Incumbent Tompkins County District Attorney Matthew Van Houten (D) won the Democratic D.A. primary in a comeback victory over Edward Kopko, who led election night returns with 57.5 percent of the vote. Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles (D-2nd District) maintained her election night lead, cruising to victory in the primary race for New York State assembly.
On their July 1 meeting, the Common Council discussed Ithaca’s pandemic-driven $2 million deficit, 5G internet and a commemorative marker for writer Alex Haley. Comments and questions were also brought up on the national debate over defunding the IPD.
The Ithaca Fire Department rescued a man who fell into a 30-foot dam on Six Mile Creek near Giles Street on Sunday, marking the fifth time this past month the fire department responded to a dam-related incident.
It took eight minutes and 46 seconds for Officer Chauvin to murder George Floyd, but it has taken 400 years for America to face brutality by rogue police. This tragic, repulsive murder presents yet another opportunity to address police accountability. Police officers are often not held accountable for their actions, because their departments rarely conduct internal investigations. When they do, in my experience, the nature and scope of the investigation is never publicly disclosed, and almost always results in exoneration. In most accusations of abuse by police, just as in the April 2019 incident on the Ithaca Commons, the District Attorney never even investigates. As a candidate for Tompkins County District Attorney, here is an outline of how I will address police misconduct:
A Police Misconduct Board will be established within the Office of the District Attorney.
I encourage my neighbors and all voters in the 125th to choose Jason Leifer for State Assembly in the election June 23. We have plenty of credible candidates running, but Jason has accomplished some amazing things. He was the Dryden town board member who advocated using zoning and local control to ban fracking, a decision that was the beginning of the end of fracking in New York State. He has fought corporate control from Anschutz Exploration to Spectrum, deciding that his town would make its own decisions on what to allow and whom to serve — first by banning fracking and now by exploring municipal broadband. As town supervisor, he fought for community solar, and for the past several years he has required all new developments to use green building techniques.
In front of the Ithaca Police Department, after a peaceful march filled with chants from the heart of Cornell’s campus to the Commons, a light rain began. The crowd of over a thousand knelt on the pavement in front of the police department for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the time it took for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to suffocate George Floyd to death.
The June 23 primary features seven candidates for New York State Assembly. For many reasons, I support Jason Leifer for this critical position. I admire Jason for his stance against fracking and for the hard work he and his fellow town board members put in to keep it out of Dryden and eventually out of the state. I respect Jason’s support of working people and unions, which is exemplified by his pro bono legal work as well as in his encouragement of a resolution calling for a countywide living wage. I appreciate Jason’s decision to move toward municipal broadband so that we are no longer held hostage by Spectrum or forced to live with no internet at all.