Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner answers your questions
Good morning and thanks for joining us. Our Live Q&A with Mayor Stephanie Miner is scheduled to begin at noon, but you can begin submitting questions if you like.
Friday January 24, 2014 11:44
Stephanie Miner: 
Thanks for joining us here. We've had some technical difficulties that are unrelated to the weather.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:06 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From Donna StonerDonna Stoner: ] 
Mayor, from an incident about 4 years ago, we know that our zoning code is antiquated...much too cumbersome and staff/ time intensive. Do you have any thoughts on re-creating a zoning code for current times/ that encourages investment and improvements? Thank you.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:08 Donna Stoner
Stephanie Miner: 
Yes and, as a matter of fact, we have taken the first steps toward updating our zoning code. A new Comprehensive Plan is scheduled to be voted on by the Planning Commission and then the Common Council and we also received a large grant from NYS to help us start this task.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:09 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From Former City ResidentFormer City Resident: ] 
The nepotism shown from your administration is very disconcerting. What are the reasons for this and why should there not be outrage from it?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:09 Former City Resident
Stephanie Miner: 
Everyone I hire is qualified and hard-working. No one is getting rich working for the City of Syracuse. You have to have passion and a commitment to making our City better. It is hard work and often unrewarding. Syracuse is a small city and I know a lot of people so it shouldn't be a surprise that I know people that I have hired.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:12 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From Syracuse SlumsSyracuse Slums: ] 
I for one am curious on why no pressure has been put on landlords to renovate and maintain their properties. Ripped up chicken wire fences, cheap vinyl siding, and broken porches don't cut it. I think the city of Syracuse needs to step up and do the right thing or be shamed into helping making the changes. These landlords are at fault but in my opinion so is the city for turning a blind eye. These landlords seem to be the ones in charge not the city. Does the Mayor feel the city shares any responsibility for the poor condition of housing in the city of Syracuse?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:12 Syracuse Slums
Stephanie Miner: 
We have made great strides in holding all property owners accountable - both in terms of focus and updating our city regulations. We have new regulations which require landlords to register and apply for certificates. So we are focused on this and making progress.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:13 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From CatchmeifucanCatchmeifucan: ] 
With all the financial issues the city has, what is your plan for the out-of-control not-for-profit properties in the city? At last count 58% of the properties in the city do not pay taxes. And with S.U buying every house up from Genesee St to south campus it’s not going to get any better.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:14 Catchmeifucan
Stephanie Miner: 
Non - Profit status is controlled by state and federal regulations so we work on this issue by being as strict as we can when we are asked to verify that an entity is indeed non-profit. THis often puts us in opposite positions with the university and hospitals. But, I also use my voice on this issue when I talk to state and federal leaders about issues impacting cities.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:16 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From JosefJosef: ] 
Mayor Miner: congrats on your new term and thank you for asking the right questions with the new SU arena. Since this project is set to be built within an urban environment (as oppose to on-campus), will the new task force be taking a look at the surrounding neighborhood's current needs and future health? My fear is that this project will focus too much on things like surface parking, space requirements, and demolishing buildings and not enough on smart growth, better transportation to and from Downtown and SU, improved sidewalks, and densifying the surrounding blocks.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:17 Josef
Stephanie Miner: 
In a word, yes. In fact, many of the preliminary questions I asked the chancellor to have answered focused on those very things. I look forward to having a thorough, holistic, and transparent process.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:18 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From KevinKevin: ] 
In 2012, a gaggle of local politicians and community leaders committed to beautifying Syracuse’s blighted gateways by removing graffiti, mowing grass, and picking up litter. More than 18 months later, the highways in Syracuse are lined with unprecedented amounts trash and five-foot tall grass along the shoulders and medians. Graffiti is present on all of the concrete retaining walls and bridges, especially near a downtown characterized as being on the upswing. In the previous Q&A, you stated the city tries to pick up trash only to see it reappear the next day. That may be so, but no attempts have been made to remove graffiti – most of which has been accumulating since the beginning of your administration. Grass along I-690 and I-81 hasn’t been cut in more than one year. Previously, you took much credit for convincing the state to foot most of the demolition bill for removing a crumbling building on North State Street. Why haven’t you exercised the same level of vigor to push the State to reinstate mowing and graffiti removal along I-690 and I-81? I have driven on interstates and major highways across the state, from Buffalo to Albany, and south to New York City and the appearance of I-81 and I-690 is the worst. Visitors, residents, and commuters don’t care whose responsibility it is, they just know that the appearance of this city from an interstate vantage point is unacceptable and downright embarrassing.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:20 Kevin
Stephanie Miner: 
I agree. I have been working with our state partners to address these issues. The property is owned and controlled by NYS. We cannot simply go on to NYS property and remove graffiti or garbage. Also, it wouldn't be safe for City workers to do this without the proper protections. I continue to hammer, pressure, cajole, and plead with state officials to work on this issue. Most recently, I have asked them to install cameras along these thoroughfares so we can hold people accountable who treat the environment like their own personal trash can.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:22 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From CC: ] 
Why don't you run your own Twitter account to be responsive to citizens, like @SvanteMyrick?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:23 C
Stephanie Miner: 
We have a city twitter account @syracuse1848 that we use.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:24 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
On numerous occasions, you have touted the city’s transformation into a “21st century” community that embraces technology and change, yet perceptions and cold hard facts seem to contradict that notion. Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and most recently Utica-Rome have received unprecedented levels of state funding for high tech initiatives in emerging areas like biotechnology, nanotechnology, renewable energy research and cyber security which are poised to create thousands of high paying jobs in those cities. Syracuse has been noticeably left out of these initiatives and is instead relying on low paying, low-skill jobs at a shopping mall and financially struggling hospitals for its economic salvation. Why haven’t you advocated for state and local leaders to invest in new technologies that will keep college graduates in the region. This city has no chance in mounting an economic comeback without middle and upper middle class taxpayers.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:25 John
