The quiet councilor: Chad Ryan's style in city hall

Apr 15, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse city councilor Chad Ryan has served in the chamber for a fraction of the time as some of peers but he’s also asked a fraction of the questions, in public at least.

Councilor Chad Ryan sits at the end of the table during council study sessions or committee meetings, he’ll often wave off his chance to ask a question. It’s not shyness, he says in an interview, but maybe a little humility.

"I guess I wouldn’t say I’m shy," he said. "Certainly tentative about what you say in the chambers."

Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank/City of Syracuse

There is disagreement between the Syracuse city council and its school district over just how much of an impact the land bank is having on the district's budget.

The Syracuse public school system projects it will collect nearly a $1 million less this year because of properties acquired by the city’s land bank.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The lieutenant governor for New York says the state has money for infrastructure investment in sources other than the economic development competitions.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a recent visit to Syracuse she understands the need for infrastructure upgrades in upstate, but disagrees with some leaders, including Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who say fixing pipes and roads is necessary for economic development.

Katko lays out priorities for first term in Congress

Feb 18, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Rep. John Katko will focus this term in office on mental health, security and poverty.

The first-term Syracuse area congressman told reporters what he wants to spend his time on. Those points range from promoting tourism to protecting the area’s agricultural sector.

Katko, R-Camillus, spoke in depth about improving Syracuse’s high poverty rate. He says in his position, he’ll look to be an advocate for decreasing unemployment and school dropout rates. "And there’s no easy answers, but raising the awareness is a start of trying to get a solution to the problem," he said.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a stop in Syracuse Wednesday he cares more about upstate New York than previous administrations.

Cuomo says investments in nanotech in Albany and the Buffalo Billion are paying off for those regions. He’s put forward a competition plan for other regions, like Syracuse, to compete for a half billion in aid. And he wants to expand broadband internet coverage across upstate.

Cuomo spent a significant amount of his speech at SUNY-ESF talking about education reform.

stgermh / Flickr

Carl Heastie was elected unanimously by Democrats in the Assembly to be the next speaker, less than two weeks after former Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged with running a massive multi-million dollar corruption scheme.

Heastie, the first African-American speaker in the Assembly’s 237 year history, gave a brief speech to the chamber, where he focused on moving on from the scandal brought on the Assembly by his predecessor.

-JvL- / Flickr

There is plenty of campaigning going on within the state Assembly from members hoping to become the next speaker. This after the long-time leader of the chamber faces criminal corruption charges.

Two of Onondaga County's lawmakers in the chamber say they haven’t picked sides yet, while one announced his choice Friday.

Assembly members Joseph Lentol and Keith Wright have dropped their candidacies to become the new leader of the state Assembly. Majority Leader Joseph Morelle did so as well on Friday:

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner has laid out her agenda for 2015. It focuses on the fundamentals of local government and recurring themes from her.

Miner, a Democrat, is entering her fifth year in the city's top elected office. In an address at the studios of public broadcaster WCNY, she talked about the successes the city saw in 2014, such as its high school graduation rate finally rising above 50 percent. 

Then she touched on the tension within the Syracuse school district that has embroiled it for much of the past year.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Freshman Republican Rep. John Katko isn’t backing the president’s plan for free community college, but he says it’s a discussion worth having.

President Barack Obama proposed a free Associates Degree for community college students in his State of the Union address last night.

"Can we afford that? I don’t know. But should we talk about the affordability of college for people on a general matter? Absolutely. And I think there’s something there we can work with," said Katko, the congressman for central New York, afterward.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued the roll out of his 2015 agenda Tuesday with details of an infrastructure plan that includes upgrading New York City region airports to providing broadband for upstate rural areas.

The governor also offered clues to another key item, education, where he seems determined to take on the status quo.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Governments in Onondaga County spend an average of $3,900 per resident each year. And spending on each of the 468,000 people in the county is rising.

Those are some of the findings in a new report out on government consolidation.

Center for Government Research president Joseph Stekfo says municipalities that go through consolidation typically see noticeable savings but that’s if governments and residents are willing. He says any change in municipal services pulls at people expectations of community.

Doug Kerr / via Flickr

More than two-thirds of residents in Onondaga County live in one community and commute to another one to work each day.

