Others advocated for community policing to reduce teenage gun violence.

"I think we can get more effective reduction of that problem by having youth outreach workers working with these youth," Hawkins said.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Mayoral frontrunners Juanita Perez Williams and Ben Walsh clash over campaign contributions at 2nd general election debate

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Paul Schlesinger | Asst. News Editor

Frontrunners Juanita Perez Williams and Ben Walsh argued over developer campaign contributions in the second general election debate of the 2017 Syracuse mayoral race. [Pictured here at earlier public health forum.]

Howie Hawkins jumped into the argument, saying as a Green Party candidate he does not take contributions from for-profit entities due to the pay-to-play issue.

A political committee registered with the state Board of Elections that’s associated with Hawkins, Vote Green Syracuse, has raised about $8,000 in donations. It’s unclear how much of that $8,000 has gone directly to Hawkins’ campaign, though.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Local politicians use Interstate 81 rally to rail against New York state officials

Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, on Tuesday said residents have to write to legislators in support of the community grid. The grid concept would destroy the viaduct, redirect highway traffic east around Syracuse on Interstate 481 and cost an estimated $1.3 billion.

“The people of Syracuse are pretty clear (about) what they want. We want that viaduct down,” Hawkins said, yelling into a microphone. “But our state legislators, they’re not speaking up for us.”


October 10, 2017

Spectrum News: Watch: Full Syracuse Mayoral Debate

SPECTRUM NEWS VIDEO: Syracuse mayoral candidates went head-to-head in their first televised debate, hosted by Spectrum News. All four of the candidates actively campaigning took to the podiums Tuesday. Watch the full debate here.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Supporters of 'community grid' for I-81 rally downtown in push against viaduct, tunnel

Hawkins said the grid would complement a plan from the Syracuse Housing Authority to create a mixed-income neighborhood there. He touted what he saw as the benefits on the city's high concentration of poverty by reconnecting the downtown and university neighborhoods.

"The people of Syracuse are pretty clear about what we want... but our state legislators are not speaking up for us," he said.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Perez Williams challenges opponents to denounce proposed city-county merger

Howie Hawkins, who is running as the Green Party nominee, also condemned the Consensus plan early on, calling it the "consolidation of segregation."

The Consensus commission's final report, released on Feb. 9 of this year, proposes creating a metropolitan government with a 33-person legislature and single executive to oversee a combined city-county.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse.com poll: Who's ahead in historic Syracuse mayor's race?

Perez Williams (35 percent) and Walsh (28 percent) are firmly ahead of Republican Laura Lavine (9 percent) Working Families Party candidate Joe Nicoletti (9 percent) and the Green Party's Howie Hawkins (5 percent), according to the poll of likely Syracuse voters. The poll, the first independent survey to be made public in the general election campaign, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Juanita Perez Williams ahead in Syracuse mayoral race

Juanita Perez Williams holds a slight lead over competitor Ben Walsh in the 2017 Syracuse mayoral election, according to a Syracuse.com/Spectrum News/Siena College poll released Tuesday.

Of likely voters, 35 percent said they would cast ballots for Perez Williams, a Democrat, and 28 percent for Walsh, an independent.

Both candidates have double digit leads over Republican candidate Laura Lavine, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Working Families Party candidate Joe Nicoletti.

The poll found 9 percent of likely voters would cast ballots for Lavine, 9 percent for Nicoletti and 5 percent for Hawkins. The remaining 14 percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.6 percent.

Spectrum News: Poll Shows Two Front Runners in Race for Syracuse Mayor

"We just came off a Democratic primary a few weeks ago,” [pollster Steven] Greenberg said. “The campaigns are really just starting to heat up now."


October 9, 2017

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Mayoral candidates say Syracuse University can do more to help the city of Syracuse

Hawkins is a mainstay in Syracuse politics, running for more than 20 offices in the past three decades for the Green Party. He’s lost every time.

Hawkins has a detailed plan for exactly how the university can help the city. He wants SU to set up a series of cooperatives focusing on solar panel manufacturing, urban farming and laundry services. Under his plan, SU and Upstate University Hospital — more commonly known as the “Eds and Meds” industries — would invest money and use services provided by the co-ops. In return, the co-ops would provide jobs and allow employees to own equity in the cooperative.

This exact model is being used in Cleveland, Ohio, with buy-in from Case Western Reserve University.

Since SU is tax-exempt while using city services such as law enforcement and roads, Hawkins said the university “owes the city some contribution.”


October 6, 2017

CNY Central TV (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Will next Syracuse Mayor hire more police?

"I am not necessarily calling for more officers," Howie Hawkins (G), said. "I will review staffing and approach with the Police Chief when I am elected. I want us to shift to more community policing. "


October 4, 2017

WSYR-TV (ABC, Syracuse): Howie Hawkins explains 'graduated income tax' plan; Mayoral candidate wants to tax people who work in Syracuse, whether or not they live in the city

Video story

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins is telling us more about his proposed "graduated income tax" plan.

It would be a tax added to every paycheck for anybody who works in the city of Syracuse, whether or not the person lives within city limits.

Hawkins says its his idea to save the city from a financial crisis.“I want to be the next mayor of Syracuse, not its last mayor,” Hawkins says.

“The city is on the brink of insolvency. Syracuse faces a hostile takeover by the state if the city does not generate significant new revenue in the next year or two. A state-imposed financial control board would then run the city for the benefit of its wealthy creditors, not its citizens,” says Hawkins.

Hawkins says there's a recurring $15 to $20 million annual deficit in the city's $300 million budget.

Taxing all employees, who collectively made about $2.8 billion, would raise about $30 million for the city. He says it is only fair for the over 40,000 daily commuters to contribute to the city infrastructure and services they use like streets, water, and police.

“The other three mayoral candidates are not being fiscally responsible to suggest that the city can manage with its current revenue base or expand the property tax base through economic development in time to avoid insolvency,” Hawkins says.

Hawkins says that, nationwide, nearly 5,000 local jurisdictions in 17 states have local income taxes. In New York State, Yonkers and New York City have city income taxes.

Hawkins' long-term goal is to shift the tax base to more progressive taxes so city could lower property taxes that fall hardest on tenants and homeowners on low or fixed incomes.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): 4 remaining Syracuse mayoral candidates discuss schools, I-81 at first general election debate

Hawkins said Trump was “hopeless” but that he would focus on local and state politics as mayor....

Hawkins said fighting poverty would help deter crime and improve Syracuse schools....

Hawkins said he would attempt to implement proportional representation on the city council. He added he would introduce a “community broadband” utility where residents could view hearings and school board and Common Council meetings.


October 2, 2017

WRVO (NPR, Syracuse University): The candidates for Syracuse mayor hold their first debate

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The four candidates running for mayor of Syracuse (from left to right) Howie Hawkins (GR), Juanita Perez Williams (D), Laura Lavine (R), and Ben Walsh (Upstate Jobs, REF, IN) at their first debate with moderate Grant Reeher (foreground)
MATT COULTER /  SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

(Full audio and transcript) On November 7, voters in Syracuse will choose their next mayor. There are four candidates on the ballot: Democrat Juanita Perez Williams, Republican Laura Lavine, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, and Ben Walsh, an independent candidate who will be on the Upstate Jobs, Reform and Independence Party lines. All four candidates sat down with Grant Reeher for their first debate on WRVO. This debate was recorded Thursday, September 28. 

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse mayoral candidates: What would you have done to save Nojaim's?

Howie Hawkins 

I have no objection in principle to public money to support grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods. Groceries in the city's "food deserts" should be a priority. I cannot make a judgement on the money given to Price Rite or Nojaim's without seeing their financial projections and uses for the money. I do wonder if Price Rite, a 64-store chain, really needed public money or had the resources to support its store on its own.

We cannot afford to leave the Nojaim's site as another abandoned storefront. It could become a crime hotspot and a deterrent to investment in the neighborhood.

The city should explore the possibility of converting the Nojaim's building into a community-based nonprofit business incubator for employee-owned businesses that serve neighborhood needs and build wealth for neighborhood residents who become the worker-owners. With all the people lacking a car that live in the neighborhood, there is still a market for a smaller grocery store within walking distance for public housing across the street and the rest of the immediate neighborhood. Other small businesses providing goods and services that the neighborhood needs could also be incubated there.

