It’s important to me that my campaign adheres to the same rules I did as a journalist. That means we care about accuracy and fairness. We won’t lie or twist the truth for votes.

Not everyone shares these values. Lovely Warren plays fast and loose with the facts. It’s important to tell voters what’s really going on. Here are some of the false and misleading claims on her recent mailer to city Democrat about her alleged accomplishments. 

False: 30,960 jobs created or retained

The flyer cites no source for this figure. Here are sources on job creation and retention for the region, none of which upholds this claim.

  1. The Monroe County Industrial Development Agency claims it created and retained 19,427 jobs between 2014 and 2016. [1]
  1. The Rochester Economic Development Corporation claims it created 175 new jobs and retained 206 jobs in 2014 and 2015.[2]
  1. The New York State Labor Department reports in January 2014, the Rochester region had 509,800 total jobs. In March of 2017, there were 525,100 jobs, an increase of 15,300.[3]
  1. For the above data, we don’t know how many of these jobs are located in the city and how many were filled by city residents.
  1. The city itself has 88,000 people who have jobs.[4] This means Warren is claiming that in the three years she’s been in office, she’s created or retained the jobs of one-third of working city residents.
  • Job creation and retention claims made by governments are always dubious. It’s hard to measure how many jobs would have been created and retained without the tax incentives awarded to these companies.
    [5]
  • Rochester has the slowest growing economy in the nation.

The bottom line: It’s impossible to claim that 30,960 jobs were created or retained in the city or the region between 2014 and 2017.

Misleading: Unemployment rate fell from 9 percent to 6.3 percent.

Warren is using the unemployment rate cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the City of Rochester.[6] This rate is unreliable, because there’s no margin of error and it has a low sample size. The data for small cities is so questionable, the BLS doesn’t even publish it on its website. The BLS also uses a strict definition for what is considered unemployed. Under BLS rules, a person is unemployed only if that person has actively searched for work.[7]

The American Community Survey, administered by the U.S. Census, shows a different picture. It shows unemployment rate in the City of Rochester in 2015 was 14 percent. Unemployment for African Americans is 20 percent. The survey has a large sample size. It also includes a margin of error. The data gives a broader picture of the economic condition of people in Rochester.[8]

The bottom line: Warren cherry-picked a dubious statistic to hide the true economic challenges facing our city.

Misleading: Under her leadership, “ban the box” was implemented, which helps residents with prior struggles gain access to jobs.

Warren did not lead on this issue. She didn’t introduce this legislation as a mayor or as a city council member.[9] Her administration admits it does not actively enforce the law.[10]

The bottom line: The only thing she did for Ban the Box was sign it into law.

False and Misleading: Thanks to Mayor Warren, downtown has received $405 million in new downtown investments and $70 million in public and private grants.

We don’t know how Warren arrived at these figures.

If you only include projects announced during Warren’s tenure (some of them were in the works prior to her taking office), the investments add up to $215 million.[11]

These investments likely would have happened under any mayor, as downtown’s revitalization was started under Mayor Bill Johnson and continues through the present. For example, downtown’s population grew more than 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, well before Warren took office as mayor.[12]

Downtowns all over the country attracted young professionals and empty nesters.[13] Rochester was not alone in this trend.[14]

The Inner Loop, Midtown Plaza and Sibley were all projects that started under previous administrations.

It’s true that Warren funnels public money to affluent developers and residents downtown. For example buyers of condominiums get a 50 percent, 10-year property tax break. Residents in no other neighborhood enjoy these giveaways.

The bottom line: Warren had little to do with the investments downtown, other than continuing the policies of her predecessors that bolster wealthy downtown developers and residents.

Misleading: 1,150 percent increase in pre-k enrollment for 3-year-olds.

The state provided a $12 million grant to the Rochester City School District to expand prekindergarten for 3-year-olds. The district was one of 34 in the state to receive funding. The district applied for and administered the grant.[15]

The bottom line: Warren is taking credit for something engineered by the governor, state legislature and school districts.

Misleading: Crime is at a 30-year low.

Crime has been declining in Rochester and in most cities across the country for two decades. Criminologists do not know for sure why this is happening.[16] In Rochester, overall crime is down, but there are annual fluctuations in the homicide rate and other violent crimes.[17] The Rochester Institute of Technology found that homicides have increased over time.[18]

The bottom line: Crime is a mixed bag. There’s no evidence Warren is responsible for any drop in any crime category.

False: 5 million visitors annually

We do not know how Warren arrived at this figure. The Greater Rochester Visitors Association reports nearly 2 million visits a year. Those visits are not just to the City of Rochester.[19]

The bottom line: This appears to be completely made up!

 

Footnotes:

[1] http://growmonroe.org/reports

[2] http://www.cityofrochester.gov/redco/

[3] https://www.labor.state.ny.us/stats/cesemp.asp

[4] https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/S2301/0600000US3605563000

[5] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2016/08/30/performance-measurement-in-economic-development-even-the-standard-cant-live-up-to-the-standard/

[6] http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/blsla/lauct366300000000003

[7] https://www.bls.gov/lau/acsqa.htm#Q08

[8] https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/S2301/0600000US3605563000

[9] http://wxxinews.org/post/council-passes-ban-box-legislation

[10] http://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/ban-the-box-quietly-goes-into-effect/188733034

[11] http://www.rochesterdowntown.com/wp_rddc/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/STRATEGIC-CENTER-CITY-DEV-2016.pdf

[12] http://www.actrochester.org/Data/Documents/2010%20Redistricting%20Data%20Presentation.pdf

[13] http://therochesterian.com/2014/10/21/young-educated-city-living/

[14] http://therochesterian.com/2016/02/14/explaining-downtown-apartment-boom/

[15] http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2016/01/12/rcsd-3-prek-early-education/78316084/

[16] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/what-caused-the-crime-decline/477408/

[17] http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/01/02/murders-up-19-percent-rochester-2016/96082568/

[18] http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/blogs/law-and-disorder/2017/02/17/law-and-disorder-crime-murder-and-politics/98039934/

[19] http://www.visitrochester.com/about-roc/

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