ANSWERED: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

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ANSWERED: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Mr. Natural » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:31 am

(I'll be adding additional responses as they come in)

And now, here are the 10 questions:

1. Candidates, what is your position on the crosswalk fiasco ?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
This is not a simple problem. Set aside the fact that Main St. is a State Highway, and most changes have to go through NYSDOT. Residents that utilize non-signalized crosswalks would be negatively impacted if these crosswalks were removed. If traffic lights were installed at these crosswalks, Main St. could lose some of its small town character. However, I feel that safety for both pedestrians and motorists should be a top priority. I think that by adding more signage to alert motorists of possible pedestrians in the crosswalk is a step in the right direction. But I also think that pedestrians need to be more conscious of motorists, and that by adding signage reminding pedestrians not to cross until all traffic has stopped would also be a good idea. If these more passive measures do not mitigate future accidents I feel that a more active solution such as traffic lights should be considered.

Incumbent Candidate Ms Wade:
Several questions below reference issues related to resident safety.
Let me start by saying resident safety is my top priority.

Great question! First let’s review the traffic crosswalk law:
The New York State Traffic-Crosswalk law, § 1151. Pedestrians' right of way in crosswalks:
(a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling…
(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.
(c) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

It would be nice to teach all pedestrians and motorists about the law, what it is and is not. Unfortunately not realistic. Therefore, I believe both pedestrians and motorists need to use common sense. If a motorist is coming down the street and a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, the motorist must stop (common sense tells the motorist to stop or slow down to let the pedestrian finish crossing). Common sense also tells the pedestrian NOT to step out in front of a vehicle while in motion! 98% of the accidents that have occurred downtown are at unsignalized (no traffic light) crosswalks. The accidents did not start to elevate until the crosswalk signs were put in place.

After months of research I believe the best plan for the crosswalks is to take away the signs, blinking lights, etc that call attention to the crosswalks. These signs give a false impression to motorists and pedestrians who believe that if a pedestrian wants to cross at a crosswalk, a motorist needs to stop. The law is not new, let’s get back to using common sense while crossing a street. Wait for no traffic or cross with the signal light.

2. Most folks who run for council seem to have specific things they'd like to see changed, or things they would like to see done better in the City. What goals, projects, ideas would you like to see enacted, worked on or achieved?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
One of my goals is to see the Lakeshore Development projects move forward. This development represents a host of opportunities for the city. I would work hard to see that the project is done properly, and meets the needs of the community. I would also like to see a more open government in the city. If elected I would like to provide more opportunities for the residents of Ward 3 to hear what is happening on City Council, either through regular office hours, a monthly or quarterly Ward 3 newsletter, or by simply visiting the homes of as many residents as I can. I would also like to see something done with the underutilized properties both in Ward 3 and the city. I am not sure what can be done by the city, but I would like to find out.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
You are correct many do have a personal agenda, I do not. Not only am I a lifelong resident of Canandaigua, my grandparents, extended family and parents lived and worked here as well. All were very involved in the community to make it a great place to live and work. I want to see that legacy continue. My Uncle started the tradition of ‘Ring Around the Lake’ on Labor Day. My Dad was on the committee that began FLCC. I want to make sure Canandaigua continues to grow and at the same time keep the small town character I loved while growing up.

3. Do you believe certain large property owners should be given preference over others ? (read as Dave Genecco)

Candidate Mr. Akin:
No

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
Absolutely not.

4. Would you be in favor of using Eminent Domain to take the Steamboat Landing property from Dave Genecco and selling it to some other developer if he fails to follow through with any of his plans?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
Eminent Domain technically refers to a government purchasing private property for public use, so in the case of this question I do not think Eminent Domain is applicable. Eminent Domain should not be taken lightly, and I do not favor its use except only as a last resort, and when all other possible solutions are exhausted. In the case of the Steamboat Landing property, assuming that Eminent Domain were applicable, I would not favor its use, and would seek other ways in which the city could influence Mr. Genecco to complete the project.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
I am not in favor of Eminent Domain as a rule. I do believe each situation has different circumstances making each case unique therefore I would need to research and understand the situation before I voted in favor of or against Eminent Domain

