Campbell Conversations

The New York State budget process was different this year than years past. There was a new “man in the room,” and there were many significant policy proposals attached to it; some were incorporated and some were tabled for later consideration.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher breaks down that process with State Senator Dave Valesky, who argues that the process was actually better in many ways.  Valesky also comments on his Independent Democratic Conference, its new role in the Senate, and its future prospects. 

How is the Syracuse region doing with the vitality of its wildlife and the health of its outdoor sports industries?  Has the winter had an impact?  And what can be done about the city's growing problem with deer?  On this week's episode of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher explores those questions with David Figura, the outdoors writer for The Post-Standard and syracuse.com.  They also discuss life for sportspersons post-SAFE Act, and Figura's new book about men dealing with middle age, 

Rob Simpson heads CenterState CEO, the region's principal business development non-profit organization, and he also co-chairs the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council.  In this episode of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher engages Simpson on the economic development debates currently circulating in the Syracuse region, and the prospects for recapturing economic vibrancy.

The Throwaways is a documentary film featuring a formerly incarcerated homeless man, Ira McKinley, and his struggles to reintegrate into and also change his local community in Albany, New York.  He was joined on the film by local independent filmmaker Bhawin Suchak, the founder of YouthFX in Albany.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher discusses the film's making and purpose with the two collaborators. 

Last December, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse hired a new executive director, Elizabeth Dunbar.  She inherited a difficult financial situation, and has been serving double duty as the museum's temporary curator.  Host Grant Reeher engages her in a discussion of the challenges facing the museum, her strategies for renewed financial and artistic vibrancy, and the cultural function of an art museum in a small city. 

If kids spend a lot of time in front of display screens, is it bad for the environment?  Having a visceral connection to the outdoors is key to good environmental stewardship, argues this week’s guest on the Campbell Conversations.  Grant Reeher talks about habitat, species, and politics with Collin O’Mara, the current President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. O’Mara is a former Delaware state cabinet official, a native of Camillus, New York, and the inventor of the City of Syracuse’s Syrastat system. 

Most public school teachers are feeling embattled these days, with public criticisms of their effectiveness and calls for tougher evaluations and promotion criteria.  At the same time, public schools in poorer districts are being asked to do more and more to help address the broader social and economic problems manifesting themselves among school populations.  How are teachers experiencing these challenges?  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher speaks with Kevin Ahern, a product of the Syracuse City school system, a longtime English teacher in the system, and currently President of the Syracuse Teachers Association.

Have interracial couples moved beyond race in their relationships?  Are they color-blind?  This week on the Campbell Conversations, sociologist Amy Steinbugler joins host Grant Reeher to discuss that question, based on her new book, Beyond Loving.  She argues that these couples must still navigate difficult racial terrain in their relationships.  And this terrain gets even more complicated for interracial couples who are gay and lesbian, another group she studied for the book.

This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his series on poverty in the Syracuse region, with a discussion of criminal legal representation for the poor.  Grant is joined by two attorneys who provide indigent legal representation, Sheldon Gould and Francis Walter.  Together they sketch out how the system of indigent representation works, its challenges, ways to improve it, and how their experiences have changed their own views toward the poor.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has held that position for the last 20 years, was arrested recently and charged with several counts of corruption. He's also accused of taking more that $4 million in kickbacks.

After several days of closed door meetings, Silver agreed to step down from his position as Speaker. An election will happen soon in the Assembly to choose a new Speaker, but what happens then.

Berkeley Political Scientist Wendy Brown offers an interesting spin on the Citizens United case—the problem is not that corporations are seen as people; it’s that people are only seen as political entrepreneurs, and not citizens. And that move reflects a bigger problem she has written a book about—the shift in much of our thinking toward a market mentality.  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher has a substantive conversation about a supposedly encroaching neoliberalism with Brown, the author of Undoing the Demos.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

On January 6, John Katko takes the Oath of Office as the 24th district's Congressional representative.  On this episode of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with the Congressman-elect about his learning curve during the orientation, the transition from Dan Maffei, his legislative priorities and his committee assignments, the continuing problem of political polarization in Washington, and the racial tensions surrounding law enforcement.

Since the Great Recession, non-profit organizations have struggled to get the resources that they need, and many have failed.  They’ve also had to adapt to new technology, which has changed the ways that people want to give, and raised their expectations of transparency.  This week on the Campbell Conversations Grant Reeher discusses those challenges with Peter Brinkerhoff, an expert on non-profit organizations and their management, and the author of several award-winning books in the non-profit field.

Richard Ravitch has had a life full of significant public service positions in New York City, and has assumed those positions at critical times.  He has a memoir out, titled So Much To Do.  In this conversation with host Grant Reeher, Ravitch looks back on some of those experiences, and argues that a sense of collective responsibility and shared sacrifice were the keys to overcoming the challenges, and considers how those qualities are faring in today's political climate.

  Last September Zephyr Teachout challenged Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor, and claimed 33 percent of the vote, more than anyone predicted at the start of her run.  The Fordham law professor now has a book out on corruption in American politics, and in this episode of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with her about that, and about her experiences on the campaign trail.

