This is letter to the editor written by City of Ithaca Republicans Chairman John Crutchfield. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, please send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com. Additional note: The Ithaca Voice will not be publishing letters concerning upcoming elections received after the end of Friday.

I am a homeowner and small business owner in the City of Ithaca. I live on the edge of Collegetown. I am writing to support the candidate for mayor that is fighting for the rights of taxpayers, the people who provide the municipal services we expect, and the broken souls in “The Jungle.”

Before 2020, I never had to lock my truck at home. I felt safe on East Hill. In 2020, my bicycle was stolen from my back porch. It was never recovered. Ithaca Police told me that bicycles are often taken to “The Jungle” and abandoned or stripped down for parts and sold. Two weeks ago, on a Sunday night, good friends who lives in Fall Creek had their Subaru Outback stolen out of their driveway. They had left the door unlocked and a spare key in the console. Other cars on their block were searched for keys that night. Byrne Dairy has a wall with no less than 10 surveillance photos of people who have brazenly stolen from their store—just filled their backpacks or taken entire cases of beer and walked out. I’ve never seen anything like that in our community. Walmart now has a Security Vehicle that drives around the lot with flashing lights. When I drive down West State Street, I can hardly believe the scene on both sides of the street: Open drug use, people harassed for money or outright robbed, and people sleeping on the street or on the front porch of some buildings. In the woods behind Wegman’s, all the way to Home Depot you will see hundreds of shopping carts, a fortune in stolen plywood, burned out encampments, myriad syringes, and enough trash to fill a landfill.

There is a beautiful pedestrian bridge that crosses Six Mile Creek at Columbia St. Last week, Community Faith Partners went with paint and volunteers to paint the entire walkway and much of the railings because over the past two years that bridge was covered with graffiti. The graffiti isn’t the kind of broad artistic lettering or innocuous “tagging” that was common in my neighborhoods in The Bronx or Far Rockaway, Queens. This stuff is angry, belligerent, threatening, and ridiculous in its ignorance. Look around. The entire city of Ithaca is covered with graffiti now—on walls, buildings, bridges, streets, medians, street signs and utility boxes. Two sprayed in red that I clearly remember say: “Cops Kill Dreams” & “Abolish Men.”

Svante Myrick and Laura Lewis enabled this social decay. It was not like this before them. I am supporting Zachary Winn for mayor. He is already speaking at our county legislature and common council meetings and dutifully chronicles unreported crime on his website, Ithacacrime.com. He goes down to “The Jungle” and discusses solutions with people who understand homelessness and are willing to get their shoes dirty. And I believe it is reasonable and appropriate to have an entirely Democrat Common Council balanced by a Republican mayor.