Local News for Monday, February 27, 2023

Republicans Decry Increased Migration Into NY

Migrants have been crossing into New York from Canada in increasing numbers, and the issue has become a rallying cry among some Republican lawmakers. They argue that the surge necessitates increased federal attention. Led by Representative Elise Stefanik, Republicans are launching a congressional caucus to focus exclusively on security concerns at the northern border. According to the Times Union, New York has recorded some 30,000 migrant encounters since October, with the greatest share of those along the northern border. Stefanik has been vocally critical of the surge, echoing calls to "secure the border" that define many conversations around immigration across the southern border. 

Ithaca Council Consider Special Elections

Ithaca’s Common Council is reviewing a proposed law that could reform the way vacancies are filled on the body. According to the Ithaca Voice, Alderperson and Ithaca mayoral candidate Rob Cantelmo is proposing that vacancies be filled by special elections. He argues that this new process would be more democratic and put more decision-making power into the hands of the electorate. Currently, the process requires vacancies to be filled through a selection and appointment committee. The committee is ordinarily composed of an alderperson from the ward with the vacant seat, the mayor, and a second alderperson of the mayor’s choosing. Officials from the Tompkins County Board of Elections argued against the plan noting that participation in special elections is low and candidates would face a high bar to qualify.

Tompkins Looks to Address Homelessness

Tompkins County’s Health and Human Services Committee  is making moves to address the city and county’s homelessness and housing affordability crisis. In a meeting last week, the committee prioritized cleaning up the city’s de facto homeless encampment, sometimes known as “the Jungle.” Tompkins County Director of Social Services Kit Kephart reported a lack of available beds and services for those with mental health and substance abuse issues. According to the Ithaca Voice, the need for services has surpassed St. John’s Community Shelter’s capacity. 

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