Nov 06

Elmwood Elementary Sees Low Voter Turn Out


Volunteers sit at district tables, helping voters.


by Adeola Adebiyi (SYRACUSE) — Elemwood Elementary School, a polling station at the South side, has seen very low numbers when it comes to voters. As of  4 p.m., only 170 people had voted. Election inspector George Marleau says it’s because it’s an “in-between year” without a  presidential election.

“For some reason, people don’t seem to care about the elections that affect them the most.” he said.

Despite the low numbers, the citizens that came out to vote were very enthusiastic and passionate about the election.

“I’m concerned that the right person gets elected as judge and the constitution get utilized,” Tracey Barkins, a nurse, said. “I have teenagers and I want to do my part and make sure the system is in the right place.”

Barkins voted for Ramona Lavalas, who is running for City Court Judge against Democrat, Mary Anne Doherty. Lavalas ran in 2011 for city court judge but lost to incumbent judges Karen Uplinger and Rory McMahon.

“She was in church a few days ago and the minister said ‘Forget about the parties and put the right person in’. I usually vote Democrat but today, I went Republican.”

Ronnie Leigh, a local Syracuse musician concerned with community development, echoed the same sentiment about community and making sure he does his part to leave a legacy behind for others.

“It’s my responsibility to come out and take a part of what is going on in the community,” he said. “A lot of folks when through a lot of changes so that I can come out and do what I’m doing today and what I just did here.”

Bernice Bradway, a retired educator, is actually surprised at the low turn out.

“I’m from the 16th district and we need new blood,” she said. “We are underrepresented. I don’t see any major improvements or county funds coming our way so I voted to help my district.”

As the day winds slowly to a close, Marleau hopes the numbers pick up.

“It’s always like this in these kind of years but I always hope more people will come out,” he said. “Voting is one’s civic duty and it’s a shame for people not to exercise it.”

Nov 06

Celebrations at the Syracuse Democratic Headquarters

(c) Julianne Dellorso 2013

(c) Julianne Dellorso 2013

By Julianne Dellorso (SYRACUSE) - More than 100 people gathered at Pasabene’s Casa Grande restaurant  for the Onondaga County Democratic Committee’s results party.

Both candidates and party members alike celebrated a number of victories.

Central New York congressman Dan Maffei made an appearance and offered his best wishes to  the approximately 20 local Democratic candidates.

Results were announced throughout the night, but one winner who was acknowledged very early on was incumbent Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner, who had no Republican opponent and faced only minor challenges from the Green and Conservative parties.

Those in attendance said they were looking forward to Miner’s remarks outlining her plans for her next four years as mayor.

Watch the story here:

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Nov 06

What Do Democrats Expect From Mayor Miner’s Next Term In Office?

(c) Julianne Dellorso 2013

(c) Julianne Dellorso 2013

By Julianne Dellorso (SYRACUSE) - One major race  that was virtually uncontested this campaign season was that for mayor of Syracuse.

With no Republican opponent, Democratic incumbent Mayor Stephanie Miner easily won re-election. Democracy in Action talked to several party members in attendance at the Democratic headquarters on election night, asking  what they would like to see Mayor Miner accomplish in her next four years as mayor.

Syracuse resident Jim Schults said that he would like to see Miner continue her work towards improving the city schools:

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One of Miner’s fellow Democrats, Ronnie Bell, who was running for the county legislature’s 15th district seat, stressed finances when talking about Miner’s next four years.  Bell said  he thinks the mayor should continue working to collect back taxes from those property owners who have fallen behind on payments:

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Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli echoed Bell’s sentiment, saying he believes  the number one challenge for Mayor Miner will be dealing with the city’s financial woes. Like Schults, however, he also cited education and efforts to revive downtown Syracuse:

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This will be Miner’s second term in office.

Nov 06

Voter Turnout at Liverpool Library Lower Than Expected


While Voter Turnout was lower than expected at Liverpool Library, the polls were busy during the lunch and late evening hours. (c) Amanda Quick

While Voter Turnout was lower than expected at Liverpool Library, the polls were busy during the lunch and late evening hours. (c) Amanda Quick

By Amanda Quick (LIVERPOOL) - Bruce Swift, a poll manager said he was a little surprised by the low voter turnout on Election Day at the Liverpool Library.

“It’s quite disappointing that you are making these important decisions and only 30% of the population turns out,” said Swift who has been a poll manager for six years. Highs and Lows At times, almost all of the voting booths were empty, but during lunch hours and the late evening, the polls seemed busy. While Swift said voters seemed to like the atmosphere, there were still some complaints.

“There are a few people who wish they had the old machines, and there are a couple people who had trouble getting their ballot scanned and everybody’s in a hurry, that’s always a problem,” said Swift.

