Tag: City Hall

Jun 29

2022

City Hall transgressions cost taxpayers

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On Wednesday, the Buffalo Common Council approved $510,000 in payments to settle nine personal injury claims filed against the city. A third of those lawsuits were against Buffalo police, whose missteps frequently cost the taxpayers big: almost $12 million in one five-year period, according to an Investigative Post analysis. But cops aren’t the only city employees who mess up on the job. The biggest payout approved yesterday by the Council’s Claims Committee was $225,000 to Freddie Ingram. In November 2018, a Buffalo parking inspector, Jumanne Pitts, backed his city-owned vehicle the wrong way down a street and collided with Ingram’s[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Jun 28

2022

Council catches hell on redistricting plan

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The first public hearing on a redistricting plan for Buffalo’s Common Council attracted just two members of the public. Only one spoke. Tuesday night’s public hearing was another story.  More than 100 people attended the 5 p.m. session — 60 or more in person, another 40 or so online, according to Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto, who chaired the hearing.  At least half the attendees spoke. All used the three minutes allotted to them to disparage the plan drafted by the Council’s appointed Citizens Commission on Reapportionment, first unveiled at a May 18 public hearing.  That May 18 hearing[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Jun 21

2022

Buffalo’s gerrymandered Council districts

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A coalition of activists and good government groups is urging Buffalo’s Common Council to reject a redistricting plan that has been moving quickly and quietly toward approval. And they’ve got a plan of their own to put in its place — one they say does a better job keeping neighborhoods together and promoting racial equity, while undoing the gerrymandering of a decade ago. The proposal moving through the Council was submitted last month by a citizens commission charged with recommending new district lines based on 2020 Census numbers. That commission worked largely behind closed doors, with little public notice or[...]

Posted 6 months ago

May 26

2022

City Hall’s paper thin fair housing report

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Last week Buffalo’s Fair Housing Office filed its first activity report with the Common Council since April 2019.  The new report is five pages long. Given its lack of content, it probably could have been shorter.  It was just the third report the office has filed in the 16 years since the city adopted its fair housing ordinance, which created the office and requires it to report annually on its efforts to protect renters from discrimination. Buffalo’s law is a local affirmation of the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices that contributed to racial segregation.  Segregation is[...]

Posted 6 months ago

May 19

2022

A smart purchase by City Hall?

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Most of Mayor Byron Brown’s proposed $5.4 million hike in police spending is for new patrol officers and detectives.  There is also $364,000 earmarked for a product called ShotSpotter. ShotSpotter deploys an array of microphones in a neighborhood — 15 to 20 per square mile, attached to buildings and light posts — to detect and pinpoint the source of gunshots, then report the location to police. The company claims the technology is 97 percent accurate, provides police with intelligence on gunfire that might otherwise go unreported, improves police response time, and helps to reduce gun-related crime. About 120 cities have[...]

Posted 7 months ago

May 17

2022

Buffalo is Segregation City

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Editor’s Note: The story below published May 17. The companion television story, produced wth WGRZ, aired July 7. Buffalo and Western New York need to take a close look in the mirror in light of Saturday’s supermarket massacre. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re not going to like what we see. The region has a long history of racism, one that has been compounded in recent years by a growing undercurrent of right-wing extremism. Witness Saturday’s shootings. In this column, I’m going to explore racism and its impact. Tomorrow, I’ll delve into the radical right. Hear me out. Related[...]

Posted 7 months ago

May 5

2022

First impressions of Brown’s budget

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Mayor Byron Brown’s proposed city budget is awash in federal pandemic relief funds. It’s bolstered by the restoration of long withheld Seneca casino money. And, on top of those windfalls, Brown has proposed a property tax hike for only the second time since he took office in 2006. The city needs all the money it can get. Operating costs keep rising. For example, among the spending increases in Brown’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1: Police spending would rise $5.4 million, an increase of 6.3 percent. Most of that would pay for 45 new officers. Some[...]

Posted 7 months ago

Mar 22

2022

Lucrative no-bid deal for Brown donor

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For the last three years, Buffalo’s comptroller has been asking Mayor Byron Brown’s administration to justify a $1 million, no-bid contract awarded to developer William Huntress.  Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams’s office has twice audited the current lease for the city’s records storage facility, given to Huntress’s Acquest Development in 2018.  Both times, according to the comptroller, the Brown administration has failed to document its decision to forgo legally required competitive bidding procedures. “Documentation of the transaction should be sufficient to assure compliance with the applicable laws and policies, which require the best value is chosen,” the comptroller reported in its first[...]

Posted 9 months ago