ACT Rochester’s report highlighted long-known and heartbreaking truths about the Rochester area. Inequality, segregation and poverty are deeply entrenched – and linked to structural racism. We’ll need structural solutions.
I’m proposing the following to address structural racism and inequality.
- Bridge the Digital Divide: A citywide fiber internet network would level the playing field for our students, half of whom do not have internet at home. The network would also attract jobs.
- Improve Transit: Many residents rely on public transportation. We must be a strong partner with the transit authority and advocate for better funding and services.
- Improve Traffic Safety: Implement Vision Zero Rochester, a comprehensive traffic safety program. Through enforcement, education and road design, we can mitigate the everyday mistakes made by drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Making a mistake shouldn’t be deadly.
- Connect Jobs and Residents: Make sure all local agencies and schools are working together to ensure residents seeking employment and training have access to programs.
Fight for City:
- End Job Sprawl: Work with economic development agencies to de-incentivize suburban job relocations and incentivize employers to locate in the city. Jobs should be located on transit lines. Single-occupancy commutes should be discouraged.
- Desegregate City Schools: People with means have largely abandoned the City School District. Our best city schools are socioeconomically and racially diverse. We must encourage all families to invest in the public school system. We must provide opportunities at all schools. A countywide school system is the right thing to do, but it’s an easier lift to start within our borders.
- More Childcare: The city can play a role in funding childcare subsidies. The city can work with employers seeking economic development aid to offer childcare assistance.
Criminal Justice Reforms
- Legalize Marijuana: The costs associated with Prohibition – mass incarceration and violence – are too high. The drug is also widely used and available. It should be legalized and taxed. The mayor can advocate for this, and at the very least decriminalize.
- Not Crime to be Poor: Reform bail system and other financial penalties that may hinder individuals charged with low-level crimes from working or getting on their feet. The mayor can advocate for such policies.
- Police Accountability: Rebuild trust between citizens and police by reforming the way misconduct complaints handled and investigated.
Hold Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative Accountable
- Open Records: Put under control of government agency, so it’s subject to open records laws.
- Policies, not Programs: Focus on policy-level solutions, such as expanding Earned Income Tax Credit and managing the “benefits cliff.”