New Organizer at Syracuse United Neighbors!

SUN has hired a new organizer!

Emily Bishop has joined SUN after working with the state-wide environmental group, New Yorkers Against Fracking, where she organized Central New Yorkers in the fight against fracking in New York State. She has experience at turning people out for rallies, strategizing on campaigns, writing press releases, and using social media.

Emily studied Sociology, Latin American Studies and Community Development at State University of New York at Purchase College where she learned to speak spanish and got angry with capitalism. She is originally from Syracuse, NY and is excited for the opportunity to work with a grassroots group like SUN in her hometown.

While SUN has been a part of a lot of city-wide initiatives, Emily would like to hear from our members about what issues are affecting them and what she should work on through SUN to serve the needs of the South and West Sides of Syracuse.

Emily also recently joined the near Westside neighborhood as a resident of Otisco Street!

No More Corner Stores!

SUN has been busy this summer, working with other groups from the Southwest side, to protect our neighborhood from a new proposed corner store on Oxford Street. 1069835_10152086232133569_939698791_n We’ve had a rally in front of the site of the proposed store (the old Midgely Printing building) and a meeting with Mayor Miner 1011480_10152086230688569_795986340_n to present her with our petitions in opposition and seek her help in stopping this store from opening.

We will continue working hard to stop thgis store–and help neighborhoods throughout the city fight off the scourge of criminal corner stores. As our petition to the Mayor states:

Our neighborhood struggled for over 20 years to shut down the criminal corner store A-Shack Market at the corner of Midland and Bellevue Aves. Our neighborhood is starting to rebound with new houses, a community garden and the promised relocation of the Oxford Inn homeless shelter. We cannot afford to have a corner store selling nothing more than alcohol, tobacco and lottery products, creating a lawless area for loiterers, drug dealers and trash/debris.

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Post Standard: Claire McGrath of SUN is “civic grit and living memory of Pearl Harbor”

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The Post-Standard’s columnist Sean Kirst profiled longtime SUN member Claire McGrath. You can read the whole piece here.

Our favorite quote from Claire:

If more people believed in their neighbors, and participated and cared more about their neighborhoods, I think we’d get a lot of things cleaned up and a lot more done.

Sign Of Frustration

Just saw this as I passed by! Check out the sign on the corner telephone pole at Midland and W. Ostrander Avenues:

Talking with neighbors, it’s clear that this sign is a measure of the frustration that residents in this area have with the open-air drug dealing that has gone on for years.

This sign isn’t an expression that drugs will not be tolerated (a “drug-free” zone.) This is an expression of frustration that the drugs are so plentiful they may as well be free.

Claire McGrath: SUN Lifetime Achievement Award

Without a doubt, the highlight of SUN’s 35th Anniversary Gala celebration held on October 20th was Claire McGrath’s appearance to accept her award for Lifetime achievement with SUN. She showed us all, at 84 years young, that she is still a firebrand!

Claire accepting her award at the dinner:

Here’s a photo of Claire confronting then Deputy Mayor Tim Carroll at a 2008 meeting on vacant houses:

From the SUN proclamation:

Claire McGrath: Lifetime Achievement Award

Claire McGrath is a force of nature, a forceful and determined woman, always willing to speak her mind and to fight for the causes she cares so deeply for: her family, her political party, her union, seniors, the disabled—and thankfully for all of us—for SUN.

Claire has been involved in practically every issue that SUN has pursued, joining us in the 1970’s at the beginning our campaign for property tax reassessment. She has held every office on our Board of Directors and always had a seat at the front table at public meetings, hearings and negotiations. She was always known to yell out—“I don’t need a microphone” and she was right.

Claire’s most famous line was documented on the front page of the Post Standard in 1994. SUN had invited the newly elected Mayor Roy Bernardi to a large public meeting and he attempted to slip unnoticed into a seat in the audience. Claire patted the seat next to her on the dais, and yelled out “We have a seat right here for you. Welcome to OUR world Mr. Mayor.”

As a young woman, Claire and her family were working at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941–the day of the Japanese air attack. Claire witnessed history as a teenager—she made history in Syracuse as an adult. SUN will eternally be in her debt.

Sign the Petition Today–Hold Corporate Tax Dodgers Accountable

We’ve heard it all before: state and local budgets are stretched thin and we’ve got no choice but to make deep cuts to our schools and services we all rely on. We’re broke–we can’t even think about dedicating money to create jobs or speed our economic recovery.

But we do have the money. Each year, New York spends $3 billion on corporate tax subsidies in the name of job creation. But too much of this money is wasted on corporations that game the system by cashing in on tax breaks while creating no jobs, poverty wage jobs, or even cutting jobs. With a small army of lawyers and lobbyists, greedy corporations have figured out how to avoid paying taxes while working families and less-savvy small businesses are asked to pitch in more or make sacrifices.

If corporations stopped dodging their taxes (and our politicians started holding them accountable for paying their fair share) we could spend what was needed to create good jobs and meeting the needs of our communities.

Sign the petition today to demand good jobs for the 99%, not giveaways for the 1%.

Unfortunately, the way New York’s economic development system is set up makes it easy to swindle taxpayers. Hundreds of shadowy agencies operate largely outside of public view, and most of the time, we have no idea we’re subsidizing these corporations. That Bank of America down the street? You paid for it. Those luxury apartments? You paid for that, too.

Though we can’t expose them all, we’ve just launched the Corporate Tax Dodgers Hall of Shame website to highlight some of the all-stars of corporate subsidy abuse. Check it out, discover who your footing the bill for and nominate some of your favorite tax dodgers.