The city of Syracuse along with politicians crowed like proud roosters after the adoption of legislation approving the massive Syracuse City School Renovation Project. Now the cameras are gone the program is in shambles and doubt uttered by some elected officials question the need for a fifth high school.

As the schools grow increasingly black and brown there appears to be a lack of commitment by the city of Syracuse and the board of education to educate our children. And, the African-American leadership has been silent. At key School reconstruction meetings African-American elected officials elected to be absent.

This isn’t a plea to toss money at the problem but how many times have elected and appointed leaders sashayed into our community promising change that never materializes?

Like bread, milk, eggs and politicians perhaps it’s time to toss something or one out like bad cheese…

The legacy of under education is staring out at young women gathered on South State Street yelling up at the Justice Center incarcerates, ‘Hey, boo.’

We live in a city where South Salina Street and its redevelopment appear to be stuck on pause while Little Italy on the city’s North Side has been heavily invested in as mostly African-American Economic Centers of the city go without.

A comprehensive study that provides analysis of the South Salina Street corridor’s economic development potential was shelved for years. The study shows millions of dollars spent by Southside homeowners leave the urban area to be spent at suburban shopping centers. As capital flees the urban community funds are not available for job creation and economic development in areas that statistically show tremendous promise.

The same has occurred on South Avenue. After investing in building over 80 new and or renovated homes nothing was done to attract traditional goods and services for the new homeowners who purchased homes on faith in city and community leaders.

Vast acreage lies unused once you pass the neatly manicured dwellings built by Jubilee Homes. Once you step away from the housing all of these enterprises look like a ship half built.

City and county government officials squabble like Jerry Springer guests while Onondaga Creek remains fenced in and underdeveloped. In any other community the lots would be turned to face the creek and suddenly – waterfront property in an urban area.

This urban waterfront investment would transform large swaths of property into taxable livable communities.

But not in Syracuse, here we’d rather argue while thousands of people leave every decade. The Mayor is in denial. Perhaps if we paid him per resident like a school aid formula he’d get it. We can’t fall for his Jedi mind tricks, ‘Housing is good…we are green.’

Let’s face it Syracuse is still being operated by the political spawn of Lee Alexander. These officials and their policies have not worked and should be retired because like milk or eggs even a public official has a shelf life. Enough is enough.

By failing to capture the economic development energy ignited by massive investment in housing the community and economic development machinery of the city has denied economic inclusion to these residents. This has gone on for decades and both parties have their fingerprints on this issue.

As the late George Carlin noted, ‘Blacks are deliberately kept down. Poor communities are deliberately under-funded.’ What makes the policies and practices of Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll any different?

Ken Jackson is the editor of Urban CNY. Reach him at