I am gratified that after my letters to the NYS Board of Elections requesting an investigation and the countless media inquiries that followed, Mayor Lovely Warren has finally chosen to do the right thing and return the excess money that she raised illegally.
It's unfortunate that it took a public outcry for the mayor to do what she should have done from the beginning. She has painted this as a political attack - even accusing a reporter of "having an agenda," when in reality, all we've all asked for is that she be accountable, transparent – and return the money.
It seems like anytime an opponent or critic raises an issue that she doesn’t want to discuss, the mayor cries politics. I find that very disingenuous. How the mayor handles herself and how she confronts challenges is an important part of her record. She may dismiss these issues as irrelevant, but I promise you that voters care a great deal about whether their elected leadership is following the law and acting responsibly.
And frankly, this incident is just the tip of the iceberg. From her behind-the-scenes negotiations around Parcel 5, to her efforts to take over the Facilities Modernization board, to installing her cronies in jobs and on boards that impact people's lives everyday - what we've seen time and again, is a mayor who does what she wants, when she wants, without a desire for public input or regard for public opinion. She rules by fiat, and if you criticize her or her positions, you're attacking her personally. That is not fair to voters.
As a mayor, she leads by press release. As a candidate, she appears to want to do the same thing. But Rochester’s challenges won’t be solved with sound bites – and they certainly won’t get addressed through character assassination, political grandstanding, or attempting to distract voters with theatrics.
You need only review recent coverage of her ethical lapses, and the way she chose to respond to them. By deflecting, denying and attempting to minimize. Just because you don’t like what’s being said, doesn’t mean you try to change the conversation.
I will continue to call Mayor Warren out for her lack of transparency, the punitive way in which she governs, and her inclination to operate outside of ethical boundaries. People need to know how our mayor governs - and what I'll do differently.