Politics and Government

Political news

Office of the Utica Mayor

At a time when many communities across the country are wrestling with how to improve the relationship between the police and residents they serve after horrific events like a police shooting, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says his city is taking a proactive approach.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

State officials helped deliver Thanksgiving dinners to residents in need in cities all across New York. In Syracuse, that happened at the Southwest Community Center, which targeted seniors and others who could use the meals the most.

Forty-five big boxes that can each feed a family of 12 were donated by Wegmans. They each include a turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, butternut squash, green bean casserole and cranberry relish.

Sharon Owens of the Southwest Community Center said they wanted to give the boxes to families they identified with having a tough time.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is preparing to replace the city's fire department chief after a contentious year between the two that included battles over layoffs and overtime expenses. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse will enter into a three-year agreement with a company it has been using to boot cars with unpaid parking tickets. The contract was held up over questions about how aggressive the company has been in booting vehicles.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Indictments are due by Wednesday in an economic development corruption scandal involving Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide and other former associates. The governor has been active in recent days on other matters, including taking steps to counteract a rise in hate crimes after the election of Donald Trump as president.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the fourth year in a row, the Oneida County Board of Legislators has passed a budget without an increase in the property tax levy. County officials say they are pleased about saving residents money, but they are also concerned about what the frugal approach could mean for Oneida County's financial future.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Will there be a special session of the legislature this December? Gov. Andrew Cuomo is offering lawmakers an incentive to come back to meet — a possible pay raise, in exchange for ethics reforms.

Provided by the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department announced that two arrests have been made in the robbery and murder of a Syracuse University student in September in the town of DeWitt.

Cameron Isaac, 23, of North Syracuse and Ninimbe Mitchell, 20, of Syracuse were both charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. The victim was Xiaopeng Yuan, 23, who is from China. Officials described the incident as a drug deal gone wrong.

Provided by Tom Dadey

Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey gave a very early endorsement to President-elect Donald Trump and Dadey was with Trump on election night. Dadey said he does not think it will be bad for the region for Trump to know that he has friends in Onondaga County.

After the election results were in, Dadey said Trump was statesmen-like and gracious when Trump came down with his family to address supporters at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The fight to end the practice of putting teens in solitary confinement at the Onondaga County Justice Center continues, and it’s taking place on two fronts.

The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the policy violates the Constitution, and harms young people. And groups like the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse, or ACTS for short, is trying to raise awareness about the practice, with protests and discussions with county officials.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

An Onondaga County grand jury has determined the fatal shooting of a man by a Syracuse police officer in the Syracuse University area was justified. This was the third fatal shooting by Syracuse police officers this year.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego lawmakers are once again revisiting the city's taxi cab laws in an attempt to improve public safety.

The Oswego Common Council is proposing several amendments to existing law, most notably a "good moral character" clause to limit who can be a licensed cab driver in the city. The new language is an attempt to bar those convicted of certain crimes like murder, rape, sexual abuse of minors, child pornography, ransom, etc. from getting a license.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Three more tiny homes for homeless veterans have been built on Syracuse’s south side. The nonprofit, A Tiny Home for Good, finished their first two homes earlier this year.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Recommendations on how to go forward with some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development contracts tainted by scandal are expected to be out soon, according to the governor’s economic development chairman.

Buffalo businessman and Empire State Development Chairman Howard Zemsky is trying to pick up the pieces after nine criminal complaints were issued against two former Cuomo associates, including a top former aide, along with the former head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, who oversaw the contracts for the Buffalo Billion and other projects.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Voters in Utica supported the common council's plan to pave every road in the city in a referendum on Election Day with 60 percent of the vote. Now, Utica leaders are preparing to embark on the ambitious 15-year project, which is expected to cost $75 million.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A number of items came up on the Syracuse Common Council agenda at a recent meeting. The Syracuse Police Department will be training officers and detectives on how to obtain video footage from corner stores and other businesses. The training was approved by the Syracuse Common Council and will begin in December.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is adopting a more conciliatory tone toward President-elect Donald Trump, after Cuomo called Trump “un-New York” in the final days of the campaign.

Cuomo, in the final days of the campaign, stumped for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in New York state, and heavily criticized Donald Trump.

“In truth, Trump is un-New York,” Cuomo said. “Everything the man stands for is the exact opposite that this state stands for.”