The $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which had an anti-poverty rationale in its grant proposal to the state, could provide funding for a business incubator. The city should develop a proposal to the Upstate Revitalization Initiative for a Marshall Plan for Syracuse to rebuild high-poverty neighborhoods. Incubators for employee-owned businesses in our depressed neighborhood business districts should be part of the plan.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Breaking down the Green Party platform in Syracuse

The next mayor of Syracuse will either reinvigorate the city or oversee its collapse.

Following Stephanie Miner, who hasn’t made much headway in crime, poverty, segregation or a lopsided budget, the stakes have never been higher. And politics will give us solutions as usual — a cutting of services and staff and tax cuts for the wealthy. With bottom-up, people-first politics to nurture Syracuse into the 21st century, the Green Party offers an inspiring way forward....

New York state’s Senate is close to voting to approve a statewide single payer healthcare plan. But this policy didn’t start with a popular presidential campaign by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and recent “Medicare for all” push. Greens have spent years organizing to rally support and educate folks about the benefits of the single-payer system.

At the event, mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins pointed out how his 2014 campaign for governor brought the benefits of a single-payer system to light for New York voters. Fellow Green Ursula Rozum led the Campaign for New York Health to mobilize the state to demand access to healthcare. Now, we’re seeing progress.


October 1, 2017

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Syracuse Green Party candidates discuss platform at forum

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Codie Yan | Staff Photographer

Four Green Party candidates are running for various offices in the City of Syracuse. 

In 2010 and 2014, Hawkins advocated for issues such as the dangers of fracking, a living wage for workers and a millionaires’ tax while running against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The mayoral candidate said he plans to attack the issue of unemployment by improvising worker co-ops and bringing job opportunities to the city rather than depending on the corporate sector.

“Working class is common interest,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said he also aims to fight poverty by desegregation.

Syracuse’s census tracts have quadrupled since 2000, he said, and the city has the highest concentration of poverty among blacks and fifth highest concentration in poverty among whites of cities in the U.S.

“That segregation,” Hawkins said, “they call it concentration, but it’s segregation.”

Daily Orange (Syracuse University: Breaking Down the Green Party Platform in Syracuse

This November, the Onondaga County Green Party will be running a slate of candidates with a unified policy vision, which was presented to SU students and the surrounding community Thursday.

The Green candidates emphasize a deep understanding of community and progressive solutions that can work. Here are the policy positions that set Greens apart from Democrats — or that Democrats have been forced to pick up due to Green advocacy....

At the event, mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins pointed out how his 2014 campaign for governor brought the benefits of a single-payer system to light for New York voters.


September 29, 2017

CNY Central (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Mayoral candidates discuss options for I-81 renovations

Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins, says he's been championing the community grid option for more than a decade.
"That's prime real estate right in the center of the city that's going to waste." And said "we should rebuild it as a mixed income, mixed use community with everything in walking distance and really show how urban design should be done."


September 28, 2017

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Mayoral candidates explain plans to combat public health issues in Syracuse

Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, said the medical community is doing the best it can with the resources it has. The next mayor should combat “social determinants” such as homelessness, joblessness and poverty that he said lead to drug use....

Hawkins said he would support a city ordinance preventing landlords from renting apartments until they’re certified as “lead safe.” He said he thinks landlords would then make private investments in their buildings.


September 27, 2017

WAER (PBS, Syracuse University): Syracuse Mayoral Forum: Candidates on Quality of Education in the Syracuse City School District

The Green Party's Howie Hawkins says what isn't working is de facto segregation within schools by both races and class, which continues to hold back low income minority students.

“When you mix up middle- and lower- class kids, the conformity is – kids like to conform – they come up to middle class standards, and so the expectations of those kids change. That’s been the record, and I think if we don’t address that, all this other stuff is marginal to the core problem," says Howie Hawkins.

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Howie Hawkins, Syracuse City Mayor Green Party candidate, recognizes the role economic issues play in holding back developments in the school district's efforts.
CREDIT SCOTT WILLIS / WAER NEWS

September 26, 2017

WSYR-TV, NBC: CenterState CEO hosts forum for all four Syracuse mayoral candidates

(Video) CenterState CEO hosted a forum for the four Syracuse mayoral candidates Tuesday, inviting its members to ask questions.

It wasn't a typical debate where all four candidates share the stage. Instead, each got their own 30-minute session to answer questions on a range of issues facing the city.

The topics included education, crime, poverty, infrastructure and what the next mayor hopes his or her legacy be.

The candidates were randomly drawn to participate in this order: Independent Ben Walsh, Republican Laura Lavine, Democrat Juanita Perez Williams and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.


September 25, 2017

WRVO (PBS, SUNY Oswego): Syracuse mayoral candidates respond to closing of Nojaim Brothers supermarket

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said public housing across the street and in the surrounding can still provide the demand for food and other goods within walking distance.


September 24, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: How would the next Syracuse mayor handle a toxic algae bloom in Skaneateles Lake?

Howie Hawkins

I would immediately consult with the City Water Department, the five towns that share Skaneateles Lake water, and county and state agencies dealing with water quality.

I would have city officials keep the public informed with frequent updates and respond promptly to media inquiries about the situation.

I would work with city officials to have a contingency plan in place to help city residents access clean water if testing shows contamination.

Longer term, we should address the fact that blue-green algae blooms are becoming more common in upstate New York lakes. Increased runoff from agricultural and residential fertilizers and sewage and septic tank overflows are fueling algae blooms. Increased runoff from more intense rain storms, as well as more hot, sunny days, combine to create ideal conditions for algae blooms. These kinds of storms and heat waves are becoming more frequent with global warming.

It is time to consider ways to reduce the nutrient runoff into Skaneateles Lake and whether we should add a blue-green algae filtration system to our treatment of water from the lake as the neighboring city of Auburn recently did.

To help pay for this and other improvements to the city's crumbling water infrastructure, it is time to consider merging the City Water Department into Onondaga County Water Authority, for which the Consensus Commission projected $1-2 million in savings. We should apply to the $1.5 billion fund for local government water infrastructure improvements in the state Clean Water Infrastructure Act adopted earlier this year.


September 18, 2017

CNYCentral (TV: Sinclair, CBS, NBC, CW): Syracuse mayoral candidates offer ideas to combat poverty

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins says the city of Syracuse should be spending more money on urban revitalization.

"The city itself should apply for a grant to fix up the housing, to rebuild the infrastructure, and to create public jobs in public works and services, whether it's repairing the water lines, or providing guidance in the parks for youth or taking care of old people. Those are services," Hawkins said.

CNYCentral (TV: Sinclair, CBS, NBC, CW): Here comes the General Election for Mayor: Matt's Memo

Howie Hawkins is the perpetual candidate who has never won elected office. He will raise big ideas in debates, but will not raise significant funds and is unlikely to finish in the top tier on November 7th.


September 13, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: "Instant-runoff voting in Syracuse would end tyranny of the minority" by Eric Graf

On Nov. 7, Syracuse could elect its next mayor with as little as 20.001 percent of the vote. (In the event that Joe Nicoletti drops out, that number only increases to 25.001 percent.)

Indeed, Syracuse could elect a mayor whom the overwhelming majority voted against.

It's too bad that the Democrats, who have ruled Syracuse for decades, have not listened to Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins. He has long proposed a solution to this problem -- ranked-choice, instant-runoff voting, where voters rank their choices in order of preference....

This system should also be used for proportional representation in multi-seat legislative bodies like the Common Council.

This reform would create a multi-party system, in which Greens, Republicans and perhaps other parties would get their fair share of representation instead of being almost completely shut out by the plurality system, which magnifies the Democratic majority's representation far beyond its proportionate share of the vote. The Greens, for instance, have had no representation in city government despite the fact that Howie Hawkins has received between 35 percent and 48 percent of the vote in his last four local races, the most recent of which was city-wide.

CNYCentral (TV: Sinclair, CBS, NBC, CW): Syracuse mayoral candidates shift focus to general election

Howie Hawkins of the Green Party hopes to get those facing poverty back into the city's workforce. His short-term goal is, "to help poor people with access to city funded jobs."

Hawkins believes that, "instead of incentives for absentee-owned businesses that take profits out of the community, the incentives should go to developing worker-owned cooperatives."

WSYR-TV (ABC): Syracuse mayoral candidates discuss primary results

Click the player to hear what the candidates had to say about Tuesday’s primary and their plans for the coming months before elections.


September 12, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Mayoral candidates know little about Syracuse University’s 20-year Campus Framework project

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party mayoral candidate, said the Campus Framework project could be positive for the area.

