Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sustainable Syracuse

Hawkins Unveils Destiny Alternative

"Through a mosaic of renewable sources including wind, solar, . . . hydro and biofuels . . . I believe we can get a renewable energy base in 10 years."

I'm sold. So many times I've heard others say, "If you don't have a way to do things better, don't criticize." Well, this is a man with vision, something even his opponents recognize. "Transcends party politics," and "big, bold ideas," are the kind of words spoken by local Republicans about Howie Hawkins. This is what Syracuse needs. It is anything but a pipedream.

In an article by John Mariani on the Syracuse Greens homepage, Hawkins explained how these plans are homegrown solutions with real intellectual weight and community backing:
Sustainable Syracuse is . . . the result of conversations among Green Party
members about plans and ideas that had been drawn up by community members,
groups and consultants . . . He cited nationally known urban planner Andres
Duany and researchers at the State University College of Environmental Science
and Forestry, including city planning professor Emanuel Carter, among the
To me Hawkins is a real alternative; the only alternative.

The following is a sample of Hawkins platform:

Sustainable Syracuse: Neighborhood-directed development using green technologies and widespread community ownership

We should replace the 8 big, merely advisory TNT sectors with 25 or so
Neighborhood Assemblies in the real neighborhoods of the city. They should be
empowered to direct neighborhood development, put the neighborhood details into
the city's Comprehensive Plan, review and amend the big urban design framework
in the city's Comprehensive Plan, and elect neighborhood officers to guide the
delivery of city services in their neighborhoods and compel the city to respond
to neighborhood needs and problems.

We need a neighborhood-based city government, with each neighborhood
electing a district councilor, a school board member, and members of other
citywide commissions. Representatives will serve smaller constituencies and be
forced to be more responsive and accountable to the neighborhoods that elected

The city needs city planning and business development capacities. Right
now the developers and absentee-owned corporations are calling the shots. With
Destiny, we are creating a highly-subsidized competitor to all retail and
entertainment businesses in the rest of the city. We are making a private
developer the effective city planner. Instead we should create a city Planning
Department that can help neighborhoods with community design and the city as a
whole with its urban design. We need a Municipal Bank with business development
capacity that can help plan, finance, and advise new community-owned enterprises
that put our own people into business as worker-owners. Developers and
corporations wanting to set up a branch here will then fit into our plans,
instead of use continuing to adapt to their plans which have resulted in an
eroded tax base, poor public services, and low-wage jobs. We can do better if we
do our own planning for what we need.