|Date:||February 5, 2021|
By Orlando Dickson |
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 sessions: A Caucus Meeting and a Regular Meeting. A Caucus Meeting is where members from a specific political party – in Buffalo's case, the Democratic Party – meet, but official voting on issues does not occur. A Regular Meeting is the Common Council's primary meeting, where the body makes official decisions on issues.
During the Caucus Meeting, the Common Council signaled its intent to discuss unsafe city roads in the next Community Development Committee Meeting on February 9 at 2pm. At that same meeting, they will discuss Senator Kennedy's letter to the Common Council on COVID-19 response, noting his state bill that would require the New York State Department of Health to create a plan for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The Council also announced Mayor Brown agreed to pause the school speed zone camera program until March 1, 2021. This "pause" means drivers who violate the speed limit will not receive monetary tickets from speed cameras, but police will still issue tickets in the area. The cameras may still issue warning tickets with no monetary value attached, but the Traffic Commissioner has yet to confirm.
During the Regular Meeting, Councilmember Wyatt noted although the school speed zone camera program is on pause, the signage is still inaccurate – showing the times when school zone speed cameras will be active. He stated again his concerns about the Beverly Gray Business Center as it has not had an executive director for nearly a year. Wyatt also restated his view on the conflict of interest when city officials sit on boards that receive city funding. After expressing his concerns, Councilmember Wyatt motioned to approve the third continuation of their funding, wanting to leave it to a vote. His vote was the only opposing vote, and the Common Council approved funding 8-1.
The Common Council also approved three other measures during the Regular Meeting. The Council officially approved the ordinance amendment to Chapter 309 Hazardous Operation of Motor Vehicle in Park, which created new requirements and fines for ATV owners who violate the law. Next, the Common Council removed a "Walking While Trans" (WWT) law as a ceremonial show of support to the trans community after New York State’s recent repeal. "Walking While Trans" law prohibited loitering for prostitution, which resulted in massive law enforcement discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ community due to the large amount of discretion afforded to officers. Lastly, the Common Council approved a trailblazing sign for the late George K. Arthur. Trailblazing signs are honorary street names assigned to honor and commemorate noteworthy persons associated with the City of Buffalo.
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