He said the new system of voting has been in place for three years, but most voters still weren’t pleased.

“With the technology, we’re going really backwards, but if they can handle the volume, it’s reliable, it’s accurate, and they can account for it, doesn’t much matter to me,” said Mary Luttinger, a Liverpool voter.

Why people voted

Some people say they voted simply because they never had missed participating in an election day, but others said they voted to make a difference.

“We’re looking for a change,” said George Smith, ” I don’t think anyone is happy with out state of affairs.”

Watch the story here:

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Nov 06

Do You Know What You’re Voting For?

(c) 2013 Brittany Jones

(c) 2013 Brittany Jones

By Brittany Jones (SOLVAY) - The voters who came out to Solvay Geddes Community Youth Center to cast their ballots were deciding races for state Supreme Court and the Onondaga County Legislature. But like other voters across Central New York, they were also deciding the fate of six propositions on the ballot.

JoAnn Balduzzi, poll site manager, knew Proposition One, which would  expand casino gambling in New York, would definitely bring a great number of voters out to the polls.  However, Balduzzi said when it comes to Proposition Four, which concerns a land dispute in the Adirondacks, she noticed voters don’t really understand it.

“It was not well publicized, i don’t think,” said Balduzzi about Proposition Four.

Voters’ lack of knowledge about some propositions raises the question:  whose responsibility is it to explain the scope and impact of referendums and proposals?  The state and county boards of elections post the information on web sites and distribute literature.  But of course it is also up to voters to educate themselves about the proposals.

John Anderson, a Solvay voter, did vote in favor of Proposition Four, but admits he didn’t know much about it.  He said he should have researched it more before the election.

“I don’t have all the time in the world.  I wasn’t interested enough to get into it,” said Anderson.

Mike Mecca, another voter at the Solvay Geddes Community Youth Center, says he did take the time to read about Prop Four, but he could not quite remember all the details.

Balduzzi also notes it is not her job, or that any of the other election personnel at the polls, to explain the propositions to the voters.  ”We’re election personnel, our job is to help them through the voting process; but we can’t give them an opinion one way or another. So it’s up to them to read the propositions before they come in and try to understand what they’re voting for,” said Balduzzi.

New York voters did approve proposition 4, which gives up the state’s claim to the property in the Adirondacks.

 Watch the story here:

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Nov 06

Just a Number

Carni says his ideas and personality make up for fewer years in public service (c) 2013 Maria Catanzarite

Carni says his ideas and personality make up for fewer years in public service (c) 2013 Maria Catanzarite

By Maria Catanzarite (SYRACUSE)– 23-year-old Joe Carni doesn’t think age should keep a  candidate from holding office. In fact, he thinks the Syracuse Common Council could use a young voice.

“I don’t think age is a prerequisite [for public office]. I think what I may lack in years I make up for in energy and enthusiasm,” Carni said, who was vying to represent  District 1 on the GOP ticket.

Democrat Jake Barrett won by just 29 votes, although Carni noted “a few hundred” absentee ballots that still need to be tallied. Carni says he is glad he put in the leg work, campaigning door-to-door. He says District 1 voters told him safety is a premium.

“We need to get either more police officers in the neighborhoods, get a stronger presence. This is what the people are calling for,” Carni said.

He also learned some voters want a young voice on the Common Council — something the Plattsburgh State alum takes pride in.

Watch story here:

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Nov 06

GOP County Legislators Repeat Feat

Danny Liedka helps GOP legislators maintain a super majority (c) 2013 Maria Catanzarite

Danny Liedka helps GOP legislators maintain a super majority (c) 2013 Maria Catanzarite

By Maria Catanzarite (SYRACUSE) — Republicans in the Onondaga County Legislature have obtained a “super majority” for the second straight election cycle. In 2011, GOPs won 13 of the 17 seats in the legislature — allowing them to override any veto issued by County Executive Joanie Mahoney. That was the first time any party had reached “super majority” status in 20 years.

“On behalf of the Republican Party and the leadership of our legislature chairman Ryan McMahon, we were able to retain our super majority tonight, ladies and gentlemen!” Republican chair Tom Dadey told the party faithful gathered at the Palace Theatre in Eastwood.

County legislator Danny Liedka (R-East Syracuse) won District 7 by fewer than 100 votes two years ago — many of which were absentee ballots. Knowing the super majority was on the line, Liedka said he didn’t want to disappoint his GOP legislative team. He says he made “one-hundred times” the effort he did in 2011 — which was Liedka’s first time campaigning for a county seat.

“Personally, I knocked on over 4,000 doors [this year], and I’d like to think the personal touch will make the difference tonight,” Liedka said.

Liedka nabbed another victory this year, topping opponent Lorene Dadey by 73 votes. She is not related to the GOP county chair.

