Articles for Geoff Kelly

Jul 18

2024

Mayor’s staff growing in numbers and cost

When Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown prepared his first city budget, he allowed for eight employees in his office, including himself. He had a communications staff of one.  Those jobs were scheduled to cost taxpayers $571,806, not including healthcare and retirement benefits. The actual cost was less — just under $500,000 — because he didn’t fill all the positions. This budget year, which began July 1, the mayor’s budget allows for 19 staffers. The Office of Communications and Intergovernmental Affairs has grown to seven budgeted positions.  Combined, the salaries for those 26 jobs add up to $2,453,665. That’s nearly three times[...]

Posted 3 days ago

Jul 17

2024

Brown’s raising money as if he’s running for office

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has a fundraiser today at the Diamond Hawk golf course in Cheektowaga, with tickets starting at $100 and sponsorship packages ranging up to $5,000.  Brown also held a fundraiser earlier this month at a Bisons game and another in April at The Atrium @ Rich’s. His Brown for Buffalo campaign committee has raised $58,500 since January, according to campaign finance disclosures filed on Monday.  That’s $22,000 more than Brown raised in the first six months of 2020, as he prepared to run for a fifth term. The mayor’s committee had $192,545 in the bank as of[...]

Posted 4 days ago

Jul 5

2024

Political gains for foes of Kensington Expressway project

Nine newcomers won Democratic Party committee seats in Buffalo in the June 25 primary elections.  A few of them beat big names in local politics, including former Common Council President Darius Pridgen, Assemblyman Jon Rivera and former state Sen. Marc Panepinto. All of them beat party insiders. That’s not all they have in common.  Six of the winners in those races are united by their opposition to the state Department of Transportation’s $1 billion plan to tunnelize a stretch of the Kensington Expressway. Matt Dearing, Jeff Carballada, Michael Gainer, Taj Richardson, Chris Hawley and Greg Olma — all winners of[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jun 26

2024

Erie County Democrats attack challengers

A Democratic Party mailer supporting favored candidates in party committee races. The Erie County Democratic Party sent a message last weekend to city voters in the handful of election districts where candidates challenged insiders and incumbents for seats on the party committee: Vote for the party’s “endorsed county committee candidates” to ward off “convicted felon Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican Party,” advised a mailer paid for by party headquarters.  Because “democracy hangs in the balance.” You’d think the party’s “endorsed county committee candidates” were fighting a pitched battle against a rabid red wave of Republicans seeking seats of critical[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Jun 18

2024

Lawsuit: Radioactive waste killed Lewiston woman

Six months after his wife died from breast cancer, an environmental remediation team digging underneath Philip Palmeri’s Lewiston home uncovered “black fine grain radioactive sand, refractory brick, ash slag, and what appears to be lime.” That’s not all they found.  Over the course of a three-year, $7 million cleanup operation, the team removed 4,800 tons of waste from Palmeri’s and an adjacent property, some of it emitting radiation 50 times beyond what’s considered a safe or normal level. The workers also found among the waste eight “index card sized metal plates.” Printed on the metal plates was the name of[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Jun 11

2024

Buffalo lawmakers’ side gigs

Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Leah Halton-Pope, President Pro Tempore Bryan Bollman, and University District Council Member Rasheed Wyatt. Photo by Garrett Looker. The Buffalo Common Council’s majority leader, Leah Halton-Pope, was sworn into office — and onto the city’s payroll — on Jan. 1. But she was collecting more than a city paycheck during her first four months in office. Halton-Pope continued to work as a part-time policy consultant for Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes — the woman she has called her “forever boss” — until the end of April, making about $3,000 a month. And she continues to[...]

Posted 1 month ago

May 27

2024

Buffalo’s fiscal reckoning

  Buffalo Common Council President Christopher P. Scanlon. Photo by Garrett Looker. Buffalo’s Common Council took some of the sting out of the mayor’s proposed property tax hike last week, at least for residential homeowners.  Legislators knocked Mayor Byron Brown’s 9 percent tax increase to 7.5 percent, with most of the relief directed to residential homeowners. But city dwellers shouldn’t rest easy. Taxes likely will continue to rise in the years to come. “This tax increase is nothing compared to what’s going to happen in the future,” Niagara District Council Member David Rivera said last week.   “We should have been[...]

Posted 2 months ago

May 22

2024

Who’s running for Buffalo school board

Three at-large seats on Buffalo’s school board will be on the ballot this November. Two incumbents, Larry Scott and Terrance Heard, are running for reelection. The other, Ann Rivera, won’t seek another five-year term. So far there are at least four other candidates, three of whom are working together to make the ballot: Ed Speidel, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council and a former co-chair of the district’s Special Education Parents Advisory Committee. He’s the parent of two current Buffalo Public Schools students. He recently held a meat raffle fundraiser at the South Buffalo Moose Lodge. Raziya Hill, founder[...]

Posted 2 months ago
Investigative Post

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