Still Organizing In The Street

It’s been a year of change here at “Still Racing . . .”  After twenty years, I left my position as a community organizer with Syracuse United Neighbors.  I have taken a new job as an advocate for disability rights with ARISE–a center for independent living (CIL) here in Syracuse. There are 37 CIL’s in NY State and their mission is to help persons with disabilities live independent lives in the community–rather than being forced to live in institutional settings such as nursing homes.

The scale is different. SUN is a small grassroots group with two employees and an annual budget of $150,000.  ARISE is a sprawling social service provider with over 700 employees and a budget over $15 million. The atmosphere is more corporate–I have a cubicle, a name tag, I sign in and out of our building.  I am no longer salaried, I am an hourly worker. Continue reading

High Hopes–Met And Exceeded!

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Local columnist for the Post-Standard Sean Kirst (and a Bruce fan), once wrote a column about the best one-night rock show ever in Syracuse. He picked a 1957 rock and roll caravan, where up to 10 groups traveled together and each played 3-4 of their hits. These caravans were a big thing in the 50’s and 60’d–a musical revue with girl groups, soul, rockabilly and crooners all sharing the bill.

The May 13th performance of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in Albany, NY reminded me of this style of show. The difference of course is that Bruce & the E Streeters were the only band–and the music may have been even more diverse.

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Crunch Time

i-ZBq6hXN-MI attended my first Syracuse Crunch game since their inaugural season in 1994. This being the Crunch’s 20th anniversary, I figured why not give it another shot! (Discount tickets from my wife’s employer didn’t hurt either.)

(photos by Scott Thomas of Views Infinitum)

I really do not know why it took so long for me to get back to a Crunch game. Hockey is a sport that is best seen in person. The game was exciting, had some scoring and was pretty well attended for a bitter cold CNY evening. I had, on the face of it, pretty lousy seats–just a couple rows from the top and closer to one end than the other. But however much the locals like to criticize the War Memorial, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. It’s small enough that even the “nosebleed” seats give you a great view.

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Controlling Our City’s Destiny

Update 2-12-14
City of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announces her opposition to a OCIDA tax break for the Destiny USA hotel (and 18 year PILOT–and I’m sure the payments will go directly to defraying the costs of construction and access to the site–so absolutely no money will flow to the city or county in property taxes.)

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There is no better metaphor for the Destiny USA mall and its relations with local governments and taxpayers than the smashed-up, upside down, crashed house of Wonder Works featured inside the mall.

The most troubling aspect of the recent announcement that Bob Congel and the other parasites that control Destiny USA is planning to open a new hotel that will cater to shoppers who travel long distances to the mall, is the second part of the announcement: Destiny and its owner Bob Congel will seek tax breaks from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency for the project.

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