Letter to the Editor

Dear County Executive Ryan McMahon,

Our community is in need of funds for housing, for mental and physical healthcare, childcare and social services and to adequately address the lead crisis affecting young children and their families.

According to the best estimate, each year — more than 600 children in our county are poisoned by exposure to toxic lead, primarily from paint in their homes. The poisoning is irreversible. The majority of those affected are living in segregated poverty in Syracuse. We have been told there is not enough funding to fully address this decades-old crisis. Those who speak out about the problem face eviction and the lead ordinance has yet to be properly enforced due in part to the lack of appropriate allocation of county funds.

Imagine what $85,000,000 (equivalent to 2 ½ times the local dollars to the health department and three times the local dollars for children and family services) could do, if properly allocated, to meet community needs for childcare, mental health services and for improving our housing and infrastructure. There is also an urgent need to provide adequate staffing and funding for the Onondaga County Health Department and for solving the lead poisoning crisis once and for all.

We join with community organizations, experts in public health, CNY faith leaders, over 1000 petitioners and many more community members that are voicing their concern about the use of funds and yet the avenues available to provide input are far from ideal. We insist upon increased community input and transparency.

The community must be heard on this issue. 

Our families need relief. 


Invest in Our Community Coalition 
Oceanna Fair, Families for Lead Freedom Now! (South Branch Leader)
Darlene Medley, Families for Lead Freedom Now! (West Branch Leader)
Mariana Pernia, MD; Syracuse Peace Council (Steering Committee Member)
Sandra D. Lane, PhD, MPH; Public Health, Syracuse University
Mary Cunningham, Families for Lead Freedom Now!
Charles Pierce-El, Greater Syracuse Southside Neighborhood Association (President), Save the 16th
Jacqueline Lasonde, Greater Syracuse Southside Neighborhood Association (President), Save the 16th
Palmer Harvey, Syracuse Tenants Union (Founder)
Jaime Howley, Community Activist
Bishop H. Bernard Alex, National Action Network Syracuse Chapter (President)
The Rev. Linda Briggs, Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (Lead Organizer)
Rich Puchalsk, Syracuse United Neighbors (Executive Director)
Robert A. Rubinstein PhD, MsPH; The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
The Rev. Beth DuBois, CNY Poor People’s Campaign (Tri Chair), Pastoral Associate, University United Methodist Church    
Galyn Murphy-Stanley, Neighborhood Outreach and Food Center Coordinator, UUMC
Tammy Honeywell, Syracuse Democratic Socialists of America (Chapter Co-chair)
Clayton Terry, Syracuse Democratic Socialists of America (Ecosocialist Committee Co-chair)
Richard Kornbluth, CNY Solidarity Coalition (Coordinating Committee Member)
David Babcock, Environmental Engineer      
Joseph Bennett        
Barry and Barbara Gordon    
Sunny Aslam, MD         
Robert Sarason        
Andra Leimanis         
Teresa Mary Gavagan         
Anika Flagg 
Elaine Denton          
Peter King
Martha M. Ours
Keller Shelton 
Constance Nyman

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