City lawmakers will hear from the public and housing experts about vacant or problem properties at 2 p.m. Thursday in Council Chambers.
Majority Leader Demone Smith and the Western New York Law Center are hosting a hearing on properties that are owned by the bank and abandoned, or just abandoned, or properties where a landlord is trying to flip them.
South Council Member Chris Scanlon has drawn attention to the problem of vacant properties where owners think they have been evicted by a bank for nonpayment of their mortgage, but don't realize their name is on the deed and they could have stayed.
Less than a week after being appointed to the Common Council, the city's newest lawmaker was tapped with a committee chairmanship.
Council President Richard A. Fontana has appointed South Council Member Christopher P. Scanlon as chairman of the body's Finance Committee.
"I just have to say that I see this as a pandering, political stunt," Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk said on the Council floor this week.
Scanlon replaces Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto, who held the post since early January. (Before him, former South Council Member Michael P. Kearns held it.)
Franczyk asserted Scanlon's appointment to chair the committee was an attempt by Fontana to add a sixth member to the Council majority.
"If you want to have someone to be an ally of yours, or a sixth vote, ask him for it. Don't pander to them; don't patronize them. Ask him for it and let them make up their own [mind]," Franczyk said. "But this kind of pathetic pandering for a freshman councilman, to me, does a disservice to the spirit of the [city] charter and to this council."
As expected, the Buffalo Common Council this morning appointed Christopher P. Scanlon to the vacant South District seat.
Scanlon, whose term runs through the end of the year, fills the post vacated after Mickey Kearns won a special election to the State Assembly.
Scanlon was appointed by a 5-3 vote, with Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk, Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera and Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto voting for former Kearns aide Matthew Fisher.
Listen to Scanlon speak with reporters after the vote:
A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.
Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.
Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.