Hawkins also would like to see SU engage in cooperatives benefiting both the college and lower-income residents in nearby areas, such as worker co-ops involving solar power, he said.

“Syracuse University’s footprint in the city is huge, and it’s the biggest economic engine,” Hawkins said.


September 7, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Should Stephanie Miner run for governor? What 17 political leaders say

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Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor

Howie Hawkins was the New York Green Party candidate for governor in 2010 and 2014. In 2014 he received about 5 percent of the vote, one of the best performances in state history for an independent progressive party candidate.

Hawkins said he likes the idea of Miner running for governor.

“From the viewpoint of a public citizen, I think she should run,” Hawkins said. “From her standpoint, that’s a decision she has to make. But she can raise some issues that, even if she doesn’t win the primary, will continue through the fall. There are some issues right in her wheelhouse, like infrastructure, that I could see her running on.”

(File photo by Mike McAndrew)


September 6, 2017

Daily Orange: Syracuse mayoral candidates discuss platforms at public forum

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Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

Howie Hawkins

Hawkins said a community hiring hall — where people could come and sign up for employment — would help increase employment in the city.

Hawkins said the SPD has failed to diversify and that a new police chief should be selected from outside the city.

A police chief from outside the city would help the police force become more diverse and manage overtime issues, Hawkins said.

To reduce crime, he said the city should invest in reducing poverty.

Hawkins also said he is opposed to the city-county merger proposal.

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Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor


September 4, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Should Syracuse cops be required to live in the city?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I would negotiate for a residency requirement in the next police contract. 92% of Syracuse police live outside the city.

I would seek a permanent residency requirement. That is only fair because police are the best-paid city employees and, by state law, may retire with good pension and health benefits after just 20 years of service.

As residents, police will contribute taxes, spending, and their direct stake in the city's schools, services, and all-around quality of life.

However, more than residency is needed for racial diversity. 93% of city police are white in a city that is 28% black and 49% people of color - an inexcusable failure 37 years after the 1980 federal consent decree required the city to hire more black officers to remedy past discrimination.

I would hire a police chief committed to minority recruiting and community policing linked to complementary city programs that provide opportunities, services, and mentoring for at-risk youth who are neither in school nor working and for people who are reintegrating after incarceration.

Richmond, California, a working-class city with 80% people of color and historically high rates of homicide and property crimes, took this approach. Implemented between 2005 and 2013 by a Green mayor and the police chief she hired, minority officers tripled from 20% to 60%. Homicides dropped 75%. Property crimes dropped 40%. Promotion was tied to building positive relationships with the neighborhood policed, not volume of arrests. Police are offered rent-free public housing, which is where Richmond's current police union president lives.


August 28, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: What role will the Citizen Review Board play under the next Syracuse mayor?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I would appoint a police chief who sees the Citizen Review Board as an ally not an adversary in good policing. It's not a delicate line. Police work for the public. The CRB is the public's watchdog against police misconduct. Period.

The resistance to the CRB by the mayor, police chief, and union president last year wasted time, money, and public trust in unnecessary and costly legal fights.

While Chief Fowler refused to report to the CRB on his responses to its disciplinary recommendations in cases it took the CRB more than six months to investigate, Mayor Miner vetoed $15,000 for part-time consultants to help the CRB resolve complicated cases in timely fashion. Fortunately, Common Council overrode the mayor's veto.

City Hall then forced the CRB to go to court to assert its right to sue for information it was entitled to under the CRB law. Steve Thompson, former police chief and councilor-at-large, tried to pre-empt a court ruling with legislation to end the CRB's right to sue and issue subpoenas. Common Council rejected Thompson's gut-the-CRB bill.

The CRB won its cases in court. Yet, in defiance of the state's Freedom of Information Law, City Hall still won't allow public or media review of citizen complaints, CRB recommendations, and police chief disciplinary actions.

Meanwhile, police union president Jeff Piedmonte's insulting response last year to two CRB reports about excessive force - "They don't like the fact that we punch people in the head" - showed exactly why we need the CRB.


August 23, 2017

Syracuse New Times: Syracuse Mayoral Debate: Respectful and Refreshing

Too many times in recent years, local elections — both here and elsewhere — have been nationalized, especially during years in which the presidency is being determined. The critical problems in individual cities, counties and congressional districts have too often taken a backseat to the politics at the top of the ticket and what the national media outlets are talking about....

Thankfully, Masterpole, Nicoletti and Perez-Williams gave compelling and detailed thoughts regarding some of Syracuse’s most dire issues....

We’re lucky to have candidates who not only recognize the importance of the mayor’s office and how crucial the role is when it comes to the city’s burning issues, but candidates who can also have a calm and civilized conversation about those issues with others who have different viewpoints and seek the same office. And that includes independent candidate Ben Walsh, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, Libertarian candidate Chris Fowler and Republican Laura Lavine.


August 21, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Trump? Clinton? Who did each Syracuse mayoral candidate vote for?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I would vote today again for the Green ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. They offered real solutions to life-and-death issues, including emergency climate action and full employment through a Green New Deal, single-payer Medicare for all, and ending wars of aggression.

I ran on those three issues against Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senate in 2006. As Secretary of State, she expanded her imperialist resumé by supporting the 2009 Honduras coup that unleashed the death squads now murdering labor, environmental, and indigenous activists and the 2011 regime change in Libya that created another failed state and terrorist staging ground like Iraq. She remained opposed to single payer. She failed to speak to the economic insecurities faced by working-class and middle-class people, leaving the door open for Trump's disingenuous promises. She was not an option for me.

Trump was the same racist, boastful, arrogant, ignorant, and compulsively lying character I had first encountered in a 1979 Village Voice exposé by Wayne Barrett. Trump was worse.

Twice in the last 16 years we have elected presidents who lost the popular vote. Instead of blaming Stein for Trump in 2016 and Ralph Nader for Bush in 2000, we should change the system that elects losers like Trump. The Green Party calls for abolition of the Electoral College and popular election of the president using ranked-choice instant-runoff voting, which elects most-preferred candidate after the votes of losing candidates are transferred to their next preferences until the winning candidate has a majority of votes.


August 14, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: What happens to Syracuse's innovation team under the next mayor?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I would put the Innovation Team into the city operations budget and continue obtaining additional funding and in-kind services from partners as was done during the grant. This progression to public funding is what the Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams grants envision. It's what the original five big city recipients did.

The i-team should remain its own department, developing new innovations and helping other departments adopt and coordinate their work with data-driven innovations.

Baseline city funding equal to the grant would be $450,000 a year - less than 1/6th of 1% of the city budget. The i-team has more than justified that expenditure.

The i-team's first project on infrastructure employed sensors for water pipes and road quality mapping by city trucks. This innovation brought the emerging "Internet of Things" to city management, resulting in clear labor savings and better prioritization of work based on better information.

The i-team's second project is the DataCuse public data portal. Partnering with the Sunlight Foundation and the Johns Hopkins Center for Government Excellence on open data and performance practices, the project is developing user-friendly dash boards and performance metrics and targets to help both city departments and the general public understand and monitor progress on road, water main, and housing conditions. As it expands, this data portal should include social, economic, and environmental indicators such as minority and city resident employment with city departments and contractors and progress toward 100% clean, renewable energy.

The i-team's third project is improving economic opportunity. Good choice.


August 7, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Get to know Syracuse's mayoral candidates: How does each spend a sunny weekend?

Howie Hawkins (G)

On a typical summer weekend, sunny or not, I’m finishing tasks on my to-do list that I could not complete during the busy work week.

On a good weekend, I complete the list with time to spare for the gym, catching up on the week’s news, and reading, which is typically about history, politics, economics, and social and environmental problems.

On a great weekend, my to-do list is short, leaving good blocks of time to work on a larger project, which is often a writing assignment from a publication.

On the best weekends, I’m on one of my two summer vacation weeks. For one week, I visit my brother in Oakland and my sister in Seattle, catching up on family news and taking in cultural and recreational activities those cities offer.

For the other vacation week, I’m in Hawaii with my four Okinawa-raised Army-brat cousins and my aunt Yukie Hawkins, one of the first post-World War II Japanese war brides. They all settled in Hawaii and married into Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and French Canadian families. I spend that week surfing and gaining about five pounds as we feast through the many ethnic cuisines of the extended family and Hawaii, including Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Samoan, and their many Hawaiian Fusion derivatives like loco moco and Spam musubi.

