Mayoral race limps to an inconclusion

Walt Shepperd 10/29/09More articles
As the grapevine buzzed about a single digit difference in mayor’s race polls, the long awaited Post-Standard endorsement proved more reflective of the campaigning than those who waged the campaigns. With the future of the city hanging in the balance, this year’s race was rated uninspiring at best, and the P-S endorsement of Democrat Stephanie Miner was garnished with reservations.

Republican Steve Kimatian was given scant hope of offering real change, and Conservative Otis Jennings, while cited for charisma and helpful thoughts, was said to offer few specifics on getting the city back to economic health.
After spending inordinate time searching for a parking space downtown on his way to an interview, Jennings got very specific about economic development downtown, its relation to education, and indeed the role of parking.

“Develop a parking garage in the park,” he said, pointing to the city’s new “temporary” park at the corner of South Warren and East Fayette. “We were supposed to develop that parking garage for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. State of the art parking garage right there. It takes care of off-street parking. There’s not enough off-street parking.”

He detailed several interrelated elements necessary for economic well-being. “On the revenue side, I propose bringing the Empire State Games back to the city. It started here in 1978 at the old Archibold Stadium. It was so successful, they started to move it around the state. It has an economic development bump to the region of $10 million to $12 million. In 2010 it’s going to be in Buffalo. In my first year as mayor, I would put together civic groups and business organizations to develop the volunteer force you’re going to need. Apply for it at the end of 2010 and 2011 to make sure we have it for 2012 and 2013.

Syracuse is better located for the games, right smack dab in the middle of the state. That’s why they put the State Fair here.”

There is, however, according to Jennings, a very practical side of economic development that must be addressed. “We must have young people who are job ready,” he noted.
“We know it’s all eds, meds, green construction. Henninger High School has a great health career program. I would train our young people to make sure they were prepared, coming out of high school, to go into the construction and health fields. I would work with middle school students to be prepared for those fields if they’re not preparing for college. Training is critical. As mayor I would expand vocational education and make sure students understand the access they have to career preparation.”

Referencing the New York State Historic Tax Credit, Jennings cited its use, combined with federal funds, as the seeds for downtown development. The resulting construction, he maintained, would create jobs for inner-city youth coming right out of high school in collaboration with BOCES.

“When I announced I was running,” he added, “I had a group of the most successful businessmen in the region who backed me, who are willing to partner with the city for economic development impact and hire those youth. We put together a business plan, and they’re still with me.”

CATEGORY: Government
TAGS: Mayoral race syracuse,shepperd,Republicans in syracuse, Steve Kimatian,syracuse election 2009,Empire State Games,Conservative Otis Jennings
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 2.8/5 (5 votes cast)

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