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Mayoral Candidates Differ On Benefits Of New Developments In Ithaca

Update: 10/23/19 - 12:41 P.M.

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) -  During a forum in Ithaca Tuesday night, mayoral candidate Adam Levine spoke of his five years as an overnight taxi driver. He said it gave him a chance to hear from all sorts of people.  Levine wants to help residents who are being pushed out of Ithaca by new developments, which he blames for driving up housing costs.

He described what is happening as a continuation of the trickle-down economic policies popularized by President Reagan in the 1980s.

"Certainly, some development is crucial," Levine said. "But also, I don’t want to be beholden to just wealthy developers, and super big landlords and the well-off people they bring in."

About 30 residents of Ithaca's Collegetown neighborhood heard from both mayoral candidates.  Incumbent Svante Myrick is running for a third term. Myrick made a point of saying he does not accept donations from real estate developers. He also defended his record on low-income housing.

"My North Star my entire time in office," he said, "the thing that’s motivated me and that’s lead to the statistic I’m proudest of, is that in my administration more affordable housing has been built in the City of Ithaca than in any other eight year period in our history."

One surprise of the evening came when a member of the Sunrise Movement, Ellie Pfeffer,* rose and announced that she is running for Common Council against incumbent Rob Gearhart. Gearhart had just made his pitch to the audience for re-election.

Pfeffer said her movement was disappointed in the allocation in the city budget for implementation of Ithaca's Green New Deal.  She said the Council needs put more resources toward making the plan a reality and if they were not serious about it, they all should resign.

*Updated to correct the spelling of Ellie Pfeffer's name.