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Hawkins questions Miner’s anti-corruption stance in race for governor

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Green Party comptroller candidate Mark Dunlea with Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins in Syracuse.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is criticizing former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner as she enters into the governor’s race. But Hawkins admitted her candidacy could end up helping him.

Hawkins said Miner has a lot of hutzpah to enter into the governor’s race running against corruption in Albany.

“She ran a whole little patronage machine through the Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency," Hawkins said. "Over 100 people employed without the city council reviewing the contracts like they do other contracts. She put family members on there, political supporters, and even her current campaign manager at $84,000 a year for 10 hours of work a week.”

The urban renewal agency is a public benefit corporation that has been used by Miner and previous administrations to circumvent the civil service process to hire workers. Miner did reduce the agency’s size.

Hawkins also went after Miner’s ties with Syracuse-based COR Development, whose two top officials are in the middle of a corruption trial. Miner approved of COR's bid for the Inner Harbor, until they turned to the county for tax breaks.  

"The Inner Harbor is exclusively upscale and we have a huge problem of race and class segregation in our housing and schools in the Syracuse metro region," Hawkins said.

Hawkins said that Miner, who’s running as an independent, could split the vote with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who's running for reelection.

“And the voters find out that I’m standing with them on the issues, I’m going to look like the candidate for the people,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said while Miner was fiscally conservative and liberal on social issues, she did not address affordable housing and segregation in the city and schools.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.