We are fighting for a thriving, livable city where all have stable, quality and affordable homes, where police are held accountable by the communities they serve, and where walkable, bikeable streets and fantastic public transportation connects us to our work, schools, and families while creating a more sustainable future.
These are the issues that matter the most to me because these are the issues that matter to my East District neighbors. It’s my privilege to have earned the trust of my community, partners, and fellow activists to carry forward our shared vision of a better Rochester for All. This will not be an easy fight but it is a fight we will win, Together.
In strength and solidarity, Mary
(Click the heading to scroll down the policy points for each platform point)
Too many Rochester families are burdened by the same unmet human right: stable, quality, affordable homes. Solving the housing crisis is our city’s strongest defense against the generational poverty that determines our children’s fate from the moment they’re born. We must turn up the pressure on city officials, negligent landlords, and developers to immediately address the unsafe living conditions, rising rents, and displacement of families due to rapidly changing neighborhoods.
Rochester Police are not being held accountable for abiding by the laws that they are responsible for enforcing. Children of color in particular, who already face an uphill battle due to poverty and failing schools, are unfairly targeted due to racial profiling and punished severely for minor infractions that children from wealthier suburbs are not. Only an independent, community-led Police Accountability Board with the ability to subpoena evidence and to enforce disciplinary measures will be able to hold our law enforcement officers to a higher standard, ensuring that Rochester is safer for all and a place where equity and justice prevail.
When bus routes are cut, more of our citizens become further isolated from work, school, healthcare, grocery stores, childcare and recreation. We have longer waits and fewer options for affordable commutes. Our city streets and public transportation system should strengthen our connections to family, friends, and vital services. Reliable public transportation and streets that are designed for walking and biking reduce our carbon footprint and create a more sustainable future for all.
Tenant Union Platform -
- Dignified Conditions: Tenant Right to take Landlords to court and sue for Repairs
- Stable Housing: Good Cause Eviction Protection and Universal Rental Assistance Program
- Affordability: Expand Rent Stabilization
- CLT - Community Land Trusts give communities the ability to control the sale of land and thus the housing market in an area by creating permanently affordable housing options through ground leases and a restriction of resale values.
- Truly affordable housing - We must question how affordable is defined. When the Area Median Income (AMI) of the county is used, 60%-80% of AMI becomes unaffordable. We need more housing at the 30%-50% range and project based Section 8.
- Removing single-family zoning - Single family zoning prevents multi-family dwellings which are more affordable and more often rented. The ideal of having a high home ownership rate means displacement of those not able to afford buying a home. We must make space in city neighborhoods for those wishing to live in apartments.
- Co-op ownership - Cooperative ownership is a way to make ownership accessible to more people and lower the cost of living.
- Access to loans & servicing loans - Renters who can pay high rents every month should be granted mortgages (most of the time, for less than they pay in rent) Equally as important as access to capital is the servicing of the loans. Single-parent families especially can run into situations that lead them to falling behind on mortgages and lenders need to be able to work with them to get them caught back up. Genesee Coop FCU is a great example of this ability.
- Create more multi-family, single family housing inside neighborhoods in contrast to large scale apartment projects on the boundaries of neighborhoods.
- Hold Landlords accountable for not fixing code violations. (Use section 304 of multiple residence law that allows for fines and jail time for any open violations older than 30 days.
- Tax breaks and incentives for landlords to improve and provide affordable rents, for developers to finance co-op projects in addition to or instead of tax breaks for building new.
- Put the power back into the hands of the community and give preferred developer status to community entity like land trusts, tenant union or neighborhood assoc.
- Eminent domain to take houses from speculative, absentee landlords - This would be very controversial but there is precedent with this being successful with the Dudley St. Initiative
- Change the City Auction to give the ability to circumvent the auction or preference to neighbors, land trusts and neighborhood organizations so they can buy auction houses.
City council voted in May to send the Police Accountability Board legislation to a ballot referendum to be voted on the public in the November General election in November. City Council members will have the ability to appoint 4 of the board members and final approval of all nine members.
This legislation will enact an citizen-led Police Accountability Board with the following pillars:
- An independent agency of city government, separate from RPD
- The power to independently investigate complaints of police misconduct
- Subpoena power to compel the production of evidence and witnesses
- Disciplinary power, recommending a range of options from a negotiated disciplinary matrix
- The power to review and evaluate RPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures to recommend systemic changes and to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.
Link to the Police Accountability Board Legislation
Vibrant cities are filled with pedestrians, bikers and public transit. Improving mobility is a critical piece to improving the quality of life for our families and making Rochester a more green and sustainable city. This is the spark that will attract jobs to our city.
- Better public transportation options
- Coordinated ride-sharing
- Work with employers to come up with transportation incentives to allow more city residents to access jobs
- Design streets and sidewalks that make walking and biking a safe and predictable experience. The Complete Streets model gives us a great example of how this can happen.
- Cluster development of amenities and needed services around already existing transit hubs
“We are one, our cause is one and we must work together if we are to succeed.” - Frederick Douglass