A sad day for America

A very sad day for America and all Americans. Hoping that the public servants injured in today’s violent attack are going to be alright and that their families are receiving the support they need in this crisis. Let’s honor those injured and give no platform for the grievances of the attacker by renewing our shared belief as Americans that our differences should always be worked out without violence.

Audacious Goals and Youth Poverty

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, 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.

Canandaigua Democrats Candidate Breakfast

My campaign for the Ward 4 seat on the Canandaigua City Council officially launched this past Saturday at the Canandaigua Democrats Candidate Breakfast.  The breakfast was a great opportunity to meet folks from both the town and city, and this year’s turnout was a great reflection of the renewed interest in local politics with three times the number attending than in years prior.

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My daughter (and make-up artist) Francesca Gerace  with me at the Canandaigua Dem Breakfast

Pictured above are most of the folks filling out the Democratic ticket this fall, and I’m honored to be in the company of such caring and civic-minded individuals.  It will be a great honor to campaign and (hopefully!) serve with them.

Speaking of campaigning, the next step in this process involves obtaining signatures for our petitions that will place us on the ballot in the

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Diana Kastenbaum made the drive from Batavia  (on her birthday!) to attend our breakfast.

fall.  I am crazy eager to get out there with petitions to meet more of my neighbors and hear about the issues concerning them. I’ll let you know how it’s going in my next post.