In electing a mayor, two qualities matter above all others: the strength of the candidate’s vision for the office and his or her ability to implement it. A candidate must be intimately familiar with the problems currently facing the city and must present a strong plan to improve on them but will only find success if he or she can push that agenda through into long-term policy. It sounds simple, but amidst all the extraneous topics that often sidetrack political discussions from the real issues, these two components ultimately determine a candidate’s success.
There is only one candidate for mayor of Ithaca that we believe unequivocally exhibits both of these qualities: 4th Ward Alderperson Svante Myrick ’09.
Myrick has a strong vision for the City of Ithaca and the energy to enact his plan. He intimately understands the challenges facing the city and possesses the knowledge and expertise to combat them. Myrick recognizes that economic development should be one of the city’s top priorities and has presented a tangible initiative to see that it is realized. His growth plan, which centers development in the city’s core, will promote businesses in downtown Ithaca and improve quality of life by lowering the cost of living. He has also argued for creating a more pedestrian-friendly city that will concentrate commerce in Ithaca’s center, reduce traffic and save residents money in the long run. Finally, he has drawn up plans to reform Ithaca’s government structure by pushing for a city manager who will conduct performance reviews, act as a budget director and administer the structural operations of Ithaca’s city government. It is this comprehensive vision and unique perspective that the city needs.
But Myrick does not only offer a strong vision, he has the knowledge and support to implement it. Having spent four years on Ithaca’s Common Council, Myrick understands how to push ideas into policy within Ithaca’s current political structure. He is also backed by several Common Council members and other elected City officials. This will facilitate the implementation of his agenda.
In addition to his strong political connections, Myrick is in touch with the views of students and citizens in the Ithaca community. Students make up 50 percent of Ithaca’s population. Permanent Ithaca residents have long complained that students are apathetic about local politics and disinterested in community issues. These stereotypes, while not untrue, are unfortunate. By engaging with local interests, students can bring fresh ideas and new energy to the table. This, in turn, will benefit the city. As a Cornell undergraduate Myrick exemplified the opposite of these stereotypes, and as mayor he would set a strong positive example for student engagement.
Some have argued that Myrick may have too many ties to the University to adequately represent the City of Ithaca’s interests. However, we do not believe that this will be an issue. Myrick has made it clear that he is willing to stand up to the University when necessary, though he will work with Cornell toward stronger town-gown relations that will ultimately be to the city’s benefit.
Myrick is the right choice for mayor. He has the right vision for the City of Ithaca and the knowledge and expertise to see it through.