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Brown Comes Through Again: Poverty Plan

Mayor Byron Brown has released his long-awaited poverty plan. It’s late—its author, Donn Brown, was hired to produce it 16 months ago, and the mayor promised in January that it the plan would be released in February.  I’m just beginning to read it, and will solicit opinions on it in the days to come.

Meantime, here’s the mayor’s poverty platform for all to read. I’d welcome feedback from those who have read it.


  • Dick Kern

    It should more correctly be called “a (belated) preliminary proposal to develop a poverty plan”.

    It is lacking in specifics & was developed in secret so far, while promising community participation.

    As expected, BMHA, the city govt’s major welfare agency is merely mentioned in passing with no promise of reform of a masssively costly, failed & unaccountable bureaucracy. BMHA has never worked accountably with the larger community while getting the bulk of the city’s “affordable housing” funds, while housing less than 10% of the city poor at incredible cost, preserving patronage jobs & developer profits . . .as most city poor live in ever more blighted dangerous neighborhoods.

    I repeatedly called Donna Brown to learn if BMHA was included in the poverty plan, never getting an answer.

    My contacts at BMHA indicated no known participation in a poverty plan. They were right!

    And the ‘plan’ being led by “Community Action Organization” (CAO), another dubiously accountable “poverty industry” agency, whose president is controversial Councilman Brian Davis, does not bode well.

  • RWilliams

    I have read it. It is a plan to get a plan together. How much is Donna Brown getting paid? Where is the vision? I know poverty in Buffalo will never cease and there is no silver bullet solution as the Mayor has stated, but this poverty pre-plan is weak and without any concrete goals. How about finding a way to get the administration costs of HUD’s poverty funds for Buffalo(22 million a year) down to a reasonable 20% rather than than the %50 or more that Mayor Brown is wasting. At least that would put another 5-6 million back on the streets to rehab houses and help the poor. That would be a real poverty plan.

  • Magilla M.C. Schaus

    Sister Denise Roach should not be serving on any board assigned to fighting urban blight until remediation efforts are made to install noise buffering and landscaping of these properties adjacent to D’Youville College parking lots.

    281 Fargo has a D’Youville parking lot five feet from this addresses outer wall on the south side of the home.

    290 Fargo has D’Youville parking lots on three sides of this property. The parking lot on the south side of this address encroaches within 13 feet away from this homes outer wall. The north side the parking lot encroaches within 4 feet of this homes outer wall.

    298 Fargo has D’Youville parking lots on two side of this property. The parking lot on the south side of this home encroaches approximately ten feet from the wall of this home. The parking lot on the north side of this home is directly next to this home’s outer wall where two families have been living for decades.

    The empty lot between 298 and 308 Fargo in owned by D’Youville College and is a mud pit that is not being properly maintained.

    308 Fargo has a D’Youville parking lot on one side of this property. The parking lot is on the south side of the home and approximately 12 feet from the outer wall of this home.

    None of these D’Youville parking lots went through an environmental impact process and the process used to obtain these properties denied the home owners on this part of Fargo their rights to self determination and preservation of the homes they have paid/or are paying for to banks mortgages and the government in taxes. D’Youville College pays no taxes.

    These parking lots constructed by D’Youville College have blighted the Fargo Three Hundred Block area. The college took advantage of the working and retired people within our community and has contributed to significant blight on a block that was whole, intact, and a vibrant block suitable for raising families.

    In addition there is no monitoring of automobiles emissions that further lower the resident air quality and the quality of life of the people who have had parking lots imposed upon where they reside.

    Sister Roach must lead by example before she is allowed to supervise any effort to revitalize this city. Where is the remediation for the people whose neighborhood has been blighted by D’Youville College?

    This issue must be resolved. D’Youville College has blighted my street. Where is the justice and Christian/Judeo ethics for my neighbors?

  • Harry

    O.K. another plan to make a plan. Dr. Taylor sits on the board at CAO and is basically stuck in his own silo, never seen, but certainly heard blahblahblahing. This is just a re-election stunt to appear interested, brought to a head like a pimple because of those folks who want to make a garden. It’s an insult to anyone who has an education and works with folks at the street level. We all know Byron would not want to muddy his shoes at any empty lot, preferring to stay behind tinted windows or looking from his periscope out of City Hall.

  • Mike

    These people sure do make a ton of money to talk about what they are going to do, what about what is done? That’s a short list. Remember our Commisioner for Economic Development was raised in Williamsville, went to Ohio and did such a great job there he boosted Cleveland to the #2 spot for being the poorest city in the USA, knocking Buffalo into 3rd place…And Brown thought this was the best pick to replace Rich Tobe who was fired for refusing to lie and make these shit deals in secret? Something smells here, something Brown.

  • AICPplanner

    I read the poverty plan. It is a collection of existing, underfunded City programs. That is what it amounts to. Nothing bad about the plan, but where is the County. I never understood why the City got stuck with a poverty plan when it is the County that runs all the welfare and medicaid programs.

    Where was Collins when a plan to deal with poverty was announced? What is the County going to do about poverty? The County has all the resources, but it is absent from the poverty fight, at least in the city.

    As usual, the City is left holding the bag for a problem they have few resources to address, while the County is able to wash its hands to the problem and the people of Buffalo.

    I smell the last holdout of mean Republican politics here. The Republicans in the County need to get off their duffs and do something about the poverty that has grown out of almost a decade of bad politics from the Bush administration.