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Waimalu, Hawaii – Aug. 27, 2016: (back row l-r) cousin Forry Hawkins, Howie Hawkins, cousin Joe Hawkins, cousin Bea Hawkins; (front row l-r) Forry’s grandchildren Hilina’i Kamake'e'aina-Mendoza and Braxon Kamake'e'aina-Mendoza.


July 31, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Who will the next mayor select as police chief?

Howie Hawkins (G)

An outsider is needed to make the basic changes in the management and culture of the department I want to see, including:

Economy - Salaries, health care, and pensions for police are nearly one-third of the city operations budget. Overtime is out of control. Syracuse has nearly twice as many police per resident as the average for cities our size. With the city headed toward insolvency without new revenues and cost savings, the next chief must have no traditional patronage obligations in order to make hard decisions to manage limited resources more efficiently.

Diversity - 37 years after the 1980 federal consent decree set goals of at least 10% black officers in all ranks, the police force is 93% white and 92% living out of town in a city that is now one-third black and one-half people of color. A new chief from outside the old boys network is needed to break through this inexcusable impasse.

Community Policing - "War on drugs" over-policing of poor neighborhoods has led to mass incarceration of minority youth without changing the conditions that breed drug abuse, crime, and violence. It will take an outside change agent to reorient the department to real community policing where officers build cooperative relationships with community residents, businesses, and organizations on their assigned beats and prioritize resolving problems and conflicts before they escalate.

Accountability - It will take a police chief from outside to re-orient to the Citizens Review Board as an ally rather than an adversary in improving policing and police/community relations.


July 24, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: There is a lead crisis in Syracuse; How will the next mayor fight it?

Howie Hawkins (G)

Lead abatement must become a top priority. It is inexcusable for Syracuse to have the nation's highest child lead poisoning 46 years after the Surgeon General's 1971 urgent recommendation to prevent and treat lead poisoning in children.

Safe housing is a right. It's a crime to rent properties that poison children. The lead crisis reflects our racial and economic housing segregation, with its highest concentrations of black and latino poverty, and fifth highest concentration of white poverty, among the nation's metropolitan regions.

With 65% of city residents renting, we must start by requiring landlords to remove lead and receive a lead-safe certificate before renting. The ordinance that Common Council voted down last year requiring inspections of all rental housing every three years must be adopted to enforce lead-free renting and other housing laws.

After 20 years of funding, the city lost its federal lead abatement grant in 2015 for faulty testing procedures and quarterly reports. This poor management must be corrected. While the federally-funded county and the state-funded Green & Health Homes Initiative lead abatement programs are helping homeowners as well as landlords, the city should seek to restore federal funding for its own lead abatement program to more rapidly resolve this problem.

Lead abatement is costly. But lead in our children hurts their academic performance, memory, and motor skills. It increases their likelihood of school suspensions and then incarceration in the correctional system. If we don't pay for lead abatement upfront, we pay even more on the back end.


July 17, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: What are Syracuse's mayoral candidates doing to make our city a better place?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I helped develop the Eat To Live Food Cooperative in my South Side neighborhood. I am a board member and treasurer of the co-op.

Our neighborhood had four grocery stores 30 years ago. We had none left by 2006 when we started this project. We lived in a "food desert," which the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as a high-poverty census tract more than one mile from grocery stores providing healthy and affordable food.

The closest grocery stores were two miles away. That is a problem when 53% of workers in our neighborhood get to work by walking or bus, according to the U.S. Census. Because local convenience corner stores mainly offer processed food high in sugar, salt, and fat, our neighborhood suffers from high rates of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

The co-op's mission is to provide fresh, healthy, fairly-priced food while fostering good nutrition and cooperative ownership. The co-op operates at cost, with year-end profits returned to member-owners as patronage refunds in proportion to their purchases.

We are not profitable yet. But our business plan projected an operating loss 15 months after we opened as we grow our customer base. Like any business, the co-op is an ongoing endeavor - in this case, in the very competitive, low-margin grocery business.

We built a new store at 2323 S. Salina St. between Colvin and Brighton streets. The new construction and new jobs in a depressed business strip and the healthy, affordable food have made our neighborhood a better place to live.


July 11, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Parks? IDAs? Where would Syracuse's mayoral candidates consolidate government?

Howie Hawkins (G)

Given the city's fiscal crisis, I would start with the Consensus report's recommendation for countywide property tax sharing for a Municipal Development Fund.

Modeled after a similar program in the six-county St. Paul/Minneapolis region operating since 1971, it would equalize fiscal capacity among the county's municipalities and benefit all municipalities fiscally from economic development anywhere in the county.

With a united property tax base, economic development anywhere will benefit metropolitan taxpayers everywhere. It will diminish the fiscal pressures on towns for suburban sprawl development in the region's green spaces and enable all of the region's communities to benefit from redevelopment of the decaying urban core.

Property tax sharing would help Syracuse meet its fiscal shortfalls in the shorter term. In the longer run, it would amplify Syracuse's role as the economic hub of the region and could turn the city from a net recipient into a net contributor of property tax revenues to its neighboring suburban and rural communities, which is what happened with the city of Minneapolis over time.

Implementation requires an intermunicipal agreement, not a referendum. As mayor and therefore an ex-officio member of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, I would advocate that some of the $25 million budgeted for a Commission on Government Modernization out of the recent $500 million state grant be devoted to developing and negotiating a detailed proposal for property tax sharing for a Municipal Development Fund.


July 3, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Let's talk about schools: Syracuse mayoral candidates weigh in on Blodgett repairs

Howie Hawkins (G)

The $17 million available should be spent on the renovating Blodgett. The only alternative to renovation is closure. It's hard to find anyone in the neighborhood who wants that.

Blodgett is the physical and spiritual heart of the Near Westside neighborhood, which has among the highest concentrations of poverty in the city and the nation. After decades of neglect and delay on improving Blodgett and Fowler, Near Westside schools should get top priority.

The Joint Schools Construction Board's architects recommend spending $15 million on a new roof to save the building from irreparable water damage as well as on the masonry, windows, bathrooms, and security equipment to upgrade safety, security, and accessibility.

$2 million remains for interior improvements. Those improvements should be prioritized with the participation of the school's staff and students and neighborhood residents.

The building needs another $40 million to bring it fully back. The next round of JSCB funding is in five years. Blodgett should get a generous share of that funding. In the meantime, the city should seek other sources of funding, like the library provided by the Abundant Life Church 20 years ago.

The next mayor should also defend Blodgett and eight other city schools on the state's list of "struggling schools" from the state's test-punish-and-privatize agenda. Instead of high-stakes tests to define high-poverty schools as failing and to justify their conversion to privately-managed charter schools, we need to desegregate schools by race and class and provide equitable and adequate funding of all public schools.


June 26, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse's mayoral candidates grade Mayor Miner's administration A thru F 

Howie Hawkins (G)

I give Mayor Miner a D - barely passing - because the city is not bankrupt... yet. She initiated no progressive solutions for fiscal decline, concentrated poverty, or segregated schools.

Fiscally, Miner followed the conservative playbook. She endorsed the 2010 New York Mayors' Task Force recommendations for wage freezes, benefit rollbacks, and labor rights concessions designed to balance budgets on the backs of municipal workers. She repeatedly cut services, from closing the Ida Benderson Senior Center and Fire Station 7 to this year cutting the street repair budget in half. Miner rightly criticized Gov. Cuomo's victim-blaming narrative for upstate city fiscal problems. But she merely called for "an honest conversation" instead of publicly championing specific progressive solutions, like a restoration of former levels of state revenue sharing to pay for unfunded state mandates.

Poverty concentrated further because residential segregation by race and class increased by design. City policies and subsidies gentrified downtown, pushing low-income people out. Inner Harbor development was approved for exclusively upscale housing.

School segregation by race and class grew as tracking within the school district increased, funding and socioeconomic disparities with adjacent affluent school districts increased, and the state's test-punish-and-privatize agenda threatened half the city's public schools with privatization into still-segregated charter schools. Experience proves that when working-class and middle-class children go to school together, race and class achievement gaps close substantially and middle-class children do better as well. But Miner - and, to be fair, all the city and county leadership - have been AWOL on school desegregation.


June 23, 2017

WCNY-TV (PBS, Syracuse): Meeting the Candidates for Syracuse Mayor

(15 minute video) Howie Hawkins, one of the founders of the Green Party prepares for his latest run for public office.

