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Video: Scanlon officially tapped for South seat

***Updated 1:01 p.m.***

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:

Continue reading "Video: Scanlon officially tapped for South seat" »

Bain has support for Council vacancy

As I mentioned in this morning's paper, a new candidate has emerged to fill the vacant South District seat on the Buffalo Common Council.

Linda M. Bain, a registered nurse and block club founder, has the support of four Council members, University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell told me Monday. (Here's Bain's resume.)

That means Bain and Matthew Fisher, a former aide to Michael P. Kearns, both have four lawmakers behind them.

After last week's candidate interviews, Fisher, Bryan J. Bollman, a senior aide to Council President Richard Fontana, and Anthony "A.J" Verel were considered the leading three candidates.

Questions arose last week about Bollman's residency, and Verel has his own issues -- he was arrested twice for burglary and had a two-year prison stint.

In terms of Bain's emergence, Russell told me she believes it would be nice to have another woman on the Council, and that Bain has the qualifications, including background in the military and with block clubs, as well as community support.

Russell said that Bain has the support of herself, Fontana, Majority Leader Demone A. Smith and Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen.

"She was very honest and very fresh, very forthcoming," Russell said about Bain's interview with the Council last week.

Russell said she was contacted by "a couple women's organizations" asking that she take "a good look" at Bain. Russell would not disclose which groups contacted her.

Russell also said she plans to reach out to the lawmakers supporting Fisher to talk about Bain's candidacy.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

Council accepting resumes for South District seat

With Michael P. Kearns leaving City Hall for Albany, the Buffalo Common Council has the power to appoint his successor.

(Kearns filed his letter of resignation, effective the end of business Wednesday. Read it here.)

The city is advertising the South Council seat vacancy, and interested parties must submit a letter requesting appointment and a resume by the close of business April 5.

In order to qualify for the appointment, under city code, applicants must be Democrats (same affiliation as Kearns) and live in the South Council District. (Here's a district map.)

Materials should be sent to the City Clerk's Office, 1308 City Hall, Buffalo, N.Y., 14202.

The term of any appointee would run through the end of the year, with the seat up for election in November for a full term starting Jan. 1, 2013.

--Aaron Besecker

Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

A miraculous proposal?

South Park Avenue, including this South Buffalo stretch looking towards Lackawanna, would be honorarily renamed "Father Nelson Baker Way" under a new proposal. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News file photo)

Just how related are the following two things? You be the judge.

--South Council Member Michael P. Kearns is a candidate in the March 20 special election for the 145th Assembly District seat.

--This week, Kearns will introduce a measure before the Common Council that would designate South Park Avenue, from Main Street to the city line with Lackawanna, "Father Nelson Baker Way."

Continue reading "A miraculous proposal?" »

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" »

Audio: Onward with food truck rules in Buffalo

Proposed food truck rules are now in the hands of Mayor Byron W. Brown.

As I reported Tuesday, the Common Council passed a set of food truck rules, which must be signed by the mayor.

Once the City Clerk's Office certifies the results of the Council vote, the paperwork is forwarded to the mayor's office. The mayor would likely receive the documents Monday, Assisstant Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Ball said.

The mayor has 10 days in which he can sign the legislation into law, veto it or do nothing, and then it would become law after 10 days. If the measure is signed into law, it would take effect immediately.

One part of the matter that remained unresolved Tuesday was whether the any newly issued food truck licenses would be good until April 2013, or whether a license -- valid until April 1 of this year -- would be issued with a prorated fee.

After the passage, Peter V. Cimino told me Lloyd the taco truck will be growing, including adding a truck and employees.

Listen to part of our conversation:

South Council Member Michael P. Kearns placed the only vote against the proposed rules. He offered his own version, available here. The only changes he offered were lowering the fee from $1,000 to $395, as well as limiting the number of operating food trucks to one mobile vendor per city block.

Here's Kearns talking about the issue during Tuesday's Common Council meeting:

The bill sponsor, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., spoke immediately after Kearns. Here's some of what he had to say:

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

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


Where Council leadership change started

How did Majority Leader Richard A. Fontana's move to replace David A. Franczyk as Buffalo Common Council president start?

Kearns_headshotIt started with South Council Member Michael P. Kearns, according to Fontana, who said Kearns told him he wouldn't be supporting Franczyk when the Council reorganizes next month.

A few weeks ago, Fontana said he was exploring a bid for the top Council post. On Wednesday, he said he had the necessary votes to take the leadership position.

"I didn't start that," said Fontana, who added he thought he would have Kearns' support.

That's a version of events Kearns (pictured at left) is denying.

"I said I would like to see new leadership and term limits," Kearns said.

The assertion that he promised to get behind Fontana for president is incorrect, the South Council member said.

"He thought. He assumed," Kearns said of Fontana.

(Photo by Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN


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 |