Jean Kessner Saying 'Good-Bye' to Common Council still Concerned with Crime, Housing

Dec 26, 2017

Jean Kessner (l) leaves Councilor-at-Large position; term limits prevented her from running for reelection.
Credit WAER file

As the year ends, so do the Common Council terms of several well-known faces.  Councilor-at-Large Jean Kessner ends an eight-year run.  She hopes she’s remembered more for helping people than for any specific bills or laws she helped pass.

“When you go to ban-the-box or section-8 housing (measures), or any of the other things that we’ve passed, is that we just want to give people opportunity.  We don’t have money to hand out, but we can provide a level playing field.  That’s really, really important to me.” 

Thoughts from Outgoing Councilors All This Week on WAER FM 88.3

She often stood up against more police cameras in neighborhoods, just to pacify residents.

“What I’ve always wanted and advocated for is to have community policing.  If you’re going to put up a camera just to watch people, I don’t want that.  What I want for them is not just to feel safe, but to actually be safe.  And I never thought that got a fair airing.”

Kessner helped create and support the Syracuse Land Bank, to take care over and improve vacant properties.  But she worries current practices might make it ineffective.

“The Land Bank, in my opinion, in order to succeed, cannot be saddled with every bad property in the city, not much of an operating budget, and a very small staff.  There’s always been (a call for) ‘more properties, more properties,’ but what we want is another tool to make the city a more livable place.”

Kessner says she plans to stay active on civic issues.  She couldn’t seek re-election due to term limits.  Democrats Tim Rudd and Khalid Bey won the 2 Councilor-at-Large seats in November’s election.  Tomorrow will hear from Joe Nicoletti as he leaves his time on the Council.