ITHACA, N.Y. — A local anarchist says he has gathered the necessary signatures to run for Ithaca’s Common Council and will be competing for a seat in this fall’s city elections.
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“As an anarchist, I believe that representative democracy had aught to be a matter of purely voluntary association,” says Jim Lukasavage, who has written occasionally for The Ithaca Times, in an email.
“Therefore I will accept no monetary campaign contributions, and if elected, no salary, stipend or any other remuneration.”
Lukasavage, 50, is running on the Working Families’ Party line for a First Ward seat currently held by Common Council member George McGonigal, a Democrat who runs a lawn-mowing business. (The First Ward encompasses all of the West End beyond Meadow Street, all of South Hill and across Six Mile Creek to the south side of East State Street.)
Lukasavage says Ithaca is far too polluted and that he wants to reduce air pollution by 50 percent, in part by creating a toll plaza at the top of South Aurora Street outfitted with a bus and “aerial” gondolas that residents could ride into downtown Ithaca. The proposed gondola would go from the top of South Hill to the Cayuga Street parking garage, according to Lukasavage.
Lukasavage can sometimes be seen wearing a gas mask in the area of the Ithaca Commons; asked why, he said it was because of the “(expletive, expletive) air pollution from the cars.”
“The air stinks constantly in the city of Ithaca,” he says, going on to call South Aurora Street “Cancer Alley.”… By and large, this downtown from South Aurora Street down to Seneca Street is really intolerable.”
Lukasavage has lived in Ithaca for 25 years and is retired. He does some gardening to make ends meet and receives social security pensions, he said.
“The next thing you should know about me is that I am a cynic, which means that I distrust the motives of people in positions of authority,” Lukasavage says in his email announcing his campaign.
“Furthermore, in the tradition of Cynicism, going all the way back to the teachings of Diogenes, all efforts at politics should lend themselves to the realization of a new State of Nature, in which human productivity comports with our environment’s carrying capacity (the notion of a “green” economy without economic degrowth is a false economy.)”
Among Lukasavage’s other proposals are for a monthly Earth Day, in which employers would grant themselves and their employees one unpaid workday off per month, and legalizing chickens and rabbits within city limits.
“Apparently our City officials have decided that we should develop our way out of disequilibrium with nature,” Lukasavage says, “but probably what is closer to the truth is that they have been bought out by high-flying and far-flung real-estate developers.”