Categories for Analysis

Nov 16

2021

A record subsidy for Bills stadium?

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 There’s never been a stadium built for a National Football League team that cost taxpayers the $1 billion being bandied about for a new home for the Buffalo Bills. Only one stadium, built to lure the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas, even comes close, at $750 million. Three other stadiums built over the past decade involved taxpayer subsidies between $114 million and $498 million. Another stadium, built in Los Angeles for the Rams and Chargers, was constructed entirely with $5 billion in private funds. How the Bills and local and state governments split the cost of a new[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Nov 3

2021

Modest turnout for Buffalo’s mayoral election

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The contest between India Walton and Byron Brown looked like it could be close. It wasn’t.  Though it’ll be a while before the write-in votes for Brown are validated and absentee ballots are counted, the outcome is clear: Brown won a fifth term resoundingly, according to unofficial returns from the Erie County Board of Elections. The first hotly contested general election for Buffalo mayor in 16 years — a showdown between ideologies and personalities, drawing national attention and massive infusions of campaign money to both sides — was predicted to drive massive turnout in the city.  It didn’t. In all[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Nov 2

2021

Voters speak out on Brown, Walton

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This story was written by Jim Heaney based on interviews by Investigative Post reporters with 120 City of Buffalo voters. The interviews were conducted at 19 polling places, located in all nine Common Council districts. Three-quarters of the interviews took place on election day, the balance during early voting last week. Participating staff included Layne Dowdall, Mark Scheer, Phil Gambini, Geoff Kelly and Nancy Webb. The election for mayor of Buffalo was not a Tweedledum vs. Tweedledee affair. Byron Brown and India Walton expressed sharp differences of opinions on the issues and about each other. Their supporters did likewise in[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Oct 25

2021

Buffalo’s beleaguered municipal finances

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 The story of Buffalo’s municipal finances under Mayor Byron Brown is divided into two chapters. Chapter One covers the five years before the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority — the city’s control board, formed in 2003 to keep the city from going bankrupt — relinquished its oversight power. In the beginning of Brown’s tenure, which began in 2006, the control board helped the city balance budgets and build up millions in reserves. Chapter Two covers the decade since the control board went “soft” in 2011. It’s a very different tale. Since 2011, Brown has proposed — and year after year[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Oct 20

2021

Violent crime in Buffalo is declining, but still high

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Statistically speaking, Buffalo is safer today than it was when Mayor Byron Brown took office in 2006. But it doesn’t feel that way to Gayla Ross.  Ross lost her only son, Amir Jemes, in 2018. Jemes, 19, an aspiring musician, was shot and killed while being robbed on Littlefield Avenue on the city’s East Side. “Everyday somebody’s shooting, or somebody is getting shot, or somebody is dying, or somebody is getting robbed or mugged,” Ross told Investigative Post. “It’s not getting safer.” Citywide, however, violent crime is down substantially, as it is across the nation. An Investigative Post analysis shows[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Oct 18

2021

911 calls down 5%; traffic stops up 48%

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You might imagine Buffalo police spend their shifts busting drug dealers, foiling burglaries and taking guns off the street. There’s some of that, certainly.  But an analysis by Investigative Post of five years of 911 calls shows that sort of policing accounts for only a sliver of what cops do. More than anything else, they hand out traffic tickets. A lot fewer people have called Buffalo police about crime in recent years, according to our analysis.  The number of 911 calls for high-priority crimes — such as shots fired, domestic violence and assaults in progress — fell almost 21 percent[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Oct 13

2021

The keys to a successful write-in campaign

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Successful write-in campaigns for elected office are few and far between. But candidates occasionally find a way to win, and election experts say there is a formula for success. The keys include name recognition, fundraising capability, concerted voter education campaigns, and strong turn-out-the-vote efforts. Lisa Murkowski used these strategies to retain her U.S. Senate seat in Alaska in 2010. Mike Duggan did likewise when he won the race for mayor of Detroit in 2013. Here in Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown, waging a write-in campaign against Democratic nominee India Walton, has at least some of those advantages going for him. As[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Oct 12

2021

Buffalo remains an impoverished city

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Buffalo ranked as the nation’s second-poorest city when Byron Brown took office in 2006.  The following year, the mayor declared that his administration was working hard to “bring people into the mainstream of Buffalo’s economy” while “taking steps” to reverse the “alarming numbers.”  Fifteen years later, the numbers haven’t changed. Buffalo’s poverty rate in 2006 was 29.9 percent.  In 2019, the last year for which figures are available, it stood at 28.8 percent. Put another way: Buffalo is no longer the nation’s second poorest city. It’s now the third poorest. Even more disconcerting: Buffalo’s childhood poverty rate stands at 43.4[...]

Posted 1 year ago