West Campus, North Campus and Collegetown residents will have an opportunity to cast their votes for Cornell students in two contested races tomorrow, and could choose a representative in two other local races.
In the City of Ithaca’s fourth ward, which comprises West Campus and much of Collegetown, Jamison Moore ’04 and Peter Mack ’03 will be squaring off for one of the ward’s two Common Council seats.
Moore is running on the Democratic Party’s slate. Mack is running on the East Hill Unity Party slate, along with incumbent Joan Spielholz, who is running for the other fourth ward seat. Mack and Spielholz are both endorsed by Ithaca Mayor Alan Cohen ’81.
In interviews and in their political literature, Moore and Carolyn Peterson, the other Democratic candidate for the fourth ward, voice concern over urban sprawl and fair wages. They encourage smart growth, or promoting the reuse of current downtown commercial areas for new businesses. Both are endorsed by the Ithaca Living Wage Coalition.
Mack and Spielholz see encouragement of business in Ithaca as essential to keeping rent and property taxes down. Both seats are for two-year terms.
Derek Burrows ’03, running on the independent Collegetown party, is pitted against three-term incumbent Nancy Schuler, a democrat, for the fourth district on the Tompkins County Board of Representatives.
Burrows hopes to bring student representation to the county board for the first time. His main concern, in addition to bringing a student voice to the board, is to retain sales tax dollars by encouraging responsible growth in the county and to manage the budget more responsibly. “We have suffered from eight years of mismanagement and poor planning. Tax hikes are imminent to head off pressure to the budget.”
Schuler, having served on the board for 12 years, is looking to build on her work in office this coming term, by extending public transportation service between Collegetown and downtown Ithaca and coordinating with the county health department to make restaurants safer, she said.
As far as meeting pressing budget concerns, Schuler added, “Money has to come from somewhere. … I am looking forward to working with the University in figuring out a sort of payment in lieu of property tax [which Cornell does not pay, due to its tax exempt non-profit status].”
In the North Campus and Fall Creek area, home to approximately 3,000 freshmen and over 20 fraternities and sororities, Daniel Cogan, a Cornell researcher on the Democratic Party slate and William Korherr, running as part of the Fall Creek Progress and Development Party, vie for the Fifth Ward seat.
Cogan wants to focus “on trying to encourage development as much as possible in already built up places of the city — students and everyone here should get basic needs met without having to depend on a car,” he said. Cogan considers himself one of the few critics to stand up to the “current administration which has subverted the democratic process. … The Common Council has fallen in step behind [the mayor], and, with certain exceptions, people haven’t tried to restrain his power grab,” Cogan added.
Korherr — who could not be reached for comment — is in favor of national chains moving into the city more aggressively in the Southwest area near Buttermilk Falls park, downtown, and in the West End. Korherr sees this as necessary to stem the flow of sales tax dollars to locations outside of Tompkins County.
Archived article by Yoni Levine