5. One of the most difficult challenges facing every city council member is coming to grips with budget issues. The city likes to claim it has a bare bones budget ... no fat. What cuts to city budget would you like to see made?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
It is hard for me to cite specific areas that I would like to see cut in the budget, as I am not familiar with every detail. Since items mandated by the state cannot be cut, I would have to look at services offered to the residents, police, fire, public works, parks, etc. Cuts to any of these programs would certainly have a negative impact on most residents. So rather than cutting services, I would work hard to make better use of the funds we have, and spend these funds more wisely. In my business I constantly look for ways to be more efficient thus saving money. I would look at the services currently funded by the city, and try to find ways to add efficiencies that would save money. Also, I would seek more opportunities for shared services with other municipalities. To me, why would three municipalities each pay for the same thing, when; assuming they can feasibly share the item, they could split the cost three ways?

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
Unfortunately most of our city budget goes to state mandated costs and things we have no control over at this time. I would like to see more cost savings in capital budget.
Let me begin by saying the city has a very good capital plan for rotating out and purchasing new equipment/vehicles that has been in place for quite a while. I believe the city should look at stretching out the life of vehicles (police cars, service trucks, etc). Currently a police car is rotated every 3 years. I discovered we were rotating cars out when still under the 5 year powertrain warranty. I realize the police cars take a beating but let’s hold on to them a bit longer.
Second, I would like to see more intermunicipal partnering. Instead of several municipalities purchasing the same major equipment let’s chip in and share 1 piece. It is not feasible for all but every little bit helps

6. What is your position on granting tax breaks or incentives to either the North Shore Development people or Dave Genecco? How will either of these developments benefit the average person in Canandaigua who ends up paying for it?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
Currently the properties in question are paying a certain amount of tax. After these properties are developed the potential tax revenue is significantly higher. In my opinion, any tax breaks or incentives should not reduce the property’s current tax revenue. The tax breaks must also have a limited lifetime, at which point the property owner must pay the full tax on the property as developed, thus substantially increasing the tax revenue paid to the city. The tax breaks can provide the necessary motivation for the developer to move the project ahead, and as long as the property continues to generate the same tax as it was before being further developed there will be no greater burden on the rest of the tax payers in the city. Also, there are numerous other sources of economic development and revenue associated with these projects that will be returned to the city and its residents immediately following its completion.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
To clarify; tax incentives benefit the developer, the city and the taxpayer.
Example of a PILOT program in place now. The program runs for 5 years which began when the property was renovated.
• Year 1: taxes remain as they were prior to renovation. No tax dollars are lost, new business creates jobs, sales tax revenue and brings more people coming to Canandaigua to spend their money and invest in the community
• Year 2 – 4: new assessment, taxes are paid each year in increasing steps; 60% of assessment year 2, 70% of assessment year 3 etc. In the 6th year taxes are paid on full assessment.
This is one example of many programs. The city reaps many rewards from development of properties using tax incentives besides receiving the taxes as stated above

7. The Landlord Database could be attained by adding/maintaining a couple of fields in existing records. What is your position?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
I agree that the majority of the information needed already exists within the city’s records. I just don’t see what adding more information to this database will solve. To me, by requiring landlords to provide more contact information so that they may be contacted to respond to complaints about their tenants, forces them to become their own police force. Unless the landlord is an actual police officer, I don’t think they are properly trained to handle many of these complaints. In the cases of unsightly and neglected rental properties in the city, it is unclear to me how many issues exist. Without knowing to what extent this exists compared to the number of rental properties that are in good condition, I feel that we would be punishing some landlords in order to reign in other landlords. If there are truly a large number of properties with issues, I would want to look into a way to increase enforcement through the current inspection system.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
I completely agree. I have recommended the city institute an online system where Landlords and Everyone can update their info online when it changes. I have asked for the number of “problem” landlords the city does not have contact information from. I believe this is a handful. It is not right for the city to impose its will on a whole group when only a few are not complying. They should focus on the non-compliant few.