Poverty has long been understood to be a root cause of crime.  What's less well understood is how crime--and the criminal justice system--contribute to poverty.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher explores that dynamic with Marsha Weissman, the executive director of the Center for Community Alternatives, an organization dedicated to finding alternatives to incarceration and supporting people in the criminal justice system.

How is the problem of Latin American immigration and the recent wave of immigrant children seen by two spokespersons for the region?  On this week's episode of the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher speaks with Francisco Altschul, El Salvador's Ambassador to the United States, and Julio Ligorria, Guatemala's Ambassador.  Together they encourage American listeners to understand and appreciate the historical context for the current problem, and press for the idea of shared responsibility--for the past, and for addressing the problem in the future.

In the final segment of the Campbell Conversation joint interviews with candidates, host Grant Reeher speaks with the candidates for New York State's 129th Assembly seat:  Democrat Incumbent Bill Magnarelli and Republican challenger Rick Zaccaria.  The two debate the Common Core, fracking, the state's business climate, and what it takes to be an effective legislator. 

Campbell Conversations

Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei and his Republican opponent John Katko appear together in their first debate of the campaign with Grant Reeher of the WRVO's Campbell Conversations. The two candidates for the 24th Congressional District have agreed to six debates before Election Day.

WRVO's debate has been broadcast in two parts. This second half focuses largely on domestic policy issues.

Campbell Conversations

The race for the 24th Congressional District has been characterized by its negative tone. WRVO's Grant Reeher moderated the first debate between Democrat incumbent Dan Maffei and Republican challenger John Katko. In the second part of the debate to be broadcast this Sunday on "The Campbell Conversations," the disagreement this time began with whether or not Katko would support the controversial budget plan designed by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan -- a question he has declined to answer in the past.

Grant Reeher: So you are not for the Ryan Budget?

John Katko: No.

Campbell Conversations

Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei and his Republican opponent John Katko appear together in their first debate of the campaign with Grant Reeher of the WRVO's Campbell Conversations. The two candidates for the 24th Congressional District have agreed to six debates before Election Day.

WRVO's debate will be broadcast in two parts. The first half includes a discussion on the campaign commercials for both candidates, as well as what the United States should do about the Islamic State (ISIS) and the spread of the Ebola virus. Part two will be broadcast Sunday, October 26 at 6 p.m.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

The race for the 24th Congressional District has been characterized by its negative campaign ads. Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, moderated the first debate between incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican challenger John Katko. In this portion of the debate, Reeher asked each candidate about their use of negative ads.

One of the most competitive state legislative races in this region is the contest for the 127th Assembly district seat, between incumbent Democrat Al Stirpe and Republican challenger Rob DeMarco.  DeMarco is a former prosecutor in the Onondaga County District Attorney's office.  In this conversation the two spar over whether the state provides a healthy climate for business development and how that relates to taxing and spending, the NY SAFE Act, and how much reform the state legislative process still needs.

This edition of the Campbell Conversations begins a series of joint conversations this fall with candidates in contested races for elected positions.  This week the two candidates for Onondaga County Sheriff join host Grant Reeher, in their first shared appearance.  Republican Gene Conway and Democrat Toby Shelley discuss their background and experience, the need to make changes at the sheriff's department, their vision for greater cooperation with other law enforcement agencies in the county, and just how vigorously they'll enforce the SAFE Act. 

Pavel Baev is a leading international expert on Russian foreign and security policy.  He grew up and studied in the former Soviet Union, worked in the Soviet Ministry of Defense, and is now a professor at Oslo's Peace Research Institute, as well as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Continuing its series on poverty in the Syracuse region, this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations focuses on an under-studied and under-appreciated aspect of the problem: adult literacy.  Peter Waite is the Executive Vice-President of ProLiteracy, and Marsha Tait is Executive Director of Literacy CNY.  Together they discuss how literacy and economic challenges interact.

This episode of the Campbell Conversations continues with the theme of poverty in the Syracuse region.  Host Grant Reeher talks with Tom Buckel, a former county legislator and partner in a large Syracuse law firm who now works as an Attorney for Legal Services of Central New York, and Deborah O'Shea, the pro bono coordinator for the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County.  They discuss poverty and the access to civil legal services.

Grant Reeher (GR): Can you give me a brief overview of the mission of your organization and the kind of work that it does?

Syracuse is one of the poorest cities in the nation.  The poorest of those poor, both individuals and families, struggle with homelessness.  As a first installment in an ongoing series on poverty in the Syracuse region, Grant Reeher talks with Kevin Frank, the Executive Director of the Brady Faith Center, located on Syracuse’s South Side.  Frank discusses his on-the-ground and in-the-street work with the homeless, and suggests what government, non-profit organizations, and all of us, can do to promote genuine relationships, which he sees as the key in addressing the problem.

Zephyr Teachout is mounting a spirited challenge to Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign, running against the incumbent governor in this September’s Democratic Primary.  So far the governor has refused to debate her, but in this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Teachout sits down with host Grant Reeher to discuss political reform, state policy, her chances in September and possibly November, and even her curious name.

When Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sent a letter to President Obama offering to host undocumented Latin American children at a former convent, a spirited version of the immigration debate erupted in the area.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his interview of both Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  They discuss the  hosting decision, and also have a more general conversation about leadership and politics in the region.

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