Steve Kimatian and Syracuse’s own little Willie Horton

One has to hearken back to a time in the early to late sixties when George Wallace and Richard Nixon scared “the-be-Jesus” out of the average middleclass white American by playing the law and order – race card. Yes, I said it, and unlike those you see in public life and the media I’m not shrinking from my stance.

Like a 1968 recording re-released to serve a purpose with these images, Republicans running against Massachusetts Gov. George Dukakis’s run for the presidency, famously displayed the photo of a paroled “Willie Horton,” who once released went on to commit heinous crimes again. Today’s new re-stylized villain is the poor, black child who according to politicians such as the recently minted Republican party nominee for mayor Steve Kimatian need a curfew.

I’m a registered Republican, and as much as I’d like to say this is a Republican “thing,” I can’t. Consider that Democrats being in power for almost a decade have done nothing but mask the problem with bad smelling incense, there’s no difference between parties when it comes to the neglect of the poor black child in Syracuse.

Ask a parent of a teen, it’s not easy being a parent in a city where we’ve already spent countless resources without question in areas that have maintained relatively high property values and stable home values at the expense of our most challenged neighborhoods. It is only when these challenged neighborhoods hit rock bottom does our local government apply for OTHER money to come in an assist these challenges, challenges that are not even addressed in our annual budgets. How many blocks and lives are destroyed before the Calvary is called in?

The Justice Center and our city operated parking garages are better maintained facilities than city of Syracuse schools. And there doesn’t seem to be a real prioritization of resources to address the problem.

Making the under-served urban child the scapegoat for nonexistent sustainable, livable poor communities is as American as standing in front of an Alabama Schoolhouse door telling people, “I’ll make you safe.”

What better way to help urban parents then to propose curfews that have been shown time and time again, in city after city, to do nothing to solve these problems caused late-at-night by imaginary underage black children running rampant in our cities streets.

In addition, alternative to incarceration advocates, law enforcement officials and other professionals who service young people are against this type of legislation, and those who’ve proposed these draconian measures don’t have a statistic to show a reduction in crime.

What’s disappointing in Mr. Kimatian’s approach to the issue is that he offered nothing but the politics of fear to a mostly conservative white electorate. Congratulations on your victory Mr. Kimatian. Now – I’m frightened.