8. Do you agree with the Fire Chief that we need a minimum of 3 more paid firefighters to insure public safety? Do you agree with the Police Chief that we need 4 more officers to insure public safety? If so, how would you recommend we pay for them?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
I am not familiar with what it takes to insure public safety in terms of firefighters and police officers. I would have to rely on the experts in these areas, that being the Fire Chief and the Police Chief. To me, public safety is an essential responsibility of any governing body. In order to meet the needs of these departments we must explore all opportunities to provide the funding, including intermuniciple partnerships, and shared services.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
I do agree with Chief Marentette. Actually the optimum number of firefighters needed is 10 based on analysis Jim Terwiliger did. Today, our volunteer department is in a good place and increasing steadily. We have 15 interior qualified volunteer Firefighters. We need many more! Communities like Pittsford have 75+. We need volunteer drivers as well. I am pleased with the progress the chief is making developing a solid volunteer group. I also want to keep our residents safe. When our stations are staffed with firefighters average response time is 3 minutes. Average response time for full volunteer groups is 10 minutes. A fire doubles every minute. It is a matter of life and death to get to scene as fast as possible.

Crime in our city has risen sharply in recent years. Our residents’ safety is number 1 priority. Chief Welch is correct we need more Police Officers. We have reduced the Police Department by 4 officers in recent years.

Theoretically I would love to fund both Fire and Police Departments with their requests. Realistically we do not have the dollars. We will need to come to consensus and get creative on how we fund additional positions. We are working with neighboring municipalities on partnering Fire responses and funding. Canandaigua Fire Dept provides mutual aid for all neighboring communities and should share the cost.
I am hopeful the unions can compromise on some benefits that are elevating costs for Fire and Police protection to free up additional funds.

9. Few cities the size of Canandaigua have the luxury of having a Mayor, a city manager and an assistant city manager. Is this a luxury we can afford?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
I think that in order to fully answer this we must look at what services these other cities offer to their residents. The more services that are offered to the residents, the more leadership and management it takes to carry out these services.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
The mayor position in Canandaigua is a figure head, we operate on a City Manager style government. I have worked in the private sector my whole adult life where you reduce costs to make money. I am always in favor of analyzing business models and looking for the right model to meet the needs.

10. Buffalo saved a significant amount of money by reverting to a complaint based Code Enforcement system as opposed to property inspections every 3 years. Would you favor this approach?

Candidate Mr. Akin:
A complaint based system only works if complaints are being made. If no one makes a complaint about a neglected property, it will continue to be neglected. Following this line of thinking, that property could fall into much worse repair before any complaint is made. Conversely, I understand how lengthy, detailed inspections of every property can be costly. I would consider an approach that utilizes both methods. Complaints trigger full inspections, and properties that have not had a complaint would require a more scaled back inspection. Another possible method for properties without complaints could be some type of self inspection/certification coupled with stronger enforcement where a complaint based inspection revealed disparity with the self-inspection previously performed.

Incumbent candidate Ms. Wade:
First, I do not think it is right for the city to inspect rentals that are occupied. I think this is an imposition on tenants and landlords. Several other cities (In addition to Buffalo including Geneva) have moved away from this path. A complaint based system seems logical but I have not had time to research the full impact of implementation.

Thank you very much, and good luck in the coming election.

More to come tomorrow!
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:44 am

Maria Bucci has responded already to set up a time to stop by the house.
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:17 pm

Rich Russell and Ryan Akin stopped by today! And left me notes and everything!
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:42 pm

2nd request arrived to schedule an interview
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:44 pm

Maria Bucci stopped by, was here for over an hour.
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:05 pm

No word from any of our Republican friends yet, Jim Terwilliger and Bill Taylor checking in this week
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:03 pm

Ryan Akin reporting in.
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Re: Now Open: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:04 pm

Cindy Wade up on the Big Board.
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Re: ANSWERED: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:53 pm

Jim Terwilliger and Bill Taylor stopping by shortly.
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Re: ANSWERED: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:15 pm

Had a really excellent visit with Jim and Bill; will write it up and post about it tomorrow.
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Re: ANSWERED: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:49 pm

I met with Maria on Friday night, and with Bill and Jim last night.

Good, convivial chat with our candidates. Jim commented that he thought it was a good, rounded bunch of questions.

