Voices: Invest in Our Community Coalition’s Letter to Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon “Invest in Our Community”

The letter (see copy below) was delivered via email to the County Executive and County Legislators. It was signed by those listed below. It’s part of the debate regarding American Rescue Plan funds, and the large surplus the county has amassed. There’s a concern that vital needs of the community will not be addressed. Therefore, a group “Invest in Our Community Coalition” that has come together in an effort to make their collective voices heard.

7/28/22

Dear County Executive Ryan McMahon,

Our community is in need of funds for housing, for mental and physical healthcare, childcare and social services, and to adequately address the lead crisis affecting young children and their families.

According to the best estimate, each year – more than six-hundred children in our county are poisoned by exposure to toxic lead, primarily from paint in their homes. The poisoning is irreversible. The majority of those affected are living in segregated poverty in Syracuse. We have been told there is not enough funding to fully address this decades-old crisis. Those who speak out about the problem face eviction and the lead ordinance has yet to be properly enforced due in part to the lack of appropriate allocation of County funds.

Imagine what $85,000,000 (equivalent to 2 ½ times the local dollars to the health department and 3 times the local dollars for children and family services) could do, if properly allocated, to meet community needs for childcare, mental health services and for improving our housing and infrastructure. There is also an urgent need to provide adequate staffing and funding for the Onondaga County Health Department, and for solving the lead poisoning crisis once and for all. We join with community organizations, experts in public health, CNY faith leaders, over 1000 petitioners, and many more community members that are voicing their concern about the use of funds and yet the avenues available to provide input are far from ideal. We insist upon increased community input, and transparency.

The community must be heard on this issue.
Our families need relief.

Sincerely,

Invest in Our Community Coalition

  • Oceanna Fair      Families for Lead Freedom Now! (South Branch Leader)
  • Darlene Medley      Families for Lead Freedom Now! (West Branch Leader)
  • Mariana Pernia, MD      Syracuse Peace Council (Steering Committee Member)
  • Sandra D. Lane, PhD, MPH       Public Health, Syracuse University
  • Mary Cunningham        Families for Lead Freedom Now!
  • Charles Pierce-El     Greater Syracuse Southside Neighborhood Association (President), Save the 16th
  • Jacqueline Lasonde    Greater Syracuse Southside Neighborhood Association (President), Save the 16th
  • Palmer Harvey  Syracuse Tenants Union (Founder)
  • Jaime Howley       Syracuse Tenants Union (Founder)
  • Bishop H. Bernard Alex         National Action Network Syracuse Chapter (President)
  • Rev. Linda Briggs       Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (Lead Organizer)
  • Rich Pulchaski Syracuse United Neighbors (Executive Director)
  • Robert A. Rubinstein PhD, MsPH    The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
  • Rev. Beth DuBois   CNY Poor People’s Campaign (Tri Chair)  Pastoral Associate, University United Methodist Church
  • Galyn Murphy-Stanley       Neighborhood Outreach and Food Center Coordinator, UUMC
  • Tammy Honeywell        Syracuse Democratic Socialists of America (Chapter Co-chair)
  • Clayton Terry        Syracuse Democratic Socialists of America (Ecosocialist Committee Co-chair)
  • Richard Kornbluth    CNY Solidarity Coalition (Coordinating Committee Member)
  • David Babcock, Environmental Engineer
  • Joseph Bennett
  • Barry and Barbara Gordon
  • Sunny Aslam, MD
  • Robert Sarason
  • Andra Leimanis
  • Teresa Mary Gavagan
  • Anika Flagg
  • Elaine Denton
  • Peter King
  • Martha M. Ours
  • Keller Shelton
  • Constance Nyman