Politics and Government

6:46am

Fri September 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Environmentalists say decline in pollution enforcement can harm New Yorkers' health

An environmental group says budget cuts at the state’s environmental agency has meant up to 75 percent fewer inspections of polluters like power plants and hazardous waste sites.

David Gahl, with Environmental Advocates, says years of budget cuts at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, known as the DEC, has led to a one-third reduction of staff, and an even greater decrease in the number of inspections of potential polluters.

“DEC is looking less and finding less,” Gahl said.

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4:18pm

Thu September 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna, Owens support delaying vote on Syria

The ongoing civil war in Syria is dominating the discussion in Washington this week.  Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents an area from Utica to Binghamton, was one of many congressmen who received a classified briefing on Syria.

He said the U.S. should be looking at the Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, fairly, but also with some skepticism. Hanna, a Republican, said going to war again is not the best option.

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7:17am

Thu September 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Kevin Bott launches Green Party mayoral campaign in Syracuse

Green Party mayoral candidate Kevin Bott stands on the steps of City Hall while launching his campaign.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

Syracuse's Green Party is optimistic about the race for mayor of Syracuse. Candidate Kevin Bott kicked off his campaign on the steps of City Hall yesterday, suggesting that even though incumbent mayor Stephanie Miner won a three-way Democratic primary, there are signs her political support isn't that strong.

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9:01am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Watertown primary decides city council candidates, draws few voters

Four of the six candidates running for Watertown City Council, including the race's two incumbents, are moving on to the general election in November, following Tuesday's primary election.

Incumbent candidates Teresa Macaluso and Jeffrey Smith took the top two spots, with 575 and 454 votes, respectively. Challenger Stephen Jennings also had a strong showing, falling only two votes shy of Smith. Cody Horbacz also moves on to the November election.

Jasmine Borreffine and Rodney LaFave received the lowest totals and were eliminated from the race.

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7:59am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Mayors in 2014 face big fiscal challenges

Whatever is the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries, most mayors who win a new term in cities across the state will face a similar challenge - how to get their municipalities back on secure financial footing.   

The next political leaders of New York City, smaller cities upstate, and even large suburban counties like Nassau County, will all face a big test once they take office; how to solve mounting fiscal difficulties.

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7:20am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse primaries shrink field for mayoral, councilor-at-large positions

Stephanie Miner receives a hug on primary night.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner took a step toward a second term in yesterday's Democratic mayoral primary, after winning more than half of the votes cast in a three-way race for the Democratic spot on the November ballot.

"Tonight we heard loudly and clearly, that the people of this party are looking forward and not backward," Miner said.

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6:36am

Tue September 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Primary day expected to draw low numbers

Columbia City Blog Flickr

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

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7:25am

Mon September 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Environmental advocates say better staffing more important than bond act

The leaders of the environmental committee in the New York state legislature have proposed a $5 billion environmental bond act, to be voted on in November 2014. But at an Assembly hearing on the state’s environmental budget, advocates say a bigger concern is dwindling staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Assembly Environmental Committee Chair Robert Sweeney is sponsoring a bill to create a $5 billion environmental bond act to promote clean water, clean air and to preserve public land.

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4:49pm

Fri September 6, 2013
Politics and Government

NYS education commissioner visits two very different school districts

State Education Commissioner John King visits a seventh grade math class at Wellwood Middle School in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

It was a tale of two distinct school districts in Onondaga County as State Education Commissioner John King visited central New York today during a new school year swing through the state. While there are big differences between the Fayetteville-Manlius and Syracuse City School Districts, he found some similarities especially when it comes to attacking the new rigorous common core standards.

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6:52am

Fri September 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's "death penalty" remarks on failing schools draws reaction

knittymarie/flickr

The school year starts for New York children this week and next week. It comes amid concerns regarding low test scores for many of the state’s students, and harsh rhetoric from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he wants a “death penalty” option for dealing with failing schools.  

Most of the state’s school children did not measure up in new tests administered last year. Only 31% passed the new math and English exams, according to the State Education Department. Numbers were higher in suburban schools and lower in urban and rural areas.

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6:44am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei, Owens talk about upcoming Syria vote

Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

While Congress prepares to vote on whether or not to take military action against Syria, two local members of Congress are still considering all the facts. Syracuse-area Democrat Dan Maffei says he is looking at the big picture, but says he still has questions that need to be answered, including how it will impact American service members.

