Here are answers to questions asked at the NAACP forum (and a couple that were not). Feel free to alert me where proof reading is necessary…
What are thoughts about the racial and ethnic representation among the Rochester Police Department, and what ideas do you have to help bring greater diversity to that group?
The current makeup of the Rochester Police Department in not representative of the community and that is a weakness on the force. The current system has requirements that are disproportionately tough on people without generational wealth and the opportunities that come with it.
I believe in deliberate recruitment and on the job training and development which will allow us to grow talented people into a diverse workforce while paying them an honest living. Additionally under the current Mayor and Chief hiring classes have been more diverse.
What solutions might you advocate to bring about reforms to Rochester Police Department?
I do believe that we are blessed to have some tremendous civil servants in the City of Rochester. I also acknowledge that I have seen problems with some of our officers as well. I believe we should continue to review and implement our policies against national best practices. I was an early supporter of universal body cameras, I support data reporting and would like to see a strategy to track racial data as it pertains to stops and interactions. I want to see oversight and internal investigations not under police chief command.
To date, RPD continues to include provision for the use of a chokehold with citizens; are you in favor of this language, or would you consider promoting the elimination of such language in policy thus making choke hold use illegal?
We banned choke holds/neck or carotid restraints after George Floyds murder. We have not been used locally for over five years anyway. I do not believe that choke holds should be should be part of our standard practice. The only time that we will allow choke holds is if lethal force would otherwise be authorized and can hold could potentially take the place of the use of a weapon.
What improvements in the DMC planning process can be made to support businesses, big and small to maintain their customer base and revenue streams?
Smart growth is the long term solution more people living near businesses. A person who lives in a neighborhood will spend 7 times as much at local businesses as someone who visits there. As the new downtown apartments fill, customers will support the businesses in the area.
Work with businesses like on heart of the city we spent an additional $1 million to create a business forward plan.
Build enough space so that rental rates are not forced artificially high. Have in place vacancy fees which serve dissuade an unwillingness to accept tenants at lower rental rates.
We need more places than downtown. Uptown is special and the results of collaborative work throughout the district. New and old businesses there continue to thrive with opportunities presented.
Do you support the concept of the Rochester Public Library issuing municipal photo identification cards?
Yes, from this start this has had my full support and it continues to. Myself and CM Campion are ready to bring this forward, when the team is ready. There are specific situations that are unjust under our failed federal and state leadership and this could address some of these issues.
What ideas might you advocate to help provide more affordable housing within the City of Rochester?
Respect people who do not have accumulated generational wealth. We need to respect renters and stand up when NIMBYism serves to prevent new housing. We created transit oriented zoning, R2x zoning and need more flexibility in more places.
I led the adoption of a new comprehensive plan which rightfully merges land use and planning. New zoning codes will allow more housing in more places. I have worked to help create more than 1200 units of affordable housing and thousands more units which provide additional options and prevent further escalation. We can separate housing costs from automobile costs by eliminated parking minimums in appropriate locations
We must continue to have fair fees on a per acre basis to allow density to aid affordability.
Accessory dwelling units should be allowed city wide with common utility connections.
How would you address the transportation difficulties among low income people in the City of Rochester?
I am an advocate for making the public transportation system free to use. Early analysis shows that with collaboration between schools, downtown employers, and other agencies the cost of doing this might not be more that we are currently paying. In order to allow for these types of opportunities we must be deliberate about development and smart growth.
Good transit relies on sufficient density and mix of uses to be effective.
Municipal IDs can also serve as targeted relieve for younger, older, and low income citizens.
Additionally I am a champion for safe biking and walking routs which is critically important for those with disabilities. We continue to close gaps in our systems and make places more accessible.