On the Ithaca Frequent Council assembly on Nov. 1, Metropolis Lawyer Aaron Lavine resigned and prolonged disputes over the discharge of funds from the 2023 Restricted Contingency Account have been held.
Metropolis Lawyer Aaron (Ari) Lavine ‘01, J.D. ‘04, introduced he can be stepping down from his position after practically 12 years within the place. Born and raised in Ithaca, Lavine attended Cornell for his undergraduate and legislation diploma. When former mayor Svante Myrick ’09 was nonetheless a mayoral candidate, he requested Lavine over lunch to contemplate becoming a member of him as metropolis legal professional within the new administration.
“I agreed as a result of I noticed in Svante a associate in good governance infused with responsive innovation. At that lunch, I informed him I’d do it and that we might re-evaluate in two years. That was my manner of claiming I didn’t suppose I’d keep a full 4. And right here we’re, 12 years later, making me the longest-serving metropolis legal professional in Ithaca’s historical past,” Lavine stated.
Lavine reviewed by way of a few of his most notable achievements, together with his roles as chair of the Sidewalk Enchancment District Activity Power and chair of the town Stormwater Activity Power, in addition to the statewide precedent set within the 201 Collegetown Litigation, which established that limits on public use of public streets are a matter of public discretion.
“It was a privilege to serve this nice metropolis throughout that first decade in workplace, and an obligation to see it by way of these previous two years,” Lavine stated. “I’m saying my departure from metropolis governance with deep gratitude for the chance to perform all that we did with fervent hope for the way forward for this distinctive metropolis that all of us love.”
Mayor Laura Lewis then opened the ground for Frequent Council members to share messages of gratitude to Lavine, which all 10 selected to do.
“Public service is about way more than private popularity, the truth is, the 2 can simply run counter to one another. Ari has by no means sought the highlight, however his file of public accomplishment is actual and impacts the way in which our metropolis lives on daily basis,” stated Alderperson Donna Fleming (D-Third Ward). “As a metropolis resident, I’m grateful for his 12 years of service and as an alderperson I appreciated his experience, after all, but in addition his endurance, persistence and clear headedness.”
Earlier than transferring on to additional agenda gadgets, Mayor Lewis took the time to deal with the acts of violence and hate that rattled the Cornell and surrounding Ithaca group earlier within the week.
On Monday, Lewis printed a public assertion denouncing the threats and reirating that “assaults on individuals, companies or any establishment inside our metropolis won’t be tolerated.” The assembly then took a second of silence for peace internationally, earlier than transferring on.
Frequent Council additionally mentioned Merchandise 4.3, Launch of Contingency Funds for Black Palms Common, and Merchandise 4.4, Launch of Contingency Funds for Unbroken Guarantees Initiative, each of which sparked some controversy through the assembly.
Each resolutions have been offered by Robert Cantelmo (D-Fifth Ward) and would launch $50,000 for Black Palms Common, Inc. and $50,000 for the Unbroken Promise Initiative from the 2023 Restricted Contingency Account, which suggests the cash is barely launched if the Frequent Council particularly votes to take action.
Black Palms Common is an unbiased, grassroots nonprofit group targeted on serving to deprived group members get jobs and applicable coaching, psychological well being assets, monetary teaching, cultural or instructional assets and extra.
Harry Smith, who represented Black Palms Common on the assembly, got here underneath scrutiny not too long ago after posting on his private TikTok account about recreationally utilizing marijuana at 706 West Inexperienced Avenue, an tackle beforehand related to Black Palms Common.
Alderperson Cynthia Brock (D-1st Ward) opposed passing the decision to grant funding to the group as a consequence of Smith’s habits.
“Even when just for a matter of weeks, it demonstrates a failure to behave [with the] belief and religion of the general public locations in metropolis funded organizations and providers,” Brock stated. “I can not in good conscience vote in assist.”
Smith defined that Black Palms Common is not affiliated with 706 West Inexperienced Avenue, and he expressed frustrations that the town is reluctant to work with the group and assist their initiatives.
“You wouldn’t have to present me the $50,000 for those who guys would simply work with our program and permit us to do a number of the work within the metropolis. However we’re invisible till one thing unhealthy occurs. We’re all the time invisible till one thing damaging occurs,” Smith stated.
The decision ended up passing 7-2, opposed by Brock and George McGonigal (D-1st Ward).
Unbroken Promise Initiative is a grassroots nonprofit serving over 320 low to average earnings residents in Ithaca’s West Finish group, serving to to extend their entry, training and fairness. Director Jordan Clemons represented UPI at this assembly, and McGonigal expressed frustrations with lack of communication and follow-through in preparation for in the present day’s listening to.
Regardless of this frustration, the decision to offer UPI funding handed 9-1, opposed by Alderperson McGonigal.
Correction, Nov. 2, 3:20 p.m.: This text has been up to date to right Lavine’s quote relating to his 12 years as Ithaca’s metropolis legal professional.