I managed to attend both nights of the debates/Q&A for Mayor and City Council. Possibly one of the few average Joes that did. I will be honest in that I've gotten to know Jeremiah over the summer and have helped with his campaign when possible. The main difference I saw in those two forums was an idea and plan to take the city in a different direction vs. references to successes over the course of 6 years as the current mayor and 16 on City Council previously. Both are valid arguments, but I'm going to explain why I favor one over the other.
In 2020, the current Mayor lost by a combined total of 369 votes from 2 challengers and a "write in." That's statistical evidence showing just over half the voters in Buffalo are interested in change. Pointing to her 22 years of success on the City Council and as Mayor is a valid argument for 47.7% of Buffalo citizens showing up to the booth. The problem is that a majority who showed up 2 years ago disagree.
The city is $70 million in debt, of which 16 million has been paid off in recent years, I acknowledge that. By her own admission though, her experience and time running the city lays that number directly at her feet, or very close. No one currently has been involved with city politics longer than her by the citizen's vote. Sterling Drug is gone which seems to have many disappointed. Moon Donuts is being crushed by Dunkin'. Downtown is quite often ghostly. The brick pavers are now gone from Division St. ALO apartments sounds like it potentially has major issues (and the desire is for more - is every apartment complex in Buffalo to capacity? Honest question).
Jeremiah had two major missteps on Wednesday's debate. The City budget is $50 million, not 10 as he stated. However, the City budget is $50 million, not 70 to 100 like we've been operating. I'll take a Mayor running a city’s budget like it's $10-40 million than well over, like we as citizens have to do in our pawnish everyday lives.
The City chose to fight Jay Johnson's flag and lost. The amount spent may not have been $2 million like Jeremiah heard, but no one other than the Mayor's devotees believe that the city spent $8500 as she claimed. The Wright County attorney makes $170,000 a year. The Buffalo City Attorney has her own firm that bills the city when used, I believe. $8500 would mean the City Attorney billed 100 hours fighting that lawsuit in the two years it went on, if she makes what the County Attorney does and I'm guessing she charges more per hour being as she is a named partner in a firm. There are roughly 4000 working hours in two years of 40 hours weeks. So all in, she spent 2.5 full weeks working on a lawsuit that was known nationally? Maybe she did, but doesn't seem likely.
Jeremiah is a great guy with a very, very good head on his shoulders who wants the city to change directions. A question was asked at Wednesday's debate that was clearly meant to highlight the fact that Jeremiah has not lived here his whole life, unlike the Mayor. Sometimes an aerial view of a situation is better. Sometimes, you can't see the forest for the trees. Sometimes, you move from one area to another with the expectation and hope that your current city won't become your previous city. His hesitancy towards more apartments isn't rooted in anything other than concern over how much the city can expand at its current rate, acknowledging water supply, downtown congestion, possibility of crime (ironically, the people claiming racism over dubiousness toward apartments are the ones assuming low income housing would mean people of color moving into them. I would assume mostly white people would be moving in, considering demographics of the area. Why can people of color only afford low income housing and apartments?) No one has ever said our current Mayor is anything but a nice person and I have no doubt that is true. I just think it's time for a change and a new direction.