Jim Meaney, founder of the Geneva Believer, and longtime advocate for good government in the City of Geneva announced his bid for City Council early-Monday.
“After months of careful consideration, I’m proud to announce that I am a candidate for the Ward 6 City Council seat on the Democratic Party line,” he said in an announcement. “If you’ve attended city council meetings, followed city affairs on local media, or read the Geneva Believer blog in the last few years, you know that I have been an unwavering, consistent and vocal advocate for social, economic and environmental justice, as well as a champion of government transparency and accountability, specifically around issues impacting us in Ward 6.”
He will run for the Ward 6 council seat. He says that his work over the last three years in the city, investigating the departments, policies and mechanisms that make it function have set him up well to serve the community.
Geneva’s Ward 6 was previously represented by John Greco, the City’s longest serving councilor, who passed away earlier this month.
Meaney says his work with residents made the decision to run easiest. “I have had the opportunity to meet and work with my neighbors in Ward 6 on a variety of community efforts, and I’ve seen the power and potential of Genevans working together to transform our city for the better,” he added. “Now, I’m asking you to join me in my campaign for Ward 6 City Councilor. We are renters, homeowners, and working people of all races, faiths, backgrounds and languages in Ward 6, and if we work together, we can make sure that city government serves all of us.”
Meaney added in a lengthier statement via email:
“When City Council tried to sell off a piece of Lakefront Park in Ward 6 to developers, I spoke up for us. When Ward 6 residents found out that the DEC and City of Geneva failed to notify them of lead and arsenic contamination in their yards for decades, I spoke up for us. When the wastewater treatment plant accidentally spilled 5,000 gallons of raw sewage into Marsh Creek and Ward 6 residents weren’t warned, I spoke up for us.
When the city wanted to put up a “welcome sign” that separated the north end of downtown in Ward 6 from the rest of downtown, I spoke up for us. When the police department did a live “swat raid” training in a vacant house on a weekday when kids from Wards 6 were walking home from school, I spoke up for us. When the city demolished a house in Ward 6 and left the sidewalk in disrepair for more than a year at the same time they demolished a house in Ward 2 and replaced two sidewalks within a month, I spoke up for us.”
The council candidate says there are plenty of great things happening in Ward 6. Among those are The Solar Home Factor, and RealEats operation, which will bring hundreds of jobs to the ward, including important union jobs. “Neider Park has a new pavilion and basketball court. Lakefront Park, the crown jewel of urban parks in the Finger Lakes, hosts the Geneva Latino Festival, FLX Pride Festival, Mt. Olive Juneteenth Carnival, the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and thousands of visitors every year. Discussions around the connection of Pre-Emption Street to Routes 5 & 20 and the entrance to Seneca Lake State Park are underway at City Hall,” added Meaney.
It’s not all good, though, and that’s where Meaney says he’ll focus his energy. “Ward 6 still has bad landlords, high property taxes, high rents, zombie houses, aging infrastructure, the highest rate of poverty of any ward in the city, problems with the relationship between the police and communities of color, and other challenges,” he concluded.
Meaney says that as councilor he will work for the following items:
– Push for the return of the Fair Housing Board in Geneva, so renters can report and receive compensation from bad landlords for fair housing violations,
– Advocate for a cost-benefit analysis of every city department including police and fire, and press for reducing unneeded costs or staff,
– Continue to support the creation of citizen oversight board “with teeth” for the Geneva Police Department, which will build a deeper trust between law enforcement and the community,
– Work to permanently preserve and protect Lakefront Park from residential or commercial development of any kind,
– Encourage the city’s largest employers to voluntarily implement a $15.00 per hour minimum wage, aiming to eventually pass a minimum wage hike in the city.
– Commit to holding city government to the highest levels of openness and transparency, making certain that the questionable things going on behind closed doors are brought into the light.