Watch the video here:


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Nov 06

Green Party Candidates Aren’t Feeling Blue

(c) 2013 Chenelle Terry

(c) 2013 Chenelle Terry

By Chenelle Terry (SYRACUSE)- Candidates, supporters, families, and friends of the Green Party gathered at the Westcott Community Center to watch election night results come in. Despite their grass roots effort, the Green Party failed yet again to get a candidate elected. All three  local Green candidates were present at the gathering and shared their thoughts before and after the poll results were known. Instead of calling it the end, supporters said it’s “to be continued.”

Hawkins runs again

The stakes were high for the Greens. Some experts believed Common Council candidate Howie Hawkins could be competitive in the face for the Syracuse Common Council’s 4th District.  Unlike his fellow candidates, Hawkins is well versed in the political arena. This election was actually his sixth time running for Common Council; he lost to  current 4th district council member  Khalid Bey in 2011 by just 97 votes.

Hawkins campaign manager, Ursula Rozum, says his interaction with people within the community played an important role throughout the process.

“Working with Howie is amazing because he’s such an outspoken advocate for regular working people and for the poor and fighting for the idea that poverty is unacceptable and we can do better as a the community….we had more volunteers involved in this campaign than we’ve ever had,” said Rozum.

Green Party struggles

Kevin Bott,  the Green candidate for Syracuse mayor, and Barbara Humphrey, the party’s candidate for the Syracuse school board, have no prior political experience. But that didn’t stop them from pushing for the votes and striving to spread their vision to the community. Bott says regardless of the outcome, he’s proud of what the team has accomplished.

“We launched this campaign on September 11, seven weeks ago and I’m about fighting the good fight. I’m proud we were able to stay, especially in light of the fact that the mayor ducked the debates. We weren’t able to get our message out so I feel good about what we’ve done, I’m happy,” said Bott.

The Green Party does not accept political contributions from corporations so it looks to other methods of gaining financial support and raising its profile in the community.  But Bott  says he does feel the party’s lack of media coverage limited its impact.

“I’m very confident were we able to be on TV and have people hear our idea and hear my message, the outcome could have been significantly different,” Bott said.

Although the election is over, the candidates still plan to be very active in the community and say  they will continue to advocate for the issues they maintain should be addressed.

Take a look at the final elections results.

Listen to the story here:

The Green Party





Nov 06

Extended Interview with County Legislator Mike Plochocki

GOP county chairman Tom Dadey stands alongside Ryan McMahon, chair of the county legislature, Tuesday night (c) 2013 Maria Catanzarite

GOP county chairman Tom Dadey tells the crowd inside the Palace Theatre the legislature super majority is here to stay(c) 2013 Maria Catanzarite

By Maria Catanzarite SYRACUSE (Democracy in Action) – GOP voters called Eastwood’s Palace Theatre their election night headquarters, enjoying the food and the gathering before receiving good news from the chairman of the Onondaga County Republican Party around 10:30 p.m. Tom Dadey told the  crowd Republicans retained the “super majority” in the county legislature. This is their second consecutive election cycle reaching super status–and the second time in 22 years.

In an interview with Democracy in Action, Legislator Mike Plochocki (R-Marcellus) explained what it means to have the “super majority” veto authority and how, he maintains, it helped county Republicans pass the largest tax cut in 25 years.


Watch the story here:

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Nov 06

Determination at Palace Theater

MP900384726There were drinks, grapes, penne alla vodka and cheese cubes — all the key ingredients for a classy night at the theater. But perhaps the classiest of all at the Palace Theatre’s GOP reception were the candidates themselves.

Spirits were high as candidates mixed and mingled, congratulating each other on a job well done, even though the results were not favoring some. Among them was Alex Walsh, a 25-year-old candidate for common councilor 2nd District. He stood with his girlfriend, Laura Buck, and his mother.

This was only his first time running but he has been commended for his strong campaign and strategy. Walsh said, “It’s been an uphill battle,” but Buck has been there with him every step of the way.  Walsh lost to democrat Chad Ryan, but says that maybe down the road, if the opportunity presents itself, he will run again.

For some, the results never came. Bob Andrews, running for county legislature District 9, will have to wait at least 10 more days to hear his results.  Andrews was lauded in the reception speech as being the hardest working candidate. He awaits the counting of the absentee ballots and then a re-count because his race was so close.

“This is where we are now but its not quite over. We’ll see where the numbers come in,” Andrews said. It is hard not to be optimistic when the republicans continue to hold the majority of seats in the county legislature and most of them are running unopposed. Andrews ran for this seat in back in 2011, but lost. This year, however, could be his year. But even if Andrews loses, the republicans still have the majority in the legislature, which means that they can override a veto from the county executive. So, while it may have been an uneventful evening for some, it was a group victory for all republicans.


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