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Criticism of Miner’s Appointment is like the Pot Calling Kettle Black

Criticism of Miner’s appointment like pot calling kettle black I remember Lee Alexander, the late mayor of Syracuse, the catchy phrases and behaviors that optimized his campaigns and solidified Syracuse as a democratic stronghold. Remember “We for Lee,” “one of the 10 best mayors in America”? As a leader of the nation’s mayors, Alexander made this oversized town glisten with loads of federal dollars for projects, from fire stations to public fountains. Syracuse had a leader with panache. On the news I remember seeing Mayor Alexander standing in front of the Common Council, the media and the world, yelling, “This is my city.”

So when I hear criticism of Mayor Miner’s nomination to become co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party it appears to be politics as usual. Syracuse mayors have always tried to reach beyond the city boundaries in efforts to save this place.

Tom Young went to Baltimore, M.D., when he was considering Carousel Center, Franklin Square and removal of massive oil tanks and the junkyard at the tip of the nation’s most polluted lake. Young also turned Armory Square into the development magnet it has become. While re-branding Carousel into DestiNY perhaps we should re-name the area from Franklin Square to DestiNY the “Youngstown District.”

Mayor Bernardi built a Skating Rink and enhanced the cultural core with a year-round venue, went to Washington and became an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mayor Driscoll ran this city like a good bartender runs the bar. He worked with anyone, whether you were of power or not. Neighborhood Services had a strong advocate in Dennis Brogan, who knew where everything was and responded to everything from uncut lawns to obscure neighborhood issues. Every bar tender has to deal with drunks and knuckle heads and common folk, like spinning plates on “America’s Got Talent.” That’s why former Mayor Driscoll is running New York State’s Environmental Facilities Corporation.

I was surprised when a Syracuse Common Council member with mayoral political ambitions scoffed at an “upgrade” of our mayor’s status. If we were Hooterville or Petticoat Junction it wouldn’t matter.

But we’re Syracuse and we strive to do better, and historically we’ve supported individual achievement. So congratulations on the appointment, Ms. Miner. I’ve not always written in support of how Miner runs the city of Syracuse, but I’m not going to knock her elevation to the State Democratic Party Co-Chair.

It’s difficult to govern in a city where half the Common Council is “profiling” to run against you. Our mayors, whoever they may be, must be encouraged to seek opportunity for our city. This does not preclude our mayor from having ambitions – some act as if ambition were something the Surgeon General should post a warning on.

Originally Posted May 23, 2012

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