We are mourning the passing of Representative Henry Granison. The loss is felt across the county.  

As election day approaches, I offer this appraisal.

I did not endorse a candidate for Mayor. We must acknowledge the challenges facing City Hall: There are now over 30 vacancies at DPW, IPD is increasingly paralyzed, and with IFD also flagging, it’s fair to say that labor can’t endure much more. I have been a recruiter for almost a decade. In my experience, the crucial question that informs an employee’s commitment is always whether or not they feel valued. Ithaca is experiencing a wave of attrition among essential workers. Nationally there is a “Great Resignation” underway, but our city should not be struggling to recruit and retain labor. We have every advantage amid a difficult time: Abundant natural resources, a conscientious citizenry and two fountains of light—a celebrated college and renowned university.

Recently, I asked Mayor Lewis what her vision for Ithaca is. She never answered. She also won’t debate her opponents. 

Nobody faults Mayor Lewis for inheriting post-pandemic hardships. She has, however, missed opportunities to reassure staff. If taxpayers seek accountability, then their vote for a mayor’s one-year term is relatively inconsequential, but they do have a chance to assert lasting oversight. On the ballot is a referendum provision establishing a City Manager. We should embrace the dedication my predecessor on Council, Donna Fleming has shown helping to draft and promote this legislation. We are fortunate to know such a judicious public servant, whose thoughtful leadership has provided this failsafe. Here is the remedy to a workload that buries executives and creates unnecessary strife. We have the chance to balance symbols with function and to reassert pragmatic principles that serve us all. Passage of the City Manager Referendum is the first step toward renewal and resilience. 

With regard to the budget, residents should take pride that we stand on the brink of an immense public works project. This effort will tax us all in the short term, but stands to unite the region and deliver prosperity. In your hands is the success of Ithaca’s Green New Deal

Thank you for voting.