San Francisco Bay View: Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and the UK’s socialist surge

Labour Party membership is defined by dues, which start as low as 3 pounds, the rough equivalent of $5. Dues paying members elect the party leader in a model similar to that Bruce Dixon and Howie Hawkins advocate for the Green Party in the U.S....

In 2015, Labour Party membership tripled, to 550,000, largely due to new members who paid 3 pounds to join and vote for its leader. This is a good part of the reason Corbyn surprised himself and everyone else with his hugely successful campaign to lead the party.

His victory was also made possible by the elimination of Labour’s variation on the Democratic Party’s super-delegates, elected officials and party big wigs who are free to vote for whatever presidential candidate they prefer at the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating convention, regardless of how their constituents have voted in the primary. Prior to 2015, the votes cast by sitting members of Parliament had greater weight than those of rank and file members, but in 2015, the party adopted a one-member-one-vote system.

...[W]e can all celebrate that Tony Blair’s “New Labour,” the British equivalent of Bill Clinton’s corporate, neoliberal Democrats, is dead in Britain, and support for real socialism is surging.

Could anything like this be duplicated here, eliminating the super-delegates and otherwise claiming the Democratic Party machinery in the name of the people? No way. The Democratic Party cannot be reformed. The only question is, can it be replaced?


June 21, 2017

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): All 9 Syracuse mayoral candidates answer questions about city's toughest problems

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Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins joined in via video conference from California.

“We get a financial control board and the future will look like Flint [Michigan] which had its water poisoned or Detroit, who had its schools destroyed," Hawkins said. "We want control of our own destiny.”


June 20, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Snitches, privilege and neophytes: 7 takeaways from Syracuse's 2nd mayoral forum

Green candidate Howie Hawkins joined the event via Skype, since he is currently visiting family in California. He's in Richmond -- a city he loves to hold up as a model for what Syracuse could be. 


June 19, 2019

Syracuse Post-Standard: What does the next mayor plan to do about poverty in Syracuse?

Howie Hawkins (G)

Of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan regions, Syracuse has the highest concentration of blacks and Latinos living in high-poverty census tracts and the fifth highest concentration of whites living in those same census tracts. In other words, Syracuse has the nation's highest segregation by class as well as race. Segregation isolates poor people from the social networks, norms, and knowledge that middle-class people take for granted to access good jobs, education, and housing.

The most important single thing Syracuse city government can do to reduce poverty is to enact policies that de-concentrate poverty by desegregating our community by race and class in schooling, residence, and employment.

The city should pursue school desegregation by ending tracking within the district and pursuing inter-district desegregation with adjacent school districts.

To desegregate residential neighborhoods, the city should adopt an inclusionary zoning ordinance that requires all new housing developments to have a mix of low-income, moderate-income, and upscale units.

The fastest way to get good jobs to low-income people is to help city residents and minorities get their fair share of city-funded jobs with city departments and contractors. The city needs to update and strengthen with goals and timetables the Equal Employment Opportunity Program, a city ordinance enacted in 1973.

Most poor people live in families of the working poor. To make work pay better and build wealth in poor communities, the city should help develop worker cooperatives where the wealth created remains with workers as income and assets instead of leaving to absentee owners.


June 12, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Sharpshooters? Birth control? How will next mayor tackle Syracuse's deer problem?

Howie Hawkins (G)

Culling urban deer with sharpshooters has not proven effective. Deer fertility and in-migration just increase in response to the available food supply.

We do need an effective response. Urban deer wreck plants and gardens. They increase vehicle collisions and injuries. They are aggressive toward people when protecting fawns.

I favor "Bark Rangers," as park rangers affectionately call their border collies that chase deer out of the resort towns in Banff and Waterton Lakes national parks in Alberta, Canada. Dogs have effectively protected three commercial apple orchards from deer in Oswego County, as well as a commercial vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington. A stray border collie even took it upon herself to protect the American Rose Center gardens in Shreveport, La. from deer and was adopted as a valued member of the staff. John W. Laundre, a biology professor at SUNY Oswego who studies predator ecology, suggested dogs to control deer in Syracuse five years ago in a Post-Standard letter. It's past time to try this idea out.

Lyme disease is popularly attributed to ticks on deer. But scientific studies find no correlation between Lyme disease incidence and deer populations. Rather Lyme disease is associated with rodent populations, especially mice. Foxes, who feed on rodents, keep ticks and Lyme disease down in urban areas in upstate New York. So let's employ a trained pack of dogs to keep the deer out and protect their canine cousins, the foxes, to keep the mice and Lyme disease out.

Urban CNY: Who's Going to be the Next Mayor of Syracuse?

... the Greens are running Howie Hawkins who said, “Syracuse city government has been in a reactive mode for too long. Instead of its own initiatives to set its own direction, it has been reacting to crises and the actions of others. As a result, the city suffers from persistent and growing problems”.


June 10, 2017

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): Syracuse mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins on the Campbell Conversations

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ELLEN ABBOTT /  WRVO NEWS FILE PHOTO

(Audio: 23 minutes) Howie Hawkins has run for many local, regional, and statewide offices. This year he has thrown his hat in the ring again, as Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor. Many of the ideas he has championed in the past have ultimately been taken up by Democrats, and some have been turned into law—but could this be the election where he will have a more direct say on future policy? Hawkins joins host Grant Reeher on this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations. They discuss taxes, education, segregation, fairness, and economic development, and also how Spanish kept the candidate from receiving an Ivy-League degree.


June 8, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Democrats take fight to the streets in opening battle for Syracuse mayor's seat

As the party's designated candidate, he has more than 200 committee members expected to collect 15 signatures apiece on his behalf.

That institutional support frees Nicoletti to take more time shaking hands, attending events and focusing on his campaign.

Among those committee members expected to collect signatures for Nicoletti are Masterpole and Perez Williams. Perez Williams said she wouldn't do Nicoletti's leg work, since she had her own campaign to worry about. If that cost her a position on the committee, she said, so be it.

Masterpole, on the other hand, said he would "be a good Democrat" and get one sheet of signatures for Nicoletti.

"I'll do my duties," he said....

Laura Lavine, the race's lone Republican, said she wouldn't pass her own petitions, but rather let committee members collect the 508 signatures she needs. 

Howie Hawkins will need the signatures of 19 city Greens to get that party's line.

Ben Walsh will not begin passing petitions until July, since the process for an independent comes after the major parties. He will need 1,349 signatures from people who haven't already signed for a major party candidate.

Walsh will, however, need the signature of one of the city's six Reform Party members in order to get that line on the ballot. He said last week that he had spoken with some party members and should have no problem getting that signature.


June 5, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: We asked each Syracuse mayoral candidate: What's your best idea?

Howie Hawkins (G)

Uplifting poor and working-class people will improve the quality of life for all, which will retain and attract middle-class people and businesses and move the whole city toward a sustainable shared prosperity.

Concentrated poverty impacts us all. It yields higher crime, violence, substance abuse, incarceration, mental and physical illness, and social division and discrimination. It lowers property values, educational outcomes, and social mobility and empathy.

We need a realistic anti-poverty program. The first step is to improve and enforce equal opportunity and anti-discrimination policies, including inclusionary zoning in housing, school desegregation, and strong enforcement of equal employment, minority contracting, and fair housing laws.

The fastest way to get good jobs to poor people is to make sure city residents and minorities get their fair share of city-funded jobs with city departments and contractors. I will establish a Community Hiring Hall to serve as a primary labor source that helps city departments and contractors, as well as other employers, meet affirmative action goals for hiring city residents and minorities.

The best longer term anti-poverty strategy is to build community wealth by developing worker cooperatives where the wealth labor creates stays with the workers and their families as income and assets. I oppose giving more grants and tax breaks to absentee-owned companies and upscale housing projects. I will establish a Municipal Development Bank to help plan, advise and finance worker cooperatives, including in partnership with University Hill's hospitals and universities in nearby low-income neighborhoods on the model of Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives.


June 2, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: All 9 Syracuse mayoral candidates meet face-to-face for the first time

The candidates participated in a forum with the South Side chapter of Tomorrow's Neighborhoods Today on Thursday evening, answering questions from a moderator and from residents. About 100 people attended the event at the South Side Innovation Center....

The most frequently asked questions, however, concerned poverty, education and policing in the city. Some people didn't ask a question, but voiced emotional concerns about the state of the city and its government.... 

One young man said he disagreed with most candidates that the city needs more officers on the street. Only Howie Hawkins has said he doesn't believe the city needs more officers. 