Trump, like Cuomo is a Queens native.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

About 150 anti-Trump protesters rallied in downtown Syracuse Wednesday night. Protesters were angered by both Republicans and Democrats. They condemned Trump for what they said was bigoted rhetoric on the campaign trail that expressed Islamophobia and xenophobia.

Wallyg / Flickr

If the numbers hold, Republicans are poised to remain in control of the New York State Senate, and even pick up a seat.

The news has reassured business groups but dismayed reform advocates. If the election results hold, Republicans will have the numerical majority when the Senate reconvenes in January.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has voted to ban housing discrimination in the city based on source of income, such as public assistance. Critics of the ban said it will create a more cumbersome system but supporters said it is a step forward.

Activists from ARISE, the independent living and resource center for disability rights in Syracuse came to the Council in favor of the ban. Agnes McCray said the measure will require landlords to take another look at an applicant beyond whether they are on public assistance such as Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County is laying off 11 employees. County lawmakers voted Monday 10-7 to adjust the budget to eliminate $600,000 worth of payroll.

County officials say this is the end of a very difficult budget year. An $8.2 million deficit, created by stagnant sales tax growth and ballooning health care and personnel costs needed to be filled, and the county did it by offering $10,000 buyouts to employees close to retirement. But that still left $600,000 that needed to be cut. So Republican Legislator Pat Kilmartin says a shuffling of jobs and positions led to the 11 layoffs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti is running to retain his seat after being appointed last year when former Councilor Pamela Hunter was elected to the Assembly. Nicoletti, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Norm Snyder, who said Nicoletti is using his position to further his own political career.

Nicoletti has not said if he will or will not run for mayor of Syracuse next year when current Mayor Stephanie Miner’s term ends. But Snyder said he thinks Nicoletti’s intentions for returning to the Common Council are clear.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The central New York economy is the focus of a new report by the state comptroller’s office. An analysis of how the region has recovered since the recession shows some improvements but also many challenges.

All five counties in the central New York region are below the state’s median household income. The regional unemployment rate is higher the state average. And the child poverty rate in Syracuse and Fulton are significantly higher than the state average. The region includes Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga, Cortland and Madison Counties.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named a committee to come up with proposals for another big state investment in the New York State Fair.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

If the state Senate is controlled by Democrats after the election, taxing and spending policies could see some differences. Many Democrats favor extending an income tax surcharge on millionaires when it expires next spring.

New York currently has a temporary income tax surcharge on the wealthy. The additional taxes affect those making more than $300,000 a year, with the rates growing higher for incomes over $1 million, and the highest rate for $2 million or more.

New York State Senate

There’s a greater chance than ever that the New York State Senate could be dominated by Democrats after the Nov. 8 election, meaning many issues stalled in the Republican-led Senate for years would have a possibility of passing. The Assembly has long been controlled by Democrats, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a Democrat.

Campaign finance reform, the Dream Act — which offers college tuition support to the children of undocumented immigrants — and more money for underperforming schools are just a few items that might be approved under a Senate controlled by Democrats.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County almost wiggled out of a multi-million dollar budget deficit with no layoffs, because of an early retirement buyout plan.

But after all the numbers were counted, the county is still looking at a half a million dollar hole for next year. County Executive Joanie Mahoney is proposing cuts that include 12 layoffs to close that gap. That means lawmakers have to go back to the budget drawing board.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said one of the reasons he is actively campaigning for Democrats to take over the New York State Senate is that he believes he will have more success getting ethics changes done without the GOP in charge.

Cuomo, who’s been holding rallies for Democratic candidates in key Senate races, said he thinks a legislature controlled by Democrats will be more willing to approve changes to address a wave of scandals plaguing state government.

WRVO File Photo

Syracuse University professor and former Democratic congressional candidate Eric Kingson is doubling down on his criticism of Rep. John Kakto (R-Camillus), calling his claim to be moderate "smoke and mirrors." Kingson said he does support Democratic congressional nominee Colleen Deacon and would be willing to do more to get her elected.

Kingson said he does respect and like Katko, a guy who he said would probably make a good neighbor. But in terms of Katko’s politics, Kingson said the idea he is a moderate is false.

WRVO Public Media

American cities have been under great pressure, the city of Syracuse is 'exhibit A' of how poverty and infrastructure challenges can threaten their future. Earlier this year, Michael Nutter stepped down from the mayor’s office in Philadelphia, after serving two terms.  He managed to leave as one of the most respected mayors, and respected politicians of any kind, in the nation.

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