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6:33am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner receives endorsement from environmentalist group

Mayor Stephanie Miner receives an endorsement from the local and regional arm of the Sierra Club.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has some local environmentalists on her side in her race for reelection.

The local and regional arm of the Sierra Club is supporting Miner in her bid for mayor, citing what they say is her ambitious environmental vision for Syracuse. Shortly after becoming mayor, Miner created the Bureau of Sustainability and Environment, dedicated to environmental issues in the city. Miner says these are important issues, even in a time of fiscal instability. She also says city residents appreciate the focus on this issue.

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6:21am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

NY Senate hearing places focus on special tax breaks

Members from several progressive groups hold signs during a press conference.
Karen Dewitt/WRVO

Senate Republicans held a hearing on how to cut taxes, while also questioning whether some targeted special tax breaks are worth the money. Meanwhile, some groups complained that they’d been unfairly excluded from the discussion.

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8:18am

Wed September 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Area lawmakers weigh in on upcoming Syria vote

As Congress begins to debate a resolution to authorize United States military action in Syria, members of the New York congressional delegation are expressing their opinion publicly about what should be done.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who represents parts of the Finger Lakes and Souther Tier regions, has been conducting a listening tour in his district to gather opinions from his constituents.

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7:22am

Wed September 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Business group pushes for tax cuts, fracking to revive upstate economy

WBFO

An upstate pro-business group says regions of the state north of Westchester need special attention in the coming months to help the floundering economy. The group Unshackle Upstate is proposing a series of tax cuts, as well as a start to hydrofracking as the remedy.

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9:26am

Mon September 2, 2013
Politics and Government

Local members of Congress offer comment on Obama's Syria decision

Barack Obama Flickr

Some area members of Congress say they support President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional approval for a military strike against Syria.

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8:21am

Mon September 2, 2013
Politics and Government

New York City voters may decide upstate gambling expansion

Matthew Powell/flickr

This November, voters will get a chance to decide whether or not to expand gambling in upstate New York. But because of a quirk in the election calendar, it’s likely that downstate voters will be the ones to make that decision.

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7:28am

Fri August 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Police and economy focal points during Syracuse mayoral debate

The use of technology versus having an officer on the street seems to separate the candidates when it comes to fighting crime in the city of Syracuse. The three candidates in September's mayoral Democratic primary debated the issue on the Campbell Conversations. Common Councilor Pat Hogan suggests there aren't enough officers on the street.

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4:45am

Fri August 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse Democratic mayoral candidates on The Campbell Conversations: Part 2

The three democratic candidates running for Syracuse mayor during a Campbell Conversations forum
Tom Fazzio

In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, we continue with the forum we first presented last week--a discussion among the three candidates vying for the Democratic Party line in the upcoming city of Syracuse mayoral election. Participating in the forum are Mayor Stephanie Miner, Common Councilor Pat Hogan and Alfonso Davis. The topic for this week's debate, moderated by host Grant Reeher, concerns public policy questions that bear on the city's future.

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4:00pm

Tue August 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Gillibrand would support some military action in Syria

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says she'll stand by the Obama administration as it considers military action against Syria in light of alleged chemical weapons use against civilians.

During a stop at the New York State Fair, Gillibrand said there's a humanitarian crisis in Syria that must be addressed by the United States and other countries, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be put on notice that recent attacks against civilians are unacceptable to the world community.  

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8:32am

Tue August 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Former governor Paterson reflects on March on Washington

Governor Hugh L. Carey’s Secretary of State Basil Paterson (left) shakes hands with his sons, David (center) and Daniel (right) in the Red Room of the Executive Chamber in the Capitol Building.
New York State Archives

Wednesday marks 50 years since the famous March on Washington, when more than 200,000 Americans gathered in support of civil rights. Capital correspondent Karen Dewitt sat down with former governor David Paterson, the first African-American to serve as governor of New York state, to talk about the event and its impact on his life.

Karen Dewitt: Gov. Paterson, we’re really glad you could join us to talk about this topic. First of all, I want to know how old you were when the March on Washington happened.

