Warren delivers optimistic farewell speech

Despite a few tumultuous years, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is stepping down without “any regrets.”

“I kept the promises I made eight years ago,” Warren said in a video farewell speech. “And so many people have helped me along the way. And our work speaks for itself.

Warren leaves 69e mayor at midnight. Deputy Mayor James Smith will hold the post for the last month of Warren’s tenure, pursuant to a plea deal on felony charges reached in October. The charges were brought by campaign finance violations. Warren pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, with an admission that she accepted donations beyond legal limits.

Rochester’s first African-American woman mayor, Warren was first sworn in on January 1, 2014. In November 2017, she won election for a second four-year term. Warren sought re-election this year, but city council member Malik Evans defeated her in the Democratic primary on June 23. He won the legislative elections last month without opposition.

In his speech, Warren, 44, spoke directly to his daughter Taylor, 11, and the children of Rochester. She noted that her love for them served as her guide while she ruled.

Warren’s administrative agenda focused on creating more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities, according to his office. Among those accomplishments is Constellation Brands’ decision to move downtown. The company’s $ 50 million investment will renovate five buildings on the Aqueduct campus located between East Main and Broad streets, across from Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial.

“For the first time in a generation, we’ve brought the global headquarters of a Fortune 500 company downtown. And created an environment where people wanted to eat, work and play on our Main Street, ”said Warren. “People outside of our city have seen what we’ve accomplished and they want to be a part of it. “

Under his watch, Warren also instituted the use of body cameras for police officers in 2016. His intention was to offer the community a greater role in police accountability and to give police officers a tool to refute bogus. accusations. These cameras would also undermine his legacy – they captured the arrest of Daniel Prude, which led to his subsequent death, prompting calls for police reform and, in some circles, his ouster. This further broke trust between the police, the town hall and the community.

During his last days in office, Warren worked to mend that trust somewhat, signing an agreement with Reverend Lewis Stewart, president of United Leadership Christian Ministry, to create a civilian public safety interview panel. for potential Rochester Police Department hires. On Tuesday, she partnered with the Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to allow Rochester to use the Brady Center’s national reach to analyze crime trends and prevention efforts in Rochester against other cities. The objective: to take advantage of this knowledge to protect neighborhoods.

Building strong and connected communities was an important goal for the Warren administration. In a book “A Lovely Legacy: Belief Made Real,” following a tradition established by previous mayors, Warren cites progress in the city’s northeast quadrant as an example. She worked to “ensure the security and stability of housing; (and) demonstrate the transformative power of the community with equitable investments and collaborative services. The Rochester Land Bank provided increased funding to promote affordable homeownership, and Neighborhood Service Centers were tasked with promoting neighborhood preservation and strengthening trade corridors.

“(The city) has invested more than $ 872 million to build and renovate more than 4,000 affordable housing units, enabling more than 9,000 people to escape the cycle of poverty and build generational wealth,” said Warren .

She closed her speech in anticipation of her new chapter with Taylor, asking her daughter and the other children to stay strong and not give up.

“This is a time of historic change, not just for Rochester, but across the country and the world. And you know, change brings uncertainty and fear. And the pandemic has only made it worse, ”Warren said. “When people are afraid they get angry and mean. They fight to keep what they have, instead of working together to create more. They preach the gospel of fear, instead of being accepted. They are looking for whatever they can use to divide, instead of unite.

You and the children of our city are the beacons of hope that our community must embrace.

Smriti jacob is the editor of Rochester Beacon.

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