Housing, employment, campus relations highlight race for alderman

Oswego city alderman candidates are in the thick of a furious finish toward next week’s Election Day, and luckily for Oswego State students, candidates are pledging to focus on numerous topics that affect the city’s college demographic.

Connie Cosmento, incumbent first ward alderman, will be running for her third consecutive term. A former Oswego State student herself, Cosmento believes that college/community relations have been better than ever.

Cosmento said she would like to see the rental houses, which many Oswego State students live in, repaired. One of her goals is to work with the landlords to upgrade the homes they rent out.

"My concern is the condition of the rental properties, not who we rent to," Cosemento said. "[I] want to make it clear to landlords that students want homes, not rental spaces."

Cosmento would also like to extend the use of the waterfront.

"I would like to see more areas for fishing added and just an area for residents to sit and enjoy," she said.

Cosmento is currently the only democrat that serves on the council.

"I have a philosophy that you get voted out, not in," Cosmento said. "If I’ve done my job I’ll get reelected."

Jay Scanlon, who last served on the council in 2004-2005, is running against Cosmento. One of the issues he would like to address is the safety of pedestrians on the cross streets, where speeding typically takes place.

"To help pedestrians, I’d like to see some four-way stop signs," Scanlon said.

While Scanlon said that the relationship between the college and community is good, he acknowledged that noise can be a problem when students return to the first ward from the bars downtown.

"[I’m] trying to be a good mediator between students and community members when problems arise," Scanlon said. He would like to involve University Police with patrolling vicinities close to the college.

Like Cosmento, Scanlon would like to see an increased usage of the downtown area, notably the walkway, which he said hasn’t been used to it’s potential.

"I would love to see us light it [walkway] up with some nice lights along the river," Scanlon said.

Scanlon, a republican with the independent line "vote for all", said he is running to give back to the Oswego community.

"I’m a lifelong resident," he said. "I love this city."

Miles Becker, also an Oswego State alum, will be running for alderman for the third ward. One of the major challenges that faces the city, he said, is employment. He would like to see factories come to Oswego to provide jobs for residents.

"The kids are leaving the state, the city," Becker said. "We need help from Albany and Washington. They need to remember that there’s other parts of the state that need stimulus too."

Becker, a Vietnam veteran who currently works in the city, would like to see communication between the college and community continue. "We need to communicate constantly," he said.

While Becker, a Republican, wants students to have a good time and enjoy their education, he said that students need to be more neighborly.

"I don’t want the students to rip up the neighborhood," Becker said.

Cathy Santos, associate provost for multicultural opportunities and programs, is running as a democrat for the third ward. The issues she hopes to address are housing and code enforcement, the economy, programs for Oswego’s youth, and the budget.

"I would like to initiate ‘Community Voice’ forums where city residents and stakeholder can come together to share ideas, develop action plans, and be more involved at the grass roots level," Santos said in an e-mail.

Santos thinks that the relationship between the college and the community has improved over the years because of opportunities where the college and city work together.

"Continued dialogue is important, seeking grant opportunities for new opportunities that involve both the college and the community, such as sustainability initiatives, new small businesses and youth program development,"

Santos said. Santos would also like to see the council work closer with county and state politicians to solve issues that impact the city.

"Voters are responsible citizens who will make those distinctions and decisions about the differences between the candidates and will decide who they want as their representative for the future of the city of Oswego," Santos said.

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