No neighborhood left behind

As we careen towards the dog days of summer our local political leaders are about to vote in a new law that increases fines for “quality of life” type infractions. Crimes like drug possession, excessive noise and shooting dice will now face financial penalties paid to the city of Syracuse. Just what we need, more fines and additional laws.

Has anyone informed the council that these rules haven’t worked in the past? Old fashion deterrents aren’t effective in a modern day world.
As a kid at Le Moyne College’s Upward Bound Program I learned first hand how rules intended to help, turned out to be the most ineffective.

We would live on campus during the week while attending classes. Every Friday we’d hop on a bus and take a trip somewhere in New York. If there was any misbehavior, by any one of us, the group would loose their stipend or not go on a trip.

Father Butler retired and Carson Carr Jr. came in to run the program. It soon became clear that the time of old style blame everyone was over.

The next time there was trouble, Carr isolated the kids who were causing trouble. He’d make them wait all day outside his office. The student would be afraid of what was going to happen next. Around 4:30 p.m., Carr would look at the student outside his office and tell him or her, “Now you know how it feels to have your time wasted. Don’t let this happen again.”

And usually it didn’t.

My point is simple. Carson Carr would leave no student behind. He even integrated people with disabilities, which taught us all how to treat each other. Even the angriest so-called thug would be very protective of our students with disabilities.

The Common Council in creating a new spider web will only fill the Justice Center with more black kids and young adults. Instead of concentrating on dismantling failed urban policies that encourage neighborhood deterioration this council is on the verge of passing another new law.

Like the Democrats tell the big oil companies about drilling in Anwar Alaska, “you already have (insert old law here) and now you want more? You don’t even enforce what you have.”

It’s easy to make new laws because that’s what lawyers do. But when it comes down to making our communities safe and livable these repositories of knowledge apparently draw a blank.

Our spending or lack thereof has created little colonies of unchecked crime in what once where cherished prized Syracuse neighborhoods.

The Syracuse Common Council will pass this new law, get in their cars and drive back to their quiet manicured neighborhoods leaving the rest of us behind.