CNY Central (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Meet candidates for Syracuse's top seat

"If you build good housing and you want to deconcentrate poverty, attract some middle class people down here and spread the social capital around," added Howie Hawkins, Green Party mayoral candidate.


June 1, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Green Party beefs up Syracuse Council ticket with Eric Graf for 2nd district

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Eric Graf, front, center, is the Green Party candidate for the 2nd district seat on the Syracuse Common Council. He announced his candidacy at a press conference at Stonethrower's Park on Tipperary Hill, Thursday, June 1, 2017.(Chris Baker | cbaker@syracuse.com)

Eric Graf announced Thursday he will seek the 2nd district seat on the Syracuse Common Council. That seat is currently held by Democrat Chad Ryan, who is seeking a third term this fall.

With Graf, the Green Party now has a four-person ticket for November. Frank Cetera is running for councilor-at-large and Serena Seals is running in the 4th district. Howie Hawkins is the Green candidate for mayor.

In a speech that cited Abraham Lincoln, activist Angela Davis and Rage Against the Machine, Graf outlined an argument against a two-party political system. He said he supports proportional representation and rank choice voting in the city, where voters list candidates in order of preference. He also would like to increase the number of councilors who represent the city.

Graf said the city must focus on "grassroots democracy" and that the Democratic Party's stranglehold on city politics for most of the last five decades has not benefited residents.


May 30, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Will the next Syracuse mayor raise property taxes? 

Howie Hawkins (G)

I would raise property taxes only as a last resort. Instead, I will pursue progressive tax reforms to make our tax base broader and fairer and enable us to lower property taxes, which are high and regressive, averaging 6% of working-class incomes, 4% of middle-class incomes, and 2% on top 1% incomes.

City Income Tax: The city should seek state legislation enabling Syracuse, like New York City and Yonkers, to have a small (1% on average) progressively graduated tax on income earned in the city by residents and commuters.

State Revenue Sharing: The next mayor should be at the forefront of a coalition of upstate cities and towns demanding that the state restore revenue sharing to previous levels to pay for its unfunded mandates.

Countywide Property Tax Sharing: Adopt the Consensus Commission's recommendation for a countywide property tax-sharing system that will bridge differences in fiscal capacity among municipalities and replace counter-productive beggar-thy-neighbor competition between municipalities with regional cooperation because development anywhere now benefits taxpayers everywhere.

New York Health Act: This single-payer plan to cover all New Yorkers for all medically necessary services has passed the Assembly and is one vote short of passage in the Senate. Its 8% employer payroll tax would radically cut health insurance costs by $42 million for the city, $38 million for the school district, and $152 million for the county (including the $98 million Medicaid mandate). It would eradicate the city's recurring $15 million or so structural deficit and enable us to lower property taxes.

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): Green Party pressures DeFrancisco on single-payer health care

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Green Party activists outside state Sen. John DeFrancisco's office last week.
TOM MAGNARELLI /  WRVO NEWS
Green Party candidates in Syracuse are pushing state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) to support universal health care in New York. The bill could be close to getting a majority of senators to sign on.

Syracuse mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins said DeFrancisco is the only New York state legislator representing the city that is not in favor of a single-payer system.

“We want John to be a hero for Syracuse, because this bill would solve the city’s fiscal crisis,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said single-payer would save the city tens of millions of dollars in health care costs and relieve the burden on counties to pay a portion of Medicaid.

“We know John DeFrancisco opposes unfunded mandates, here’s his chance to get the biggest one off the county budget,” Hawkins said.

The system would be paid for with federal funds that come to New York, like Medicaid, and a progressively graduated income and payroll tax. Hawkins claims 98 percent of New Yorkers would pay less for health coverage and just the top 2 percent would pay more. And he said the bill, which has passed the Assembly, needs just one more vote to pass the Senate.

But DeFrancisco says he is certain that a majority of state senators actually do not support single-payer.


May 26, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Andrew Maxwell drops out of race for Syracuse mayor

Maxwell is the first Democrat to drop out of the race. Since the party endorsed Nicoletti, five candidates have declared their intent to challenge him -- Marty Masterpole, Juanita Perez Williams, Chris Fowler, Alfonso Davis and Raymond Blackwell.  

Other candidates in the race are Republican Laura Lavine, Green Party member Howie Hawkins and independent Ben Walsh.


May 24, 2017

WAER (NPR, Syracuse University): Green Party Candidates Push for Senate Approval of Single Payer Health Care Plan

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Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor Howie Hawkins says single-payer health care in NY would mean significant savings for both individuals and local governments. At his side is 4th common council district candidate Rahzie Seals.
CREDIT SCOTT WILLIS / WAER NEWS

Green Party candidates for Syracuse mayor and common council are rallying support for a universal health insurance plan that's now one vote shy of support in the state senate. The New York Health Act is a single public payer system financed by progressively graduated taxes on payrolls and non-payroll income such as capital gains and interest.

Mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins says federal funds for Medicaid, Medicare, and the family and child health plus programs would be folded in, resulting in savings for all but the wealthiest New Yorkers. "For 98 percent of New Yorkers, they would pay less for health care than they do now, especially those who make less than $100,000.”

District council candidate Rahzie Seals counts herself among that group. She works as a night auditor at a hotel. "The insurance offered to me is costly. I get paid every week, just over minimum wage. Insurance alone is over $130 out of my check. I need this health plan. People in my district need this health plan."

The single public payer plan would not only help individuals. Hawkins says it could also solve Syracuse’s looming fiscal crisis. "The city operating budget would save $42 million. The school district would save $38 million. That's $80 million in savings for the whole city. The city's recurring structural deficit is $15 million. As you probably know, we're within a year or two of going insolvent.”...


May 22, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Which of Syracuse's mayoral candidates would veto cuts to the Land Bank?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I agree with the Council's decision for two reasons.

First, the city needs to conserve its fund balance until it secures new revenue though progressive tax reforms. The recurring structural deficit between expected revenues and expenses is about $15 million a year. With less than $20 million left in reserves going into the next mayor's first budget, the city is on the brink of insolvency.

Second, I want to review how the Land Bank fits into the city's overall housing policy, which should be deconcentrating segregated poverty and expanding affordable rental housing and home ownership. We need inclusionary zoning that requires new housing projects above a minimum size to include low-income, moderate-income and market-rate units.

I look around my south side neighborhood and see homes that should be rehabbed instead slated for demolition by the Land Bank. That undermines the historic architectural character of the neighborhood, including the beautiful interior woodwork in many of these properties. These qualities should be selling points for encouraging middle-class residents into this high-poverty area. Instead, lots are being assembled for redevelopment as low-income housing projects, further concentrating poverty in new housing that is inferior to the structures they replaced.

I support the Land Bank as an important tool for a housing policy aimed at decreasing concentrated poverty, increasing affordable housing, and expanding the property tax base. But for the next year, given the city's fiscal crisis and pending reforms to city housing policies, I support keeping that $1.5 million in the city's reserve fund.


May 19, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Black Lives Matter leader Rahzie Seals to run for Syracuse Common Council

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Serena "Rahzie" Seals will run for a seat on the Syracuse Common Council this fall. Seals announced her candidacy at the Green Party headquarters, 2617 S. Salina St., Friday, May 19, 2017. (Chris Baker | cbaker@syracuse.com)

Activist and Black Lives Matter organizer Serena Seals will seek a seat in city government this fall.

Seals -- who goes by "Rahzie" -- is running for the Common Council's 4th district seat, currently held by Khalid Bey. Bey is vacating the seat to run for councilor at-large.

Seals, 33, will run as part of the Green Party ticket. Howie Hawkins is the Green candidate for mayor and Frank Cetera is running for councilor at-large.

Seals' father, Thomas Seals, was a city police officer and former Common Councilor. He represented the 4th district from 2003 to 2011. When he left, Hawkins ran for the seat, losing to Bey.

Last year, Seals helped organize Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the Father's Day shooting on the Near Westside. She operates an entertainment organization called BlackCuse Pride, which provides events and support for the inner city LGBTQ community.

"I'm a running under the Movement for Black Lives platform," Seals said. "And Syracuse where all black lives matter, everyone's life will matter."


May 15, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse mayoral candidate Hawkins: 'Count me out' of hiring more police

Syracuse Common Councilors Steve Thompson and Nader Maroun state in their letter on the city budget amendments ("Councilors: Budget amendments were fiscally sound for Syracuse," Post-Standard, May 14) that "all of the candidates campaigning to become the next mayor [want to] hire more police officers."