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7:50am

Tue August 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Former councilwoman McCarty shows support for mayoral candidate Pat Hogan

Nancy McCarty stands with about 30 other women on the steps of Syracuse City Hall, showing their support for mayoral candidate Pat Hogan.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

About thirty women stood on the steps of city hall in Syracuse Monday with democratic leader Nancy McCarty, showing their support for Syracuse City Councilman Pat Hogan for mayor.

Led by McCarty, a former city councilwoman and school board commissioner, the women voiced their support for Hogan's educational platform which includes full-day pre-kindergarten. Joanne Batalia, a retired teacher's assistant with the Syracuse City Schools, said President Barack Obama came to Syracuse because the Say Yes to Education program has been somewhat successful.

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8:00pm

Sun August 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse democratic mayoral candidates on The Campbell Conversations: Part 1

The democratic candidates for Syracuse mayor on WRVO's The Campbell Conversations
Tom Fazzio

The three candidates vying for the Democratic Party line in the upcoming City of Syracuse mayoral election could only agree to two public forums.  What follows is one of them.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, we present the first segment of a two-part series—the second part airing next Sunday, September 1.  The topic for this week, moderated by host Grant Reeher, is the political process and executive leadership.

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2:03pm

Fri August 23, 2013
Politics and Government

I-STOP law poses opportunities, concerns about implementation

The tragedies caused by prescription drug abuse, addictions, overdoses and ruined lives are not unique to New York state, but Assemblyman Michael Cusick realized a couple years ago that Staten Island, where his district is located, could be considered the epicenter of the problem.

“We have numbers that are staggering of people overdosing from prescription drugs and the theft of prescription drugs," Cusick said. "The misuse is rampant here on Staten Island."

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7:16am

Fri August 23, 2013
Politics and Government

Activists protest outside Obama speech in Syracuse

Protesters have their photo taken in front of Henninger High School before Obama's speech.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Protesters against hydrofracking, the controversial gas drilling process, followed President Barack Obama to Syracuse from his first stop in Buffalo on Thursday.

"Ban fracking now! Obama! Ban fracking now! Obama!"

The voices of about one hundred protesters were united in their opposition to hydrofracking. Julianne Skinner came from Montrose, Pa., an area where fracking is allowed.

"They [gas companies] didn't exercise caution," Skinner said. "They were in there, do it quick, do it dirty, get our money and let's go."  

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5:01pm

Thu August 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Hydrofracking subject of rally at Obama's Buffalo speech

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

More than a dozen people rallied in a controlled area across from Alumni Arena in Buffalo today. While some were there to ask President Obama to pull out of the Middle East and stop using drones, the majority of protesters were there to urge the president to ban the gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking. Rita Yelda is with Food and Water Watch. She says her group was hoping to get the chance to meet the president and let its voice be heard.

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4:23pm

Thu August 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Slideshow: President Obama in Syracuse

Many protestors gathered at Henninger High School to greet the president.
Tom Magnarelli WRVO News

President Obama visited Syracuse Thursday, giving a speech on making college more affordable for middle class students. Take a look at some of the photos in and around Henninger High School in Syracuse, where the president gave his speech.

6:53am

Thu August 22, 2013
Politics and Government

GOP leaders "welcome" Obama to upstate with criticism

Top state and national Republican leaders hammered President Barack Obama and questioned his motives for a planned bus tour of upstate New York to discuss access to higher education. The tour begins in Buffalo on Thursday.

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, called Mr. Obama’s planned trip a “lame duck bus tour," and predicted that the president would focus on the same old policies that he says haven't worked.

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4:24pm

Wed August 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Lawmakers look for ideas to help financially struggling cities

State lawmakers were looking for suggestions to prevent municipal bankruptcies in New York state at a hearing in Syracuse Tuesday on the first stop for the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Local Government.

The situation in Detroit hung over the hearing. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner warned that cities like Syracuse continue to edge towards the brink of insolvency because revenues can't keep up with expenditures. And until the state helps with that, more cities in New York state will continue to spiral towards insolvency.

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7:41am

Tue August 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse tasing incident leads to policy discussion

Community members watch lawmakers discuss the Syracuse Police Department's use of Tasers.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A recent case involving a disabled man tased by Syracuse Police on a CENTRO bus in May has Syracuse lawmakers looking into the police department's policy on using the electronic devices. In a meeting this week, common councilors heard from advocates who would like to see that policy updated.

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