Council majority issues ‘Pact with the People’

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In a “Pact with the People,” a majority of City Council members Thursday agreed to renew the Council’s focus on issues that matter to residents—safer neighborhoods, quality housing and equitable access to opportunity.

President Miguel Meléndez, Vice President LaShay Harris and Councilmembers Mike Patterson, Mitch Gruber and Bridget Monroe are those who made the commitment. 

“Whether it is a single working mother on La Avenida or a senior citizen trying to stay in their home on Genesee Street, each of them wants their city government working to address crime, making sure they can afford a home for themselves and their family, keeping their neighborhoods vibrant, and creating positive opportunities for our kids,” Melendez says.  “Today we are making it crystal clear that those things most important to the people of our city are exactly what is most important to City Council.”

The areas of focus will be reflected in the Council’s priorities when reviewing Mayor Malik Evans’ 2024-25 city budget.

Harris called attention to the needs of youth and seniors. 

“Connecting Rochester youth with positive opportunities is important to me, so we need to be sure those opportunities exist, particularly when it comes to careers and jobs,”  Harris says. “Additionally, it’s crucial our seniors are supported as they continue to maintain their vitality.”

She hopes to continue to strengthen public safety services by improving EMS response times and availability, co-launching the Report It crime reporting app, and pushing for a more diverse public safety workforce. 

“In everything we do, we must be certain the services the city provides are offered equitable to all citizens in all areas of our community,” Harris stresses.

Gruber pointed to increasing the safety of streets and neighborhoods for bicyclists and pedestrians. 

“When we make our streets safer, it helps us achieve our focus on giving everyone—regardless of neighborhood, race or religion—access to equal opportunities for critical services like after-school programming, broadband and access to healthy food,” he says, adding that city government has the necessary tools to address the city’s biggest challenges.

Patterson highlighted public and neighborhood safety, as did Monroe. 

“Our kids must be safe walking and playing outside, and every resident needs to be safe in their home,” Monroe says. “I intend to fight for and support measures that will improve the quality of life for all residents and promote Rochester as a creative, educated, green city that’s open for business and welcomes cutting-edge technology. Working as a cohesive group, and in partnership with the Evans administration, this Council majority will move Rochester Forward.”

Melendez hopes to engage with neighborhood associations and residents to explore their priorities and share a collective vision to improve the city’s outcomes.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

6 thoughts on “Council majority issues ‘Pact with the People’

  1. Understandably, City Council members are focusing on the needs of their most needy constituents, thinking they will continue to garner votes from those communities.
    They should also keep in front of mind the citizens who are paying the bills. Homeowners and businesses that not only keep the city vibrant but also create jobs and patronize the businesses in the city.
    Public Safety is the highest priority for everyone living and working within the city limits.
    For me, the outrageous amount of taxes I pay to support city schools and the dismal performance of students must be more forcefully addressed by the City Council and the Mayor. With revolving-door superintendents, it’s time to revisit mayoral control of schools or, even better, a county-wide school system. With buildings closing, enrollment declining, and a majority-minority population, they should also press the district to move to a neighborhood school system and do away with costly and polluting busing.
    Our local elected officials must also commit to pressing the State contingent to revisit bail reform and the untenable recidivism of both adult and youthful offenders.
    Council should also work more aggressively with the County Government, the Chamber of Commerce, and Empire Development to bring as many good-paying jobs and tax-paying businesses to the City as possible to help fund all the good they want to do.
    I’d also like to add that since we already fund firefighters and station houses, it makes sense to turn EMS over to the fire department rather than contract with a profit-making institution that seems indifferent to the needs of challenging patients. In many, if not most, EMS cases, a fire department truck responds either before the contract ambulance or with it. Why the duplication of effort? The council should seek to work with insurers to help defray the cost of providing city firefighter responses.
    Frankly, I could have a better deal of confidence in the maturity and focus of the current city council, not like I did only a few years ago. They need to be reminded that they have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpaying citizens of Rochester to approve prudent and effective budgets and ensure that the city’s services are all effectively carried out.

    • bail reform is not the problem—a d a who didn’t do the charges properly— and sheriff baxter admitted this and changed course tells you all you need to know. bail reform meant that those charged w non violent crimes didn’t get extorted bail to keep their jobs while they fought charges against them.

  2. All those great intentions and education is barely mentioned. Realize this City Council members, EDUCATION IS THEE FOUNDATIONAL SOLUTION TOWARD ALL OF YOUR DECLARED FOCUS! Address the education, fix it and you will realize the opportunities, a dramatic reduction in the crime, the choices people will have and the fact that Urban Rochester WILL take on a whole new look! But for some reason that mission, the mission to educate is to damn hard. It has eluded the RCSD/RCSB for decades and is considered “unfixable”. That said, we don’t even try anymore while spending a billion dollars ANNUALLY. The billion dollar failure is what’s wrong with Rochester. Make it your mission, City Council Members, to educate, to graduate and to provide the opportunity for post high school success. The rest of the issues will be addressed in the process. I promise you!!!

  3. Beautiful, common sense!
    N.B. Appropriately, there is no priority for “Sanctuary City” support of people illegally invading our nation and our city.

  4. Why should it be necessary to “renew” the council’s focus on something that they should be focusing on 24X7X365? Namely, public safety. Any council member who has lost that focus has failed in their duty to the community and should immediately resign.

    • That’s because they still do not realize that education is the foundational issue toward all of their goals. I believe that they have concluded that the urban youth is uneducable. Keep in mind council that all kids have innate skills or gifts. All kids. The mission ought to be for those kids to discover those skill/gifts in their K-12 journey. THAT is what the mission should be. And you’re right Len Sheldon, that is their job from day one.

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