The town of Otisco has the most mobile residents. Eighty-nine percent -- 89.3 percent, to be exact -- of them work in a different town. They also have the longest commute from their homes in the southwest corner of the county, at 29 minutes.

Spafford residents were a close second, with 88.8 percent of them also driving an average 29 minutes each morning and evening.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

How does Congressman John Katko suggest improving the productivity rate of the House of Representatives? By trying really hard.

Rep. Katko (R-Camillus) sees his role as a congressman to both write laws and assist residents of his central New York district. Katko begins his job as the representative of New York’s 24th Congressional District at a time when Washington has enacted a historically low number of laws.

New York State Senate

The New York state Senate got swept up in this year's Republican election wave, with 33 districts in their corner after the votes were counted.

The dean of central New York’s Senate delegation, state Sen. John DeFrancisco, said that’s good news.

On the flip side, it means difficulty for central New York's Democratic Assembly members to push through key agenda items, and reduces the influence of Sen. Dave Valesky, who DeFrancisco shares representation of Syracuse with.

NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment

Syracuse lawmakers want to make the state’s redistricting process less political. City councilors are calling for the defeat of a statewide proposition on the ballot next week.

Proposition One, which voters will decide on next Tuesday, would amend the state constitution for how congressional, state Senate and Assembly districts are drawn.

Wallyg / via Flickr

A new record has been reached in spending on lobbying in New York, according to a report released by the state’s ethics commission. It finds more than $200 million was spent, mostly by a few top interests, to try to influence government and policy in Albany.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics report finds $210 million was spent by lobbyists to mostly influence state and local governments. That’s nearly $1 million for each of the 213 senators and Assembly members.

Fort Drum civilian workers hit with furloughs, again

Oct 2, 2013
Dougtone / Creative Commons License

Fort Drum is among the many arms of the federal government dealing with furloughs as a result of the government shutdown. Workers deemed non-essential were sent home midday yesterday.

A division spokeswoman said the timing is bad for the post, because because it comes on top of a nearly two-year hiring freeze that has many departments already down to bare bones staffing. And this is a busy time for Fort Drum, with multiple units preparing for imminent deployments, and others returning and going through reintegration.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is trying to use the power of the pension fund to increase equal rights for same sex married couples, and has written a letter to President Obama.

DiNapoli is asking Obama to add a “place of celebration” clause to federal government rules and regulations that define benefits for married couples. He says that way, if one member of the couple works for a federal government agency or program, same sex marriages performed in New York and other states where it is legal could be recognized in states that do not allow gay marriages.

Columbia City Blog / via Flickr

The state’s attorney general and Assembly speaker have proposed an early voting system for New York that they say can improve voter participation and democracy.

City of Syracuse

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled he will join the discussion between the mayors of upstate New York's biggest cities on how to deal with their looming fiscal struggles.

New York State Government has long had a reputation as a secretive and guarded place.  Phrases like “three men in a room” come to mind.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with the man charged to make government more open and transparent—Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the State’s Committee on Open Government.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

There is a political debate going on this fall about government's role in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

It comes at a time when upstate New York continues to try and reinvent its economy. Small business incubators and accelerator programs are cropping up. The state has also made a major investment in creating a nanotech industry.

"The narrative that government is important? I don’t believe it’s true," says Carl Schramm.

The Campbell Debate
Post Standard

The Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University presents The Campbell Debates, a debate series on timely issues of public importance with a fresh, provocative format.

Public trust in government—especially the federal government—is at a modern all-time low point.  What are the biggest challenges to a well-run government?  What are the best ideas for improving it?  Which government agencies are particularly well-run, and which not so well-run?  As the Managing Director of the Strategic Issues Team at the U.S.

If, like many Americans, you’re worried about the future of Medicare, you’ll want to listen closely to this conversation about the program and the contentious politics surrounding it.  In a very information-rich interview, nationally recognized expert and University of North Carolina professor Jonathan Oberlander breaks down the elements of Medicare, the different proposals to change it, and explains why this huge—and popular—government program has become such a political lightning rod in recent years.  He also prognosticates about different possible futures in terms of Medicare’s structure