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Rodriguez to run for school board

By Jill Terreri

Sergio Rodriguez, who waged a campaign against Mayor Byron Brown this fall, announced today that he will seek a seat on the Buffalo Board of Education.

Rodriguez, a South Buffalo resident, will run for one of three at-large seats that will be up for election in May. The seats are currently held by Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold and Board Members Florence Johnson and John Licata.   

Rodriguez had campaigned on a promise that he would seek a full mayoral takeover of the school district, and said during a chilly Niagara Square news conference today that running for the school board was a natural fit.

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Rodriguez says he's ready for 'upset'

By Jill Terreri

Mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez said this morning, one day before the election, that his uphill race against Mayor Byron Brown "has all the makings of an upset. "

"I really feel that this is a winnable race," said Rodriguez, a Republican who is also running on a Progressive ballot line. "We feel confident. We feel we have the people behind us."  

Rodriguez is facing Brown at a time when nearly eight in 10 Democratic voters think the city is on the right track, according to a September poll. 

Brown spent nearly $1.3 million on his campaign through mid-October, and early polls showed he was in the lead. There has not been a public poll since the primary, in which he easily defeated Bernie Tolbert. 

Rodriguez spoke to reporters in Niagara Square, in the shadow of City Hall, where the topic at hand was his desire to create a public advocate's office in the city, which would be an elected position, like the one in New York City.  

He said residents need an independently elected office to go to with problems they're facing in dealing with city departments. An elected public advocate would be free from political influence, he said.

"This is more of an investment to restore faith in city government," he said. "This position is critical to preserve some kind of checks and balances."  

Rodriguez knocks Brown's 'penchant for secrecy'

By Jill Terreri

Republican Sergio Rodriguez seized on a story today in The Buffalo News about the city's decision to put up license plate readers at intersections around the city without the public's knowledge. 

"The Mayor and his appointed Police Commissioner took the liberty to install these controversial devices without so much as informing the Common Council members whose districts are impacted," Rodriguez said today.  "When the public's privacy is compromised, they have the right to know and the right to weigh in on the issue." 

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Rodriguez hopes for a face-to-face meeting

By Jill Terreri

Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez is keeping hope alive that he will meet face-to-face with Mayor Byron Brown, even as Brown has made clear he is not interested in another debate. 

Rodriguez will be at a "community discussion" at 5:30 p.m. today at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave.

"I really hope that the mayor will accept this opportunity to engage directly with residents," said Rodriguez, who will also appear on a Progressive ballot line. 

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Rodriguez to announce new ballot line

By Jill Terreri

Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez will announce a new ballot line in an event at 10 a.m. today at City Hall. 

Rodriguez has passed petitions to appear on a "progressive" line, in an effort to appeal to more city voters. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city 7 to 1, and any citywide candidate must win votes from Democrats in order to be successful.

Rodriguez is challenging Mayor Byron Brown, who has the Democratic, Independence and Conservative lines.

He will also speak this morning about Teddy Roosevelt, who was the subject of festivities here last weekend.  

Rodriguez has been busy making daily visits to neighborhoods as part of his "30 neighborhoods in 30 days" tour. 

Rodriguez stands alone at block club meeting

By Jill Terreri

Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez alerted reporters on Tuesday that he and Mayor Byron W. Brown were scheduled to appear that evening in front of a block club in the city's north east corner. 

The appearance could have marked the only venue where both candidates would appear before the Nov. 5 election. Brown has not agreed to any upcoming debates (Rodriguez participated in pre-primary debates, which also included Brown and Democrat Bernie Tolbert) and it's not clear they will discuss the issues one-on-one in any venue before general election ballots are cast. 

But Brown didn't attend the Judge's Row Block Club meeting at St. Michael's church near Kensington and Eggert, and a spokesman said he did not commit to going, though Rodriguez's campaign noted that the block club felt confident enough that the mayor would be there that they promoted the appearance on its web site

Rodriguez had the floor to himself, and talked about crime and education, jobs and a residency requirement for police officers, according to WBFO's Mike Desmond. 

Continue reading "Rodriguez stands alone at block club meeting" »

Rodriguez's economic development plans

By Jill Terreri

Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez released a five-page economic development plan today, emphasizing greater hiring opportunities for women and minorities.

He continued to press his case that the construction around town is not helping people in neighborhoods and said he would make sure that hiring "goals" for women and minorities would be turned into requirements in his admininstration. 

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Rodriguez to talk economic development

By Jill Terreri

Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez will be at the Hatch restaurant today to talk about his economic development platform. 

The Hatch was a key part of an audit from Comptroller Mark Schroeder, released yesterday. 

Rodriguez quickly pounced on the audit in a release yesterday, saying that the Erie Basin Marina operators have been "robbing the city blind" while Mayor Byron Brown has been accepting political donations from the operators. 

The Brown administration said it would hire new operators for the marina and restaurant for the 2014 season. 

Continue reading "Rodriguez to talk economic development" »

Sergio wants to debate, Brown does not

By Jill Terreri

The primary results aren't even 12 hours old, but Republican Sergio Rodriguez said unequivocally in a statement this morning that he wants to debate before the general election. 

"It is irresponsible for the mayor to deny the people of Buffalo an opportunity to hear about what each candidate plans on doing to address the issues that matter most to the residents of Buffalo.
"Considering that Buffalo is currently facing challenges of epidemic proportions in the areas of education, crime, unemployment, poverty and population decline; the mayor should jump at the opportunity to present the people with his ideas to reform Buffalo.

Continue reading "Sergio wants to debate, Brown does not" »

Brown promises more economic development, but not more debates

By Jill Terreri

Mayor Byron W. Brown promised more economic development in the city in remarks to reporters after his victory speech tonight, but did not commit to debating his general election opponent, Republican Sergio R. Rodriguez. 

News Staff Reporter Mark Sommer was at Statler City, where Brown talked about what happens next: 

"We want to focus on continuing to strengthen this community economically, helping businesses to grow, and bringing more jobs to the residents of this community.  You'll be seeing more housing subdivisions and development taking place.  Now is the time to begin to rebuild the population of this great city.

 

 "We want to focus on the arts community, which we think is a critical economic engine  in this community, and you will see more focus there.  We are going to focus on providing additional support to our public schools in a very strategic way, and I will be very aggressive in bringing more strategic support ot our schools, and to redouble our efforts in rebuilding neighborhoods."

Continue reading "Brown promises more economic development, but not more debates" »

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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.

[email protected]


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.

[email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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