ROCHESTER - City Councilor Jeremy Hutchinson had some parting shots for the City Council on Thursday after announcing he was dropping out of his race for re-election less than two weeks before the Nov. 2 vote.
Ward 1 candidate Doug Lachance, who under pressure from Hutchinson and others resigned from his City Council seat earlier this year amid sex assault allegations from when he was mayor, returned fire on Friday.
Hutchinson told The Rochester Voice on Thursday he was stepping down to "focus my efforts from policy making to advocacy for issues I strongly believe in such as homelessness in the region. I feel like I can make a stronger contribution to the cause by having a more direct role in effecting change."
He also slammed fellow councilors for their failure to address the homelessness problem.
"In four years the council has made very little progress in this area," he said. "My patience with changing minds on the issue has run out."
His rancor and vitriol was more pronounced in a recent Foster's article in which he said the council's apathy is because the homeless "look different."
"I think that because the homeless look differently, because they do not own a house or pay taxes, they think they are not our constituents," he told Foster's. "They are. We can't just represent people who fit in, who have jobs. We need to represent every resident, no matter their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, no matter what it is."
Lachance, who after a long investigation was never charged with a crime, said Hutchinson's decision to be an advocate by quitting the council doesn't make sense and his targeting of the City Council is "nothing but a parting shot."
"I don't think his decision is legitimate," he told The Rochester Voice. "To suggest that the City Council doesn't care about homelessness, that it wants to pretend the homeless problem doesn't exist, is ridiculous. Each and every councilor cares about the homeless problem. Just because they don't make it as big as he thinks it is, doesn't mean we don't care about it."
Lachance described Hutchinson's comments in Foster's as outrageous.
"I think it's unfair how he criticized the council. It's nothing but a parting shot; it's beneath him," Lachance added.
Hutchinson's name will still be on the Ward 1 Seat B ballot even though he has quit the race.
Asked if he would serve if elected he replied he had every confidence his opponent in the race, Tim Fontneau, would be victorious.
Lachance, meanwhile, is running against Skip Gilman for Ward 1 Seat A.