Syracuse Common Counci

Scott Willis/WAER News

The Syracuse Common Council loses a familiar face this year in four-term councilor Nader Maroun.  The democrat was known for asking his share of questions and not blindly following the democratic mayor.

“I’m always an advocate of robust debate.  It’s not a matter of whether you’re aligned with a particular administration or not.  Listen well to what the administration is putting forward, but be prepared to do your homework and understand the not-so-obvious consequences of decisions that you make.”

WAER file

One of the long-time members of the Syracuse Common Council who’s leaving this year has seen a lot of change in the city.  Van Robinson ends 18 years of service as president and a councilor.  His tenure in the city has an interesting spanning-of-generations since he came to Syracuse.

“The mayor was Bill Walsh.  And as I leave my political life, it’s ironic but the mayor-elect is his grandson Ben Walsh.  I wish the incoming administration all the luck in the world.  There’s a new city that has to be built.”

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.” 

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.

ongov.net

  Syracuse Police got one more way today to go after the stores that sell synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs...using a law originally meant to cut down on noise and petty crime.  The Common Council approved expanding the Nuisance Abatement law to include synthetic cannabinoids...and phenethylamines.  Councilor Pam Hunter say a spike in calls for people using these substances is creating a safety hazard for first responders. 

  A project by a private developer that was going to house a new Syracuse University bookstore and Fitness Center has to be put on hold after several financial problems couldn't get resolved.  Cameron Group was gong to build the center on University Ave., adjacent to an existing parking garage.  The University was then going to lease back most of the space to house its primary bookstore, while the developer would rent space to other retailers.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Children’s and Families’ health was the focus of a new Syracuse city proposal to restrict smoking in public places.  The measure passed, but not without concerns over who it might turn off of Syracuse’s festivals and events. 

John Smith/WAER News

Syracuse homeowners will be paying 1.5 percent more on their upcoming city tax bills in July.  The Syracuse Common Council approved the measure today to override Mayor Stephanie Miner’s spending veto.