[imc-rochester] Fw: Councilman McFadden's State of the South
heagle at rochester.rr.com
Thu Mar 31 20:45:52 PST 2005
A Report To The Community
Councilman Adam McFadden Sets Precedent Via Public
Presentation To The Community That He Represents
On March 29, 2005 Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden made history by delivering a public presentation regarding overall socioeconomic and political conditions in the South District, which he has represented for the past year. The Councilman's "First Annual State of the South District" address, which was delivered at James Madison High School, represents the first time that a City Council representative has engaged in this type of public effort to demonstrate accountability to constituents. Although the effort is commendable, in my humble view and opinion, and in the opinion of numerous others whom I have spoken with, the outstanding representative made one miscalculation or mistake regarding his unprecedented initiative, i.e., as it relates to publicity, he entrusted the task and responsibility of informing his constituents and supporters exclusively to City Hall staff, which accounts for the fact that only about 35 or 40 people were present to witness the historic event, and to hear the important message. Thus, I am publicly offering Councilman McFadden help, support, and assurance that there are those of us among his constituents and supporters who are willing to make certain that the location that is chosen for his "Second Annual State of the South District" address will be filled to near, if not complete capacity. In view of the fact that mainstream media coverage of the important event and message (See Democrat and Chronicle article below) was less than thorough --- I felt that it was important to issue this Report To The Community.
Mr. McFadden began his address by explaining the purpose, which he said was to share with those whom he represents --- relative to what he has been doing in his capacity as Councilman over the past year, and what he plans to do next year. Issues raised during the address were broken up into two categories.
The first category was quality of life issues. The following are excerpts regarding such issues:
a.. There is a need for city employees to live in the city. When 70% of city employees at City Hall and within the Rochester City School District don't live in the city, how can we be expected to attack the declining tax base --- when people are taking the resources to the suburbs, and we're left to scrap and scrape with money raised from property taxes --- to do the best we can. If people collect a check that says City of Rochester or Rochester City School District, they need to live in the city. (The latter comment drew loud applause from the audience).
a.. When city employees are dealing with business owners and others, they need to remember that those are our customers. They are not a bunch of no-gooders. I have gotten too many calls from people who are treated with disrespect by city employees.
a.. Lead poisoning is affecting many residents. When you consider the amount of young people dropping out of school, going to jail, unexplainable mental conditions --- much of this can be attributed to lead poisoning. My goal is that no household in the South District will have victims of lead poisoning by 2010.
a.. There is a need to fund firehouses in the city --- many of which are hardly standing. The one on Plymouth Avenue doesn't house people --- because it's too dangerous. In another case, when the power goes down, that is if there is a blackout, they literally have to knock the door down in order to get it open.
a.. I am still looking for resources for policing. We formed a community policing group that dealt with the open air drug issue and police accountability. This sparked discussions that involved hundreds of people. One thing that came out of the community policing group is that we have citizens walking Pac-Tac with police again --- not just for safety, but so that police can develop sensitivity toward the community that they are policing. With regard to Pac-Tac, we found $30,000 which will get us through the summer, and $110,000 for increased foot patrols. Legislation was proposed to make loitering illegal in designated areas. This is designed after an effort in Washington, D.C. We can't afford to have drug dealers hanging in front of businesses. According to my crime consultant Trevor Britt, current policing policies and strategies makes it comfortable for the open air drug market to exist --- because officers are not interacting with people --- not getting out of their cars.
a.. We recommended establishing an entertainment task force to ensure that everyone is treated equally. There is different treatment between blacks and whites when it comes to entertainment venues. Even a commander on the police force admits this.
a.. I am reviewing the police Civilian Review Board process. I don't think the city did a good job of advertising that the Civilian Review Board exists.
a.. In 2005, police initiatives that we will be working on include providing more cameras, including new technology such as more night vision and hard disc systems --- as opposed to the old video cameras. I plan to work with the Rochester Police Department to make sure they take on two recruitment classes a year --- rather than one. We have sixty vacancies on the Rochester Police Department now. Filling vacancies is a long process. Currently, it takes eighteen months to enter the Police Academy. This is why I am going to ask for funding for an extra recruitment class each year. I am going to work with the Urban League to attract more city residents and minorities to the police force, and to bring back the citizens' evaluation process to ensure promotion of minorities through the ranks. Out of eighty-plus sergeants, only six are black. That's troubling. In my personal opinion, police reorganization is not working for a number of reasons: 1) We have lost relationships that were built between the police and community; 2) There are not enough officers to support the design. Our Consultant gave us a report, and told us how many officers are needed; 3) According to my crime consultant Trevor Britt, those involved in the open air drug market are comfortable because officers don't get out of their cars; 5) Reorganization was about saving money. it was not about saving lives.
The following are excerpts regarding the second category of issues, which is community economic development:
a.. Councilmen Norwood, Pritchard and I are looking to rewrite economic policy. This is important because a new administration is coming into office.
a.. We secured $50,000 from Senator Robach for Urban Brew, a new coffee shop in the southwest.
a.. We have a $500,000 commitment from Louise Slaughter for Brook's Landing, and I secured $407,000 from Albany.
a.. A group is going to work on business redesign for Thurston Road and Jefferson Avenue.
a.. We are going to work to improve lighting in the Southwedge, and to bring back the grocery store that they lost on Mt. Hope.
a.. I was in Washington, D.C. trying to find funding to improve the Gardner Street Recreation Center, and we're trying to find $4 million to fund Bullshead development.
In a nutshell, this is the report card.
Democrat and Chronicle:
March 30, 2005
Councilman discusses state of district
McFadden expounds on topics from police work to common courtesy
In a first for city politics — at least what many believe is a first — a Rochester councilman Tuesday night delivered his version of a state of the city address.
Entering his second year on City Council, Adam McFadden gave his "State of the South District" speech at the James Madison School of Excellence auditorium.
About 35 people, including many candidates for office this fall, attended the hour-long event.
The outspoken Democrat used the opportunity to talk about what he's done on council in his first year and what he will focus on this year.
"I hope this is the report card and you hold me accountable," said McFadden, who represents neighborhoods such as the 19th Ward, Southwest Area Neighborhood and South Wedge.
Among his goals are to:
a.. Continue working on policing issues — one of his main priorities in his first year. Those include advocating more foot patrols, hiring more police officers who are minorities and city residents, filling police vacancies quicker and attacking open-air drug markets.
McFadden also called last year's much-ballyhooed police reorganization a flop. The new system created two super stations on each side of the Genesee River and eliminated neighborhood police stations.
"We've lost the community relationships we've built," he said.
a.. Improve courtesy at City Hall. Many residents complain about being treated rudely, he said.
a.. Reduce lead poisoning in the South District.
a.. Rebuild firehouses. "Most of them are barely standing up," he said.
a.. Require city and City School District employees to live in the city.
"We have to find a way that if you collect a check ... you have to reside in the city," he said. Perhaps, the city should offer overtime only to city residents as an incentive, he added.
a.. Hold design charrettes for Thurston Road and Jefferson Avenue.
a.. Fix up the Gardiner Recreation Center, 75 Grover St.
His comments were well-received by those who attended the speech.
"He's really looking for the community's input," said Karen Tipple, president of the 19th Ward Community Association. "And he has a handle on what the real issues are. That's real encouraging for us."
RARMON at DemocratandChronicle.com
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