Statement from Rochester for All Chairperson Rachel Barnhart:

City spokesman James Smith decided to shed a small amount of light on the deputy mayor’s activities. But there are still serious questions:

  1. Smith did not dispute the fact Alexander’s calendar appears to show he was gone 28 business days in 25 weeks.
  2. Smith did not address the items on Alexander’s calendar, which show he may have done outside work on city time.
  3. Smith said Axon didn’t pay Alexander to speak. Axon still gave Cedric Alexander a benefit. They hosted a cocktail hour and book promotion event. We don’t know if he received meals or travel. Smith also didn’t explain Alexander’s subsequent meeting with Axon, which suggests a relationship with Axon.
  4. Smith said CNN and University of Rochester are not paying Alexander. That doesn’t mean he’s not getting other benefits. In the case of U of R, we need to know more about the relationship.
  5. Smith did not address Alexander’s consulting work.

Smith’s response reinforces why we need full disclosure from our public officials. Our complaint is based on the city’s own public records, as well as publicly available information. This situation is not about me, and I’m not to blame for Alexander’s work habits.

Smith’s personal attack questioning my sanity and standing to file a complaint is disappointing. I won’t be silenced. I won’t be intimidated. I won’t back down.

I entered politics to fight for good government, a natural extension of my work as a journalist. The work Rochester for All is doing is filling a void. We don’t plan on stopping, as we are getting nonprofit status next year to support our efforts. We are a citizen watchdog group. We share our source material with news outlets and the public. We have no agenda, but the truth.

Smith’s response shows arrogance and belief City Hall is above scrutiny. It’s sad he is taking this approach, but it’s telling.

  1. David Weber says:

    Rachel,I first met you briefly while I was doing some work at 8,way back when I wore a younger mans clothing,You were young,confident and on a path to greatness,It was obvious.
    Iv’e been admiring you strong will for the truth,and your constant support for the city, as well as the RCSD.
    Keep up the great work,your doing what’s meant to be,and you will be rewarded one day I’m sure of it.

  2. Mr. Smith’s response leaves a lot to be desired, and actively discourages citizens from asking questions and holding their government representatives accountable. I will be writing him and Mayor Warren a letter expressing my displeasure with his deflection.

  3. William Cala says:

    I’m disappointed with Jim Smith’s personal attacks. Why not just go through each point and provide the required information without comment? That would have been the high road. I have spent my entire career responding to FOIL requests. Never have I or anyone working for me responsible for providing required information editorialized in our provision of information. Regardless of what Mr. Smith perceives as Rochester for All’s motivation, Mr. Smith’s personal attacks in response indeed make this a political exercise….one created, fomented and perpetuated by Mr. Smith himself. As public officials we cannot be so thin skinned. Just respond to the criticism/questions with accurate and concise factual information. That will go a long way towards credibility. Incomplete responses and ad hominem attacks merely make one more suspicious.

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