ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick turned to the community with a question on social media Thursday, “If I ran for another term as Mayor, would I have your support?”
Myrick, whose term expires at the end of 2019, posted the question on Facebook and Twitter on Thursday afternoon and spent Valentine’s Day reading love notes — and plenty of the opposite, too — from the community. By Friday morning, the post had nearly 400 comments. On the post, he listed things he was proud the city had accomplished during his seven years in office, such as building the waterfront trail, rebuilding the Commons, investing in affordable housing. But he said, “We have so much more to do. The taxes are still too high and the roads have you (sic) many potholes. Rents are too high and the quality of housing is too low.”
Myrick, 31, was sworn into office in 2012 as the city’s youngest mayor and its first mayor of color, but his first work for the city began on Common Council at age 20 when he was still a student at Cornell University.
In an interview Friday, Myrick said he posted the message on social media to try to get a sense from the community if they would vote for him in another election. He said he has spent the last six months considering running.
“I settled on the fact that I still love this city as much as the first day, and I still have an urge to serve the city,” Myrick said.
Though many comments on Myrick’s post were positive, there a number of negatives ones, including some familiar critiques like he does not spend enough time in Ithaca. Myrick admitted that he has always been a “road warrior,” mostly on the weekends. In the past year especially, he was doing a lot of campaigning for progressive political candidates. “It seems to me like fighting to take back the House and even the Senate would improve the lives of Ithacans … and would make our country a better and more functional space.” Myrick is also the director of youth leadership programs for People For the American Way. Myrick said he will still continue to encourage young people to run for office, but said he takes the comments seriously and will be around a lot more this year, and in the future if he gets another term in Ithaca.
The city and police also continue to clash over a contract. The Police Benevolent Association last signed a contract with the city in 2008 and it’s been six years since the contract expired. However, they have not been able to reach a new agreement in that time. Both sides have been vocal in recent months. The IPBA has accused the city of avoiding giving police officers pay raises, while the city has accused the union of making “unreasonable demands.”
In the comment section of his Facebook post, he said he loves Ithaca and loves to serve the city and said he believes his service has made a difference and “that’s why I’d love to continue.” He also added that “there are opportunities that are more lucrative, but my heart and mind are in Ithaca.”
He elaborated on that and said he has gotten a few “interesting offers, even a lucrative offer or two but nothing that matches all the things I enjoy doing.” He said he wants to see the Green Street Parking Garage redevelopment through, and see changes to Ithaca’s waterfront and Collegetown come to fruition.
Myrick said the feedback so far has been encouraging, but he is still considering whether to seek another term and has not officially announced a re-election campaign yet.
Featured image: Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick reads a proclamation declaring April 27 “Take Back the Night Day” in the City of Ithaca. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)