Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of October 26, 2020

Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of October 26, 2020

Date: October 30, 2020

Each week, PPG summarizes important takeaways from the major Buffalo Common Council meetings. We also include information from Council meetings related to our Community Agenda items.

This week, the Common Council held two meetings: a Caucus Meeting, and a Regular Meeting. A Caucus Meeting is where members from a specific political party – in this case, the Democratic Party – meet, but official voting on issues does not occur. A Regular Meeting is the primary meeting of the Common Council, for members to make official decisions on issues.

During the Caucus Meeting, there was mention of Mayor Brown and Common Council President Pridgen's announcement of new "police reforms," including the implementation of the permanent use of Tasers, and a pilot program for BolaWrap, a hand-held remote restraint device – with an aiming laser that discharges an eight-foot, lasso-style Kevlar tether at 513 feet per second to entangle a person at a range of 10 to 25 feet. The Caucus did not discuss Tasers (Council sent approval for the permanent phase-in of the device to the Finance Committee during the Regular Meeting), a sent the BolaWrap pilot program to the Police Oversight Committee for a public hearing.

Council Member Wyatt pushed for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) Director’s annual salary increase to be based on performance – instead of it being automatic – sending the issue to the Finance Committee. Wyatt also wants to ensure the City of Buffalo installs speed bumps in the University District as there seems to be a discrepancy in the speed at which certain districts receive speed bumps, compared to others.

Council Member Feroleto drafted a resolution in support of Senator Tim Kennedy’s effort to have the Toronto Raptors play their home games in Buffalo, assuming the borders stay closed to non-essential travel. Common Council sent the item for a vote at the Regular Meeting, later approving the resolution unanimously.

The Youth Climate Council's draft resolution was set for a motion to adopt at the Regular Meeting. The WNY Youth Climate Council has called for the City of Buffalo to declare a climate emergency to acknowledge the climate crisis and encourage Buffalo to develop equitable and sustainable measures across its policies. 

During the Regular Meeting, Common Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency in the City of Buffalo. Three members of the Youth Climate Council spoke about their excitement with accomplishing the first step in their goal – also the third plank on PPG’s 2020 Community Agenda – and how this initiative is youth-led and aims to solve racial inequities through climate justice.

Common Council approved a max contract of $20,000 for the Buffalo Police Department’s polygraph contract. Council Member Golombek raised an issue concerning bail reform – sending it back to the Community Development Committee, signaling a step backwards for the issue – without explanation. The issue of bail reform concerns the January 2020 Buffalo News article "Democrats sharply divided over undoing controversial bail law provisions."

Common Council unanimously voted in favor of Council Member Rivera’s initiative to rename Columbus Park to Prospect Park, its original moniker. The Council bestowed the name Columbus Park in 1979, in honor of Christopher Columbus, but in light of the now well-known atrocities Christopher Columbus committed, this decision is a step forward in refusing to place infamous historical figures on pedestals.

Need more than just a summary? Contact us at info@ppgbuffalo.org, or find full meeting information and schedules here: http://buffalony.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

This summary was drafted by Orlando Dickson, Civic Educator at Partnership for the Public Good.