As the Green Party candidate for mayor, count me out....

If elected, I will review police staffing needs with the new police chief I will hire in light of my commitment to community policing and neighborhood safety initiatives.

Much research and experience supports crime prevention programs as a more cost-effective crime reduction policy than hiring more police.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Should Syracuse be a sanctuary city? 10 mayoral candidates tackle the issue

I would declare Syracuse a sanctuary city because it protects public safety and the freedoms that all of us, citizens and non-citizens alike, enjoy under the 4th and 10th amendments to the U.S Constitution.

Sanctuary city means local law enforcement does not arbitrarily search and seize people for residency documents and does not report undocumented people to, or detain them for, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without a court order.

The 4th Amendment prohibits arbitrary search and seizure without a court-ordered warrant. The 10th Amendment prohibits the feds from commandeering local officials to carry out federal policy, making Trump's threats to cut grants to Sanctuary Cities unconstitutionally coercive.

A sanctuary city protects public safety because it enables members of immigrant communities - at least one in 10 Syracuse residents - to report crimes and serve as cooperating witnesses in legal proceedings without fear of deportation.

Unfortunately, the county sheriff, who takes custody of people arrested by city police, says he will comply with detention requests from ICE. The courts have repeatedly ruled that detaining suspected undocumented immigrants for ICE past their scheduled release dates without warrants illegally violates detainees' Fourth Amendment rights. The sheriff's policy also contradicts the sanctuary city guidelines of the state Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau.

Sanctuary cities thus comply with the law - they don't defy the law. The next mayor should urge the sheriff to change his policy because it is illegal and undermines public safety and constitutional rights in the city.


May 13, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Joe Nicoletti hopes 5th time is a charm while fellow Democrats gear up to fight him

The party narrowly selected its preferred option Saturday, picking Joe Nicoletti with 51 percent of votes from a 204-person committee. 

It's Nicoletti's fifth outing as a mayoral contender.

In 1985 he lost a Democratic primary to Tom Young. In 1993 he defeated Joe Fahey in a primary before losing to Republican Roy Bernardi. In 2001 he switched to the Republican Party while considering running again (he switched back shortly after). And in 2009 he lost in a primary to Stephanie Miner, the party's designee.

Nicoletti will have institutional support heading into September, but will need to ward off at least two other Democrats in a primary and -- if he wins -- battle a Green, a Republican and an independent in the general election.

Waiting to face the Democratic nominee in November's general election will be at least three other challengers....

Perez Williams spoke proudly while withdrawing from the party endorsement Saturday (she received just 6 percent of the initial committee vote). She outlined very clearly a pair of things that immediately set her apart from Nicoletti: She's a minority and she's a woman....

The Republicans have endorsed Laura Lavine, a former school superintendent. The Greens have put up Howie Hawkins, who has a steady base of support in the city. And the Reform Party has embraced Ben Walsh, an independent and a political legacy in Central New York -- his father was a Congressman and his grandfather a two-term mayor.

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse Democrats endorse Joe Nicoletti for mayor

Nicoletti was one of seven Democrats seeking the party's endorsement. He won the on the second round of voting in a close matchup against Andrew Maxwell.... 

After seeing fledgling support in the first round of voting, Marty Masterpole and Juanita Perez Williams bowed out of the mayoral designation race. Nicoletti had a slight lead over Maxwell. The vote then went to a second round.

Nicoletti won 51 percent of the second vote. Maxwell took 48 percent. Alfonso Davis earned 1 percent. 

Two other Democrats -- Perez Williams and Chris Fowler -- plan to carry their campaigns to a primary. Raymond Blackwell suggested Saturday he may primary as well....

The Republicans have endorsed Laura Lavine. Ben Walsh, an independent, plans to create his own ballot line and has been endorsed by the Reform Party. Howie Hawkins will run with the Green Party.


May 11, 2017

CNYCentral (Sinclair: CBS, NBC, CW): Meet the people running for mayor in 2017

Howie Hawkins (Running as Green Party candidate)

Hawkins says he is running on the vision of a "Sustainable Syracuse that uplifts its poor and working-class people and retains and attracts middle-class residents and businesses." Hawkins says problems like the city's fiscal deficit, poverty and aging infrastructure need to be addressed to make that happen.


May 9, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Green Party's Frank Cetera to seek at-large seat on Syracuse Common Council

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Frank Cetera is running for one of two vacant at-large seats on the Syracuse Common Council. Cetera, a member of the Green Party, ran for the council's 2nd district in 2015. (Chris Baker | cbaker@syracuse.com)

Cetera, 44, lives on the city's Near Westside with his wife, activist Ursula Rozum. He works for the Onondaga Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College, consulting small- and medium-sized businesses. He is an official with the teachers union there, a delegate to the Greater Syracuse Labor Council and board president of Cooperative Federal Credit Union.

Among his top priorities for the city are creating a municipal sidewalk program to keep sidewalks clear of snow, creating a worker's cooperative to stabilize the workforce and forging collective relationships with the county and the state.

He also supports a progressive income tax for people who live and work in the city, something proposed by Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins.


May 8, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: How do Syracuse's mayoral candidates plan to reduce city crime?

Howie Hawkins (G)

I will draw on the Richmond, California model of community policing and neighborhood safety initiatives. It is real community policing - not a small public relations unit. Officers are assigned to neighborhoods and build relationships with residents and businesses. An Office of Neighborhood Safety with 12 staff works with gang members and the formerly incarcerated to help them secure education, employment, counseling, and drug treatment - or face the consequences if they return to criminal activity.

Much like Syracuse, Richmond is a predominantly working class city of over 100,000. 80% are people of color. A Green mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, hired a police chief committed to this approach. During her 2006-2014 mayoral term, homicides - which had exceeded 40 per year for decades - dropped 75% from 42 in 2006 to 11 in 2014. Violent crimes dropped 23%. Property crimes dropped 40%. The police diversified from 20% to 60% officers of color.

A 1980 federal consent decree to remedy past discrimination against blacks by the Syracuse Police Department set a goal of 10% black officers in all ranks. Today only 7% of the police in any rank are black, Latino, Native American, or Asian in a city that is 28% black and 49% people of color. 37 years after the federal consent decree, this is simply unacceptable.

Hiring a new police chief is a crucial decision for the next mayor. The culture of policing must change. Improving community relations and diversifying hiring and promotion in the police will help reduce crime.

Daily Orange (Syracuse University): Howie Hawkins declares 3rd mayoral run in 13 years

The mayoral candidate is centering his campaign on his “Sustainable Syracuse”vision, which promotes desegregation of neighborhoods and employment, progressive tax reform, community policing and publicly-owned and modernized infrastructure and utilities.

The campaign platform also includes a plan to establish a community hiring hall to help Syracuse residents obtain city and city-contractor jobs while simultaneously fulfilling affirmative action goals for minority hiring in city jobs. It also includes a plan to encourage voter turnout and promote publicly and community-owned business growth.


May 5, 2017

WAER (NPR, Syracuse University: Green Party's Howie Hawkins will Try a Run at Syracuse Mayor Once Again

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Howie Hawkins entered the crowded field for Syracuse Mayor Thursday
CREDIT CHRIS BOLT/WAER NEWS

The Syracuse mayoral race grew to a total of 10 candidates Thursday after the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins officially declared his plans to run. He last sought the office in 2005, and says some of the ideas in his platform have since been picked by the last two mayors. Hawkins calls his strategic vision for the city “Sustainable Syracuse.”

“What I’m talking about with sustainability, and this is the vision we want to go over the next 4 or 8 years, is a city that has a sustainable prosperity -- sustainable fiscally, economically and ecologically.”

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Hawkins says some of the ideas he generated for a 2005 run for mayor, also called Sustainable Syracuse, could still work. Though he emphasizes ideas should come from people in the neighborhoods.
CREDIT CHRIS BOLT/WAER NEWS

One key component to get the city on better fiscal ground is progressive tax reform.

“Because if the city doesn’t have the revenues to carry out its programs, we’re just managing the decline. Like this year cuts road repair in half, from $5 million to $2.5 million; we’ve cut fire stations; we cut the Ida Benderson Senior center. I have a menu of things; probably the top one is a city income tax. It would tax us residents, but also people who commute here and use city services but don’t pay for them.”

...But one area that hasn’t seen much progress is a publicly owned utility. Hawkins says it could serve as an economic stimulus by simply lowering the cost of living and doing business in the city. It could also be a way to make the city even greener.