As far as the crosswalk fiasco, everything seem to be in a state of flux at the moment. No one's in favor of taking the crosswalks out, and everyone says more work needs to be done, both with drivers and pedestrians. The new lights will be installed very soon, and apparently there will be 4 lights per crosswalk, 2 in each direction, and when a pedestrian reaches the median, they'll have to push a button again to keep walking.

Brian Kolb is trying to finangle a DOT study, and there is at least discussion about trying to lower the speed limit. Bill cited a study that shows there's a major drop in fatalities of the limit is lowered from 30 to 20. People can still get hurt obviously, but they die a whole lot less.

We'll see what happens.

As far as what ideas people would like to see happen, everyone is on board to see things at least started at the Lakefront. Jim added the caveat that the terms are for 2 years, and sometimes some of these things will take longer. Maria is very interested in the Downtown crossing/walkability issue, and Bill mentioned he'd like to see the City started on upgrading their IT system (another big expense)

I told the candidates that in my opinion, no one has less public credibility than Dave Genecco. Everyone agreed without exception that he is not entitled to any special favors. Jim says everything is in place, and a demolition permit has actually been issued, but still... we wait. They told me that our new guy, City Manager Dave, will hold him to whatever lines are drawn in the sand.

No one is in favor of using eminent domain, even if Dave does nothing. Jim said they went through it once, and had no desire to do it again. Jim says he feels certain that Dave will do it. Suzanne asked if they knew if Dave had pre-sold any of his timeshare things. Nobody knows. Moot point, but if Mr. Homik still had his land, would the North Shore development have been an impetus for him to start to develop?

As far as the budget, pretty much everyone agreed there isn't much left to be cut, and Bill pointed out that if cuts were made, they'd generally affect other departments as well. Looks like we'll be needing more revenue now and down the road.

The City hasn't actually been approached for handouts by the North Shore people yet, but everyone is sure it's coming. Dave's gotten a coupla handouts so far, but Bill pointed out that they're one-shot, time limited things, nothing permanent. As far as the North Shore stuff, they'll have to evaluate it when they see what it is. Basically, if we don't hand over some breaks, though, they have the resources to go elsewhere and get breaks from someone else too, and leave us with nothing.

Everyone agrees that the landperson database could be updated without a lot of foofraw, and Bill said this would be an advantage of updating the IT system too. He pointed out that City cops can't try to get the courthouse unlocked at 2 in the morning to search through tax records to see who owns what if they need to get ahold of somebody. Jim also said that there is not going to be any fees associated with this.

As far as public safety and adding new 4 officers and 3 new firefighters, Maria told me that it would cost a million dollars to do this. (salaries, pensions, insurance, equipment, etc) Jim said the tax rate would go up 20% if they had to do this, and obviously that will never fly. A 20% tax hike would make some people anyways move out of the City altogether.

I mentioned that if everything was all done at the Lakefront, hotel, North Shore and all, that that area would become the defacto 5th Ward of the City. I said that if these people want breaks, can we get them to pay some or all of the cost for our firefighters and police, since they'd have extra work to do down there anyways? I also suggested that since we already have 2 fire stations, but only 1 police station, that they consider adding a substation down there, since with Cmac close by as well, increased response times will be critical with so many people.

Public safety trumps a lot, but we need a way to pay for it, and I think the developsters can lend a hand.

Everyone says that our Mayor is the ambassador for the City, but in the scheme of things, she's hardly paid very much for all the work she does. Everyone says that City Manager Dave and Assistant City Manager Brian really earn their keep in terms of keeping the City running smoothly. Basically, we can't afford not to have them.

No one is in favor of complaint based reporting. Most people feel that tenants are afraid to report their landlord or their neighbors for fear of confrontation or repercussion. Jim felt that a 3 year cycle for inspections wasn't going overboard to be sure that properties in the City were up to snuff.
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Re: ANSWERED: The Famous 10 Questions of the Minions™

Postby Jeff Marinelli » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:00 am

Dave Whitcomb stopped by last night, but I was working at Home Depot. Dave gets props anyways!
Don't blame me! I voted for Bernie!


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