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Today in City Hall: Trico

By Jill Terreri

Good morning, 

Preservation Buffalo Niagara will hold a news conference at noon today on the steps of City Hall in an effort to pressure the Common Council to designate the Trico complex a local landmark, which would give the city's Preservation Board more say in any proposal to demolish it. 

The Council is set to vote tomorrow on Trico's landmark status. Ellicott Council Member Darius Pridgen's district includes the building, and other lawmakers will likely take their cues from Pridgen. Pridgen did not say last week how he will vote, but noted that many from the neighborhood who spoke during Tuesday's Legislation Committee were not in favor of saving the building. 

UPDATE: During a brief interview this afternoon, Pridgen said there will be a vote on the landmark designation tomorrow, but he would not say how he would vote. 

In a separate interview today, Matthew K. Enstice, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which owns development rights to Trico, said the Medical Campus is not in favor of landmarking the building, but is willing to work with developers and preservationists on re-using the former factory. 

Continue reading "Today in City Hall: Trico" »

Neighborhood parking permits pitched for medical corridor

Council Member Darius G. Pridgen today will introduce a measure calling for the city to study and implement a system of neighborhood parking permits around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The city lawmaker, whose district includes the Fruit Belt neighborhood adjacent to the medical campus, said he has heard from residents who have had trouble finding parking spots near their homes due to those working at and visiting the campus.

Pridgen's resolution also states the Council will pursue state legislation allowing the neighborhood parking permit system.

Here's a copy of Pridgen's resolution.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

By the numbers: Corner stores in the City of Buffalo

In order to operate a corner store in Buffalo, you have to get what's known as a food store license from the city.

Applications for the license filed in City Hall have to be approved by the Common Council. It costs $115 to apply.

Some city lawmakers have said they think the city has too many of these types of stores, which sometimes can cause problems in a neighborhood, including loitering, illegally high fees for check cashing and expired products.

Earlier this year, Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen said some gravy that expired in 2009 was found on one store's shelf.

Continue reading "By the numbers: Corner stores in the City of Buffalo" »

Five Questions with Darius Pridgen

Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.

Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen speaks during a Jan. 24 meeting of the Buffalo Common Council. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)

Darius G. Pridgen

The basics
Age: 47
Job title: Buffalo Common Council member, Ellicott district
Family: Father of three girls and two boys (all adults); grandfather of six.
Education: B.S. in criminal justice (Buffalo State); master's degree in organizational leadership (Medaille)
Party affiliation: Democrat
Other current employment: Senior servant of True Bethel Baptist Church
Previous work experience: U.S. Air Force; U.S. Postal Service; Spanish teacher at School 43
City salary: $52,000 + $1,000 stipend for chairing Legislation Committee

Continue reading "Five Questions with Darius Pridgen" »

Recent hires in City Hall

The latest hires in city government include new interns and an aide for Common Council members.

Both South Council Member Michael P. Kearns and Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera have hired former aides as paid interns.

Kearns hired Matthew Fisher, while Rivera hired Sean Mulligan -- both at a rate of $15 an hour.

Continue reading "Recent hires in City Hall" »

Smith, Russell in line for Council leadership positions

Update 4:33 p.m.: Kearns did not keep Finance Committee chairmanship -- that went to Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto.

Here's my story.


Masten Council Member Demone A. Smith said he expects to be named the Common Council majority leader when city lawmakers reorganize this afternoon.

Smith also said University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell will become the new president pro temp of the Council -- which will come with additional duties but no $2,500 stipend -- when the Council holds its reorganizational meeting at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers.

As we already knew, current Majority Leader Richard A. Fontana will take over as Council president, with Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk set to lose the post he's held for eight years.

Also according to Smith, who was packing up his Council office today getting ready for a move to the majority leader's office:

--South Council Member Michael P. Kearns will stay chairman of the Finance Committee.

--Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen will become the new Legislation Committee chairman, with the previous chairman, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., taking over the Community Development Committee from Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto.

--Russell will keep the chairmanship of the Civil Service Committee, and Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera will stay chairman of the Claims Committee.

A majority vote of the Council is required for leadership and chairmanship posts.

Fontana, Smith, Russell, Pridgen and Golombek are part of the new Council majority, as Fontana had been aligned with Franczyk, Kearns, LoCurto and Rivera.

Leadership positions, except for president pro temp, and chairmanships come with stipends: $10,000 for president; $5,000 for majority leader, and $1,000 each for the committee chairmen.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN


Pridgen calls for responsibility among food store operators

Council Member Darius G. Pridgen has heard many complaints about food stores in the Ellicott District during his first 11 months in office.  Pridgen_headshot2

From the sale of marijuana-shaped candy and synthetic pot to loitering to selling loose items, like cigarettes and diapers, the city lawmaker believes store owners need to be more accountable.

Pridgen will meet this morning with business people in his district who hold city food store licenses.

"I am pro-business. I want businesses to come to the Ellicott District," Pridgen said during a meeting of the Common Council's Legislation Committee on Oct. 11. "...However, I want business owners to be responsible."

Pridgen sent a letter to licensees about the meeting, being held at the Pratt Willert Community Center.

City lawmakers, who hold the power to grant food store licenses, regularly set conditions for the licenses to include bans on the store selling anything that would be considered drug paraphernalia.

Pridgen has said he wants the owner of each store applying for a license in his Council district to appear before the Council prior to a vote being held.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

(Photo by Charles Lewis / Buffalo News Staff Photographer)

City lawmaker: Clean up election signs

Buffalo Common Council member Darius G. Pridgen wants political candidates to take down their campaign signs now that the election is over. Pridgen_head

The Ellicott Council member's office sent out a news release Wednesday, announcing that Pridgen would be sending a letter to candidates asking them to remove signs from vacant lots and city property in his district.

In his letter, Pridgen encourages campaigns to recycle the signs.

(Photo by News Staff Photographer Charles Lewis)

--Aaron Besecker

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

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

Tom Precious

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.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

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.

@JerryZremski |