Politics & Government

Political news


  Congress member John Katko says, like people across the world, he was sad to hear about the attacks in Paris this weekend.  But unlike others, he was not shocked.

“An element of me said ‘this is exactly what we thought was going to happen’, based on the vulnerabilities we knew about Europe when we went over to visit them firsthand”

Minimum Reality Wage Check / http://www.minimumwagerealitycheck.com/news-release/organizations-join-together-to-oppose-minimum-wage-hike/

  Farmers and small business owners from across Central and Upstate New York gathered in Albany on Wednesday to announce their unified position against the proposed $15 hourly minimum wage.  Dozens of business organizations and trade associations representing everyone from tourism and retail to restaurants and transportation have formed a coalition to oppose the wage hike.  Executive director of Unshackle Upstate Greg Biryla says most studies show a correlation between wage hikes and the cost of goods and services.


  Onondaga County voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose their next county executive.  Toby Shelley says he wants to give voters a choice, and thinks there are many who are frustrated with Joanie Mahoney.  He describes himself as a moderate democrat who’s fiscally conservative…creating a unique political dynamic…

Lance Denno and Helen HudsonCredit Facebook.comEdit | Remove

    This is a third in a series of profiles of selected local races in Onondaga County ahead of the Nov. 3 election. 

An incumbent, a former councilor, and a retired police chief are running in the Syracuse Councilor-At-Large race. However, voters will choose only two of them. 

Sharon: Facebook.com; Hunter and Stott, Scott Willis, WAER

  This is the second in a series of profiles of selected local races in Onondaga County ahead of the Nov. 3rd election.

Ask Republican John Sharon, Conservative David Stott, and Democrat Pam Hunter what they hear most from voters on the campaign trail…and each of them says jobs.  Here’s current Syracuse Common Councilor Pam Hunter:

susanboyleforcouncil.com and davebarretteforcouncil.com

  This is the first in a series of profiles of selected local races in Onondaga County ahead of the Nov. 3rd election.


Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole wants to set the record straight on a number of allegations made by his green party opponent in recent weeks.  Masterpole is rebutting many of Howie Hawkins' claims, including that he’s not doing enough audits compared to his predecessor.

"My opponent references '11 audits per year and you're doing 4.'  I haven't counted 11 unique audits in 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011.  There's no 11 unique audits."

Masterpole says he personally sets his office’s performance indicators; they’re not dictated by the city charter.  He says there’s a simple explanation for why the number of audits might be down. 

"The land bank audit was very extensive, it was time consuming, it was needed to help the land bank which is doing great work helping clean bad properties from our neighborhoods, collect taxes, etc.  Had I known at the time the extensiveness of that audit, maybe I would have set that performance indicator backwards."

Masterpole says the land bank audit is necessary to help the relatively new city-county entity build a path to success.  He also refutes a claim by Hawkins that audits of alcoholic beverage surcharge revenue at Clinton Square festivals are a low priority. 

"Before we started monitoring it, it would bring in  between$20,000 and $25,000.  Now I ask each festival, we want to know how much alcohol you sold, backed up with receipts from the beverage companies.  We're up to about $100,000, or up  $70,000 a year."

Which translates to about $250,000 over the past four years.  Masterpole says he’ll continue those audits because it makes sense to put that money back into parks operations.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Green Party candidate for Syracuse City Auditor Howie Hawkins is getting support from three former city officials, all democrats.  Hawkins knows former Common Councilors Lance Denno and Pat Hogan, as well as former Deputy City Auditor Lawrence Bott are taking a bit of a political risk.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  A coalition of Syracuse groups is urging residents to turn out at a public service commission hearing next week about utility shutoffs.  

51-year-old Patrick Dodrill of Syracuse has been without power since August.  He’s been looking for a job since April.   And, he's facing eviction.  He says public assistance just can’t cover rent and utilities. Dodrill lives alone, which makes him ineligible for utility assistance. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Three-time Nobel peace prize nominee Kathy Kelly and a band of supporters from Central New York began walking from Hancock air base to Niagara Falls Wednesday to protest the use of weaponized drones. 

Kelly recently returned from her 16th trip to Afghanistan, where a father and four fellow graduates of the police academy were killed by drone fire while sipping tea in a garden. 

"The wife of this young man said 'Believe me, I hope this never happens to someone from your country.' How is she going to tell this child, your father was killed by a computer."