The most important message of my campaign is that our city is capable of achieving audacious goals when we work together.  I was inspired by the Dandelion Project, a community project underway in Guernsey, a tiny island nation in the English Channel. Everyone that lives in Guernsey is part of the Dandelion Project, which has one, honkin’ big audacious goal:  Make Guernsey the best place to live on the PLANET by 2020.

One of the audacious goals for the city of Canandaigua that I am noodling on is the elimination of poverty.  According to City-Data.com, 22% of Canandaigua’s residents have incomes below the poverty level, and 15% of them are children.   Of the poorest, those living below half of the poverty level, 16.6% are 16-17 years old.  We beat the State of New York on that one: statewide the rate is 9.8%.

Poverty is a complicated problem (obvi, I’m aware), and it’s “sticky” to boot:  kids who grow up in poverty are likely to remain in poverty as adults.  But poverty is a cycle, and cycles can be broken.  What are the interventions that our city government can facilitate and/or deliver that can help break the cycle for the kids and young adults in our community specifically?  Just some of the ideas that occur to me are:

  • Municipal and traffic fines based on income
  • Municipal projects that include employment and volunteer opportunities for poor youth
  • Enhanced summer and after-school recreational programming for teens and young adults

Eliminating youth poverty in Canandaigua may sound over-reaching and quixotic, but tackling problems like these is my vision for what effective and engaged city government should and can work on.  If I get the chance to represent you on Council, it will be.

Do you have some ideas about how city government can address youth poverty?  Drop me a line.

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