The Buffalo Common Council will “explore” a city manager form of governance to replace the office of mayor.
Under such a plan, a city manager would be selected by the nine-member Council in conjunction with the community to “carry out the will of the Council members,” University Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt told The Buffalo News.
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown has committed to participating in a debate against his opponent in the mayoral race, Democratic Party nominee India B. Walton, in an event being sponsored by The Buffalo News, WGRZ and Buffalo Toronto Public Media.
Walton, who defeated Brown in the Democratic primary, was out of town, and her campaign has not yet committed to participating in the 7 p.m. Oct. 12 debate.
Walton grew up poor in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, but she beat Buffalo’s four-term mayor, Byron W. Brown, with votes – and a lot of campaign help – from professionals in the city’s wealthier enclaves. And now Walton and her supporters are working to defeat Brown’s write-in bid in November and create a progressive city administration led by a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
As clichéd as it sounds, Buffalo’s historic June 2021 primary, in which democratic socialist India Walton won a major upset over four-term incumbent Byron Brown, is something of a tale of two cities. And it’s the same tale that Buffalonians have discussed for generations: the “East-West divide” carved by Main Street through the heart of the city.
Walton cruised to victory last month by emphasizing new ways to solve old problems, especially in policing. She reiterated on Wednesday her plan to reallocate $7.5 million of the Police Department budget to programs that link usual subjects of police attention to mental health services. Her Wednesday event also marked the first of many in which she is expected to highlight her proposals, backed by high-profile figures like Williams. Others with similar socialist philosophies – such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – are mentioned as other potential campaign allies.
A self-proclaimed democratic socialist who vows to “put people first,” she said her life – growing up poor on the East Side, being a single mother of four boys, being a nurse and a community organizer and having firsthand experience being arrested by Buffalo police – has prepared her for this moment as she faces a write-in campaign from an emboldened Brown in the general election on Nov. 2.
Read the full article from Investigate Post, here.
Ken Kruly is a political analyst for WGRZ-TV, publisher of Politics and Other Stuff and author of Money In Politics for Investigative Post. In an analysis for Investigative Post, Kruly compared Brown’s performance this year to the results of his previous four mayoral campaigns. He found Brown’s share of the vote dropped in six of the nine Common Council districts compared to four years ago.
“She will prioritize addressing the root causes of crime such as concentrated poverty and lack of living-wage jobs,” according to her platform on her campaign website, and she would emphasize “harm reduction and restorative justice programs rather than punitive measures.”
Read the full article from The New York Times, here.
That danger is real. Polls reveal that both Black and white voters reject the slogan “Defund the police.” Yet Walton has shown that even in a city where shootings have surged a staggering 116 percent so far this year, a socialist promising police reform can win.
Read the full article from *InvestigatePost, here.
She’d beaten Brown by 1,507 votes, according to the unofficial tally by the Erie County Board of Elections. That’s more than the absentee ballots left to be counted. She won almost 52 percent of the vote to Brown’s 45 percent. Le’Candice Durham, a City Hall employee whose campaign seemed designed to siphon votes from Walton to benefit Brown, got 650 votes, or just over 3 percent.
“Tonight’s result proves that Buffalonians demand community-minded, people-focused government, and we’re ready to serve them,” Walton said in a statement. “For too long, we’ve seen our city work for politicians, for developers, for the police union but not for ordinary working families.”
India Walton scored a stunning upset in the Democratic mayoral primary in Buffalo, N.Y., putting her on track to become the city’s first female executive and the country’s most high-profile socialist mayor in decades.
“Walton was well established in the Fruit Belt community,” he said. “Well established had a job had work, etcetera. But like a lot of people close to the ground, she knew that the time for change was now. We could see it all over the place that people were hungry for bold, new leadership.”