Tag: City Hall

Mar 1

2024

Demolition threatened for Buffalo’s ‘house from hell’

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Over a year after two dead bodies were found in a boarded-up Arkansas Street house, a city court judge is once again calling for demolition of the property.  Meanwhile, the owner is now facing similar issues with a burned-out house he owns in a different West Side neighborhood.  His attorney says Kwayo Ithe Bonkuka could afford to fix the problem properties if he gets back $80,000 he paid for a city-owned house, but never received ownership of. “If we enter into an agreement, money will be transferred back for properties,” attorney Daniel Tarantino said in a recent Housing Court appearance.[...]

Posted 1 day ago

Feb 23

2024

Downtown Buffalo hostel facing quick eviction

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Hostel Buffalo-Niagara at 667 Main Street in downtown Buffalo. Buffalo’s downtown hostel was notified this week that it must evacuate the Main Street building its occupied for nearly 30 years so stabilization work can begin on the hostel and an adjacent structure Initially, the hostel was given until March 1 to vacate. But by the end of  Friday, in response to concerns raised by the hostel, the city extended the deadline until March 25 – although representatives for the hostel are saying it’s still not enough time. “We feel heard for right now, but we need more and we want[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Feb 14

2024

Who’s responsible for bad cops?

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Common Council Member David Rivera, left, speaks with Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Photo by Bruce Rushton. Mayor Byron Brown has said that he wants the police commissioner to have more power to discipline cops, but change is beyond his purview. An arbitrator now decides discipline, although the city charter says that disciplinary authority rests with the police commissioner. Giving power to the commissioner, according to the mayor, is up to the Common Council. “I don’t control the council, and if there was anything in this document that the council felt they could implement or wanted to implement they would[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 13

2024

Community groups question Buffalo’s lead program

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  Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, executive director of Partnership for the Public Good, speaks at a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 13 about the low number of home inspections Buffalo has completed to survey for lead. Photo by I’Jaz Ja’ciel. Nearly 40 local community organizations are questioning whether  City Hall is fully complying with a more than 3-year-old program that was designed, in part, to help combat lead poisoning in city housing. They’re giving the city a month to prove that inspectors have been fully implementing the program. Partnership for the Public Good addressed a letter to Mayor Byron Brown and Catherine[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Jan 29

2024

Policing Buffalo’s police

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Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia and Mayor Byron Brown testified last fall that the city’s contract with its police union and the power it bestows on an arbitrator make it too difficult to discipline cops accused of misconduct. “I think any chief executive that’s running the department would like to have the managerial ability to run a department, but that’s not the contractual language that was laid out well before my time,” Gramaglia testified during a recent deposition in a police brutality lawsuit. “The arbitrator’s decision, the independent arbitrator’s decision and finding, is final in a disciplinary matter.” Gramaglia and[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Jan 17

2024

PoliticalPost: City auditor quits

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This is PoliticalPost, a weekly newsletter we launched last week. Subscribe here to get Political Post delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning — because it won’t usually be available online. Buffalo’s chief auditor, Kevin Kaufman, has quit his job in the city comptroller’s office. Multiple sources say Kaufman, 48, left for a private-sector job, at least in part due to his frustration with working conditions under Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams. He’d been working for the city a little more than 11 years. Miller-Williams declined to elaborate on his reasons for leaving, referring those questions to Kaufman. She told Investigative Post[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Jan 9

2024

How the Council presidency was won

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Last Tuesday South District Council Member Chris Scanlon won the Council presidency in an 8-to-1 vote. But if the Council’s reorganization meeting had taken place two weeks earlier, it might have been Niagara District Council Member David Rivera instead. The Council presidency is a powerful role — appointing committees, overseeing Council operations, signing off on nearly all the legislative body’s actions. The post was held since 2014 by former Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen, who announced a year ago he would not seek a fourth term in office.  The race to succeed him has raised particular intrigue because Mayor[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Dec 27

2023

Geoff Kelly’s reporting on Roswell, City Hall

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Buffalo’s firefighting fleet Last year’s Christmas blizzard, which killed 47 people, exposed weaknesses in governmental capacity to navigate emergencies. The storm compelled the City of Buffalo, in particular, to confront numerous shortcomings, including inadequate investment in equipment for first responders. As it happened, we’d been investigating the condition of the city’s firefighting fleet in the weeks before the storm hit.  We published our findings in January: Over the past dozen years, Mayor Byron Brown and the Common Council failed to invest in new fire trucks as they aged out. The result was a ramshackle fleet that sometimes failed firefighters even[...]

Posted 2 months ago
Investigative Post

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