Stephanie Miner: 
We've seen unprecedented economic development growth in CNY. We have received record awards for NYS in the Regional Economic Development Councils. Moreover, whether is sustainability initiatives, clean energy, or biomedical research we are making great strides in high-tech economic development. I think you will see Syracuse have posititive announcements in the near future in the very topics you address,
Friday January 24, 2014 12:27 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From DaveDave: ] 
Do you think the City has a problem attracting businesses, compared to the County, or other locales? If so, what are you doing to compete head to head to make the City a more attractive place to do business?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:28 Dave
Stephanie Miner: 
I think we are working in a hyper-competitive arena and we are competing with other parts of the globe. Economic development happens on a regional basis. So , no, I dont think we compete with the County. Rather, I think we have different strengths from Onondaga County. For example, does an employer need a campus for your business or a small start-up location close to everything? When we work together then we can offer different types of assets to different employers depending on their needs.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:32 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From eddieeddie: ] 
if the city enforced the nuisen laws that created, the first homeside of the city in 2041 wouldn't happen , because the killer lived in the building that had over 100 calls to 911 , in less that a year and a building houses the most thugs and criminals of the north side
Friday January 24, 2014 12:32 eddie
Stephanie Miner: 
Homicides are the most tragic and most unpredictable of crimes. They are often crimes of passion between people who have a relationship. We do enforce our nuisance laws and I think it is more complicated than saying because we "failed to enforce nuisance laws" we allowed a homicide to occur.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:35 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From TonyTony: ] 
In your "State of the City" speech, I noticed numerous references related to downtown redevelopment; most of referred to small retailers and apartment projects that were announced well over a year ago. Noticeably absent in downtown's modest recovery has been the growth in office employers. More restaurants, niche retailers and downtown residents are important, however without large and medium sized employers that offer good paying jobs, the downtown recovery will be short lived. What efforts are being made to attract new employers from outside of the region to fill the glut in Class A and Class B office space?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:36 Tony
Stephanie Miner: 
We are combining forces with the County and private business entities to position our region for growth. And we have been extraordinarily successful at these efforts (See largest grants for NYS REDC). Downtown has a demand for housing, retail, and office space as evidenced by the growth here. The market is demanding growth in those areas and we are following the market.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:37 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
I noticed you didn't begin your state of the city address this year by driving around the city. Is this because you were worried about smashing your car in one of the many potholes, or were you afraid to drive the city streets without your police chauffeur?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:38 John
Stephanie Miner: 
Haters hate - others are forces for good. Enuf said.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:38 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From FrankFrank: ] 
Would there be any chance of OTB's being open up it the city.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:38 Frank
Stephanie Miner: 
There would need to be a change in state legislation to allow that to happen.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:39 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Is there really going to be a new Sports Stadium replacing the Carrier Dome?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:39 Guest
Stephanie Miner: 
not unless its good for the community. In order to determine that we will have a good process to get to that answer.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:41 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From Former City ResidentFormer City Resident: ] 
Your hiring practices have been brought to light to actually be illegal. What do you have to say in response to this and your continual use of these illegal practices?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:45 Former City Resident
Stephanie Miner: 
The practices of SURA are not illegal. The SURA payroll is long-standing practice that has been utilized by all the mayors before me. We have made the payroll the smallest it has ever been and also moved a host people to civil service positions too. The reason is has been used by mayors is because it gives us the flexibility to assign people to tasks quickly and accomplish goals quickly - something every term-limited elected official is conscious of. Without SURA, I would not have been able to move as quickly with the land bank, the regional airport authority, and a host of other important initiatives. So we balance a decades-long practice with our needs as a city to move quickly and efficiently.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:50 Stephanie Miner
We have a lot of questions to answer and not much time left, so we're turning off the box for submitting questions. We'll try to get to as many questions as time allows.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:50
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Are you working on ways to cut crime in Syracuse? Every weekend there is at least one shooting or stabbing on the news.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:50 Guest
Stephanie Miner: 
Yes. Whether its new enforcement mechanisms like cameras or prevention operations like Syracuse TRUCE and the Gang Violence Task Force. We also are active in advocating for more sensible gun control initiatives too.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:51 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From DaleDale: ] 
Mayor, in your meetings with SU on the possible stadium, did the university indicate it is considering other land in the city for a new arena? Such as South Campus?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:51 Dale
Stephanie Miner: 
Yes. The consultant hired by SU said that there were three sites that were examined for a possible new stadium. I do not know if or how much land any of these sites had in the City.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:53 Stephanie Miner
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Is Onondaga County or NYS involved in the new sports stadium opposed to Syracuse City?
Friday January 24, 2014 12:54 Guest
Stephanie Miner: 
According to the media accounts, the County and NYS were apparently ready to fund a large portion of a potential new stadium. Yet, I have also been told that it was a "vision" and that there were no commitments by any party to a proposed stadium. That is why it is important to ask questions in writing, have a transparent process so there is some definitiveness to the representations made.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:57 Stephanie Miner
Stephanie Miner: 
Thanks for your time. Stay Warm. SAM
Friday January 24, 2014 12:58 Stephanie Miner
I'm sorry. that's all we have time for.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:58
Thank you for joining us, Mayor Miner, and thanks to all of you for looking in and asking terrific questions.
Friday January 24, 2014 12:58
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