“If we want to go to 100% clean energy, we’ve got to be able to build the generation. And you can only do that with a public utility. And you only have the power to make that choice with a publicly owned utility. We want to get National Greed, as the people call it, out of here and have the city own its own power utility.”

Much of Hawkins’ vision is community-based to create jobs and lift residents out of poverty.

“That’s where a community hiring hall comes in, strengthening these equal-employment, minority-contracting agreements and also where we have community-benefit agreements. The longer-term strategy to create good jobs is to create community-owned enterprises, because then you can pay living wages. The worker gets the full fruit of their labor, because at the end of the year, the profit doesn’t go to an absentee owner. It comes back to the workers in proportion to the labor they contributed. And that way we can uplift the poor and working-class people, so they have assets.”...

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): Hawkins dives into Syracuse mayoral race

The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins is officially in the race for mayor of Syracuse.

Hawkins last ran for the office 12 years ago, on a “Sustainable Syracuse” platform. He’s retrofitting that same slogan for 2017.

“What I’m talking with sustainability -- and this is the vision we want to go in the next four to eight years -- is a city that has a sustainable prosperity," Hawkins said. "Sustainable fiscally, economically and ecologically.”

To do that, Hawkins is proposing tax reforms, including a city income tax that would apply to residents and anyone who works in the city. He says it would bring $30 million badly need dollars into city coffers.

"It would tax us residents, but also people who commute here and use city services that don’t pay for them," Hawkins said. "And most of those are the people, the jobs that pay the best income, middle and upper income, University Hill and downtown. And I think that's the way to increase revenues."

He also proposes a community hiring hall to get more residents into city jobs, and creation of a public power utility to create more affordable and renewable energy.


May 4, 2017

Spectrum News: Howie Hawkins Joins Syracuse Mayoral Race

Hawkins believes the climate may be the right issue to tackle for a third party candidate to win the city's top seat.

He also ran for mayor of Syracuse in 2005 as a member of the Green party. The last time he ran for mayor, he offered a Sustainable Syracuse plan.

He says some of his ideas have been used by other politicians and believes the time is now to put more of his ideas in motion.

"The poor people in the city don't have 20 years to wait, none of us have 20 years to wait given radical climate change," Hawkins said. "Instead of just being ahead of the curb, this time we want to get into office and accelerate the progress."...

There could be a four-way race for mayor in November.


May 1, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: What do Syracuse's mayoral candidates think of the $15M gondola at the NYS Fair?

Howie Hawkins (G)

The Gondola is a waste of $15 million of state money. There are many higher priorities. If the state wants to spend $15 million to help move people around our community, it should restore the cuts in state transportation funding that Centro took between 2008 and 2011 when routes were cut and fares doubled from $1 to $2.


April 30, 2017

WSYR-TV (ABC, Syracuse): Newsmakers: Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins

(22 minute video) This week on Newsmakers, Dan’s guest is the tenth person to announce that they’re running for mayor of Syracuse this year.

Compared to the other nine, Green Party’s Howie Hawkins has by far the most experience seeking elective office — having run at least 20 times for various offices.


April 24, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Which Syracuse mayoral candidates have kids in city schools?

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins does not have children.


April 23, 2017

Spectrum News: Howie Hawkins Plans Green Party Run for Syracuse Mayor

SPECTRUM NEWS VIDEO: He lost his bid in the 2005 Syracuse Mayoral Race, but that's not stopping him from running again. Our Corina Cappabianca caught up with Howie Hawkins, who plans to be on the Green Party line of the ticket.

April 22, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Green Party's Howie Hawkins will make his third run for Syracuse mayor

Syracuse's stalwart Green Party candidate will run for mayor this fall....

In his most recent race against City Auditor Marty Masterpole in 2015, Hawkins took 35 percent of the vote in a citywide race. In a mayoral general election that could have at least four candidates, those kind of numbers would make him competitive.

Even if he doesn't win, Hawkins aims to bring awareness to his party's platform. In races against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2010 and 2014, he advocated for issues like a living wage for workers, a ban on fracking and a millionaires' tax. Cuomo has since adopted all of those issues.

"If we don't win, we still put issues on the table, get them discussed and move the ball forward," Hawkins said. "But it would be nice to be in there and -- with public power -- follow through."


April 20, 2017

Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse's South Side Co-op survives one year with NY grant. Now, it's up to shoppers

Eat to Live, the cooperative grocery on South Salina Street, has made it through a full year....

"Going forward it depends on people coming in and shopping," said co-op secretary-treasurer Howie Hawkins....

Eat to Live is a co-op. It means members run the grocery. A lifetime membership costs $100. Members can vote on the board members and policy. Once the store turns a profit, the members will get a share in proportion to how much they spend at the store.

The co-op is also in a food desert. That's a designation from the federal government that means a full-service grocery is more than a mile away....

Hawkins said last week the store is financially on schedule. Both overhead costs and sales have been down, an off-set that leaves the store in good shape to turn a profit by its fifth year as planned, Hawkins said.

"The core people are committed," Hawkins said. "Now it's a matter of finding what works and making it happen."


March 1, 2017

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): Hawkins anticipates run for mayor of Syracuse, his third in as many decades

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Green Party leader Howie Hawkins
TOM MAGNARELLI /  WRVO FILE PHOTO

It’s not official yet, but Syracuse Green Party stalwart Howie Hawkins expects to join the crowded field running for the mayor of Syracuse....

This campaign comes after he’s run for more than a dozen other elections, including races for common council; governor; and two years ago, city auditor. It’s that last race that makes Hawkins optimistic. He pulled in more than 5,000 votes in a city-wide race.

“If we have a four way race -- which it looks like it’s shaping up to be -- a Democrat, a Republican, [independent] Ben Walsh and me,  5,249 votes would be competitive,” Hawkins says. “So we think we got a shot.”

On the issues, Hawkins lists crime, jobs and education as the things that need fixing.  He proposes more youth programs and community policing, a municipal development bank to build worker cooperatives that create jobs, and desegregation to improve city schools.


February 25, 2017

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): Rob Bick and Howie Hawkins on the Campbell Conversations

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Howie Hawkins (l) and Rob Bick (r) on the Campbell Conversations
WRVO PUBLIC MEDIA

(Audio: 24 minutes) Last week on the program, we heard an argument supporting the Consensus Commission on Government Modernization's final report for Onondaga County, which among other things, recommends the merging of governments for the county and city of Syracuse. This week, we hear from two critics of the report, Rob Bick from the town of Clay and Howie Hawkins from the city of Syracuse.


February 22, 2017

WRVO (NPR, SUNY-Oswego): Green Party wants new government structure in CNY, but not the one suggested by Consensus

“The governing structure they propose basically disempowers city residents,” said Hawkins. “And with the winner take all electoral system, creates a permanent majority that rules and the minority doesn’t get their fair share of representation and power.”

The Greens have a different idea.

“What we propose instead is a federated structure for metro governments, where you keep the town level governments outside the city, and in the city, set up neighborhood governments that are comparable,” said Hawkins.

He says that would make government more democratic and more local at the same time. The one thing neither of these new entities would do though, according to Hawkins, is substantially reduce the cost of government, which is the way Gov. Cuomo is framing his support for consolidations like this.

“The argument for merging is better infrastructure and service,“ said Hawkins. “If you want to deal with the fiscal problems, the state’s got to pay for its unfunded mandates.”


February 16, 2017

WAER (NPR, Syracuse University): Onondaga County Green Party Leader says Consensus Report has Merits, Flaws

The chair of the Green Party in Onondaga County says a metropolitan government is needed to address segregation, poverty, and economic stagnation. But Howie Hawkins says the model proposed by the consensus commission would only amplify those problems.

He agrees with consensus that the recommendations to consolidate 16 functions of government like road maintenance and public safety can probably be done now and relatively quickly to provide better infrastructure and services.


February 14, 2017

Post-Standard: Likely mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins: Merger plan is 'consolidation of segregation'

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Add the Green Party to the list of political entities critical of a plan to merge city and county governments.

Chairman Howie Hawkins authored a 1,500-word statement on behalf of the Green Party that champions many of Consensus' recommendations while arguing that the proposed metropolitan government isn't comprehensive enough.

"The city is reduced to a special tax district to pay on its debts and underfunded schools," Hawkins wrote. "Schools and public housing remain segregated from the rest of the county, which has the the most 'concentrated' (i.e., segregated) poverty of any metro region in the nation. This is the consolidation of segregation."

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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor