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Mayoral candidate Warren unveils economic plan; Richards fires back

Rochester Business Journal
July 3, 2013

Rochester mayoral hopeful Lovely Warren on Wednesday released an economic development plan urging greater transparency and accountability in dispensing city funds and closer links between economic development spending and job creation.

President of the Rochester City Council, Warren is challenging incumbent mayor Thomas Richards, a fellow Democrat in a primary.

An eight-page outline of her economic development plan contrasts two Rochesters, one exemplified by neighborhoods such as Park Avenue and Charlotte that is “growing, prosperous and (with) a bright future” and another “often invisible Rochester …characterized by high rates of unemployment, crime, poverty and despair.” 

Fixes Warren proposes include employment of so-called social impact bonds, a mechanism under which service providers cover upfront costs of innovative programs but get public funding after a program is proven to work.

She also calls for creation of small business center and a streamlined program to quickly direct economic aid to small businesses and establishment of a $100,000 Mayor’s Challenge competitive-grant program to finance innovative programs. She also calls for development of more mixed-use housing and disparages the term “affordable housing” as “(stigmatizing) both the neighborhoods and residents with affordable housing clusters.” 

Execution of the Warren economic development initiatives would be carried out by four newly created councils consisting of “experts and volunteers,” a Rochester Workforce Alliance, a Small Business Advisory Council, a Green Rochester Advisory Council and a Faith Based Advisory Council.

Richards’ campaign on Wednesday issued a statement tagging Warren as “a politician who has never created a private sector job in her life” whose economic development plan amounts to “a collection of random ideas” versus Richards, “a business leader (who) has spent his entire professional life creating jobs in Rochester.”

An attorney and onetime president of the Black Bar Association, Warren has a private law practice, specializing in real estate law and serves as lead counsel and chief of staff for Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester.  She is president of Rochester City Council.
Accomplishments Richards, a former Nixon Peabody LLP partner and onetime Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. CEO, claims include shepherding redevelopment of the eight-acre Midtown Plaza site as the city’s corporation counsel and as mayor.

In his most recent state-of-the city address, Richards cited his mayoral administration as bringing benefits to 4,784 city families through renovated and new housing and  other boons including construction of new recreational trails and other infrastructure.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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