  • Sid

    In Accordance to the Buffalo News it hardly resembles a plan with milestones, vision, funding sources, or strategic plan or model that will greatly reduce Buffalo’s rank on the poverty scales.

    Instead what this plan portrays is what is wrong with Western New York. Enhancement of resources to ineffective programs, waste of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ monies to hire a deputy mayor for the sole purpose of drafting a poverty plan an intern could have composed.

    Furthermore you have a certain elected official implying that the WNY private sector should pay a portion for this taskforce comparable to New York City. That suggestion would be useful if WNY had a (a) non-political private sector, (b) a comprehensive poverty alleviation program with funding sources, vision, structure, and a viable implementation model.,(c) a chief executive that had the competence to create an economic environment for business growth, and expansion, and would put the needs of the region, above his own, and would not utilize various illegal techniques for the sake of control.

    What this “program” boils down to is increased patronage, and funds to ineffective programs, researchers, various elected and appointed officials, and various others persons who will not help alleviate poverty in anyway.

  • Doug Levy

    I read the Buffalo Poverty Reduction Blueprint with some professional interest. As a grant writer who often prepares applications directed at ameliorating poverty, I was looking for what, if any, new ideas would turn up. I wasn’t entirely disappointed, but as a “call to arms” the document is too bureaucratic and not angry enough at a situation that has festered in this city, much to its shame and detriment.

    One can skip pages 12 through 35: they contain a litany of what Mayor Brown has accomplished in his fight against poverty over the first three-and-a-half years of his administration. While not unimpressive, with a thousand or so youth employed over the summer here and a couple of hundred derelict homes either boarded up or demolished there, it still seems like a drop in Lake Erie compared to the real job of getting Buffalo’s poor educated, employed, and living in safe neighborhoods. These pages read like an extended campaign brochure: they are worthwhile to scan, but the gist of the document actually follows them.

    The extent and dimensions of poverty in Buffalo are delineated with graphic and depressing thoroughness. This section should have come first, to put some fire in the belly, so that the initial call for a task force to determine a plan for what to do next would have had some impetus. (Curiously, the first section makes a passing reference to poverty also existing outside of Buffalo’s city limits; that the metro is not immune to this sort of rending of its socio-economic fabric. The importance of this acknowledgement, obviously, is that the poverty of the city also weighs down the suburbs in economic and psychological ways; that the first ring suburbs are now home to many of the same problems once thought to stop at the city line; and that an ailing city core is deleterious to the metro, whether suburbanites are willing to admit this or not. But the “we’re-all-in-this-together” mindset, not just county-wide but regionally, is soon, for all intents and purposes, dropped.)

    What follows the section describing Buffalo’s poverty is a lot of good ideas that the task forces should be guided by in formulating their plans. What is ignored generally throughout the blueprint is the urgency with which the task forces need to work if the area is going to get the full benefit of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding that is already in the pipeline. Grant opportunities are coming and going at a blinding rate. Yet the blueprint sets no time limit by which these task forces are to complete their work. This opportunity, like so many others, may well pass us by. The blueprint raises no issues regarding the entrenched interests – always looking out for themselves in order to get what little meat is left on the bones of Buffalo – will do so that they can mold these as yet unformed programs their way. And it is debatable whether Mayor Brown is in a strong enough position politically to force the compromises necessary for making any real anti-poverty plan work.

    — Doug Levy

  • Mike
  • Dave

    It took over 15 months since the Mayor first announced that his administration, under the direction of Deputy Mayor Donna Brown, would come up with a plan to fight poverty and this is what that 15 months produced, a plan to come up with a plan?

    The Mayor and Deputy Mayor would have been better off not submitting anything in my opinion. They look worse by admitting that in all this time all they did was compile a list of community based organizations, data from the census bereau’s web site, and a laundry list of the Mayor bragging about what he’s already done, with no tangible results…

    You would think that after 5 years as a councilmember and 5 years as a senator representing one of the poorest areas in the state, and now as Mayor, he would be able to do better than restate what any grammer school kid already knows about poverty and how it happends. However, if you analyze his tenure as a legislator and as Mayor, you would find that it has been all fluff and no substance anyway, so why should we be surprised?

    Well, at least he dresses well…

  • Earth to ACIPplanner

    What partisan B.S. from AICPplanner: “The Republicans in the County need to get off their duffs and do something about the poverty”

    Democrats have a 12-3 majority in the Erie County legislature and wrote every line in the 2009 county budget that passed last month. EVERY SINGLE LINE OF THAT BUDGET was writtng by Democrats! That’s not opinion; it’s an indisputable matter of fact.

    Also, Democrats control the state senate, state assembly, and governorship.

    Overwhelmingly, the number of registered Democrats in the Erie County electorate outnumber the registered Republicans.

    If you want the county budget to “do something about the poverty”, to use your wording, you should direct your complaints at the two Democrats who rule the 12-3 majority there.

  • Football Fanatic

    I was looking for the toilet paper but I ran out, luckily I had a copy of the poverty plan,

  • DenverBroncoFan

    We don’t need a bunch of statics to know there is poverty in Buffalo. Just drive through the city and the problem is palpable. The Brown’s goals seem insincere when they state education is a big factor in the poverty plight, and Dr. “Can’t do Right” William’s school superintendent still has a job… Unfortunately, I went to a Buffalo public school and for many of my classes, we either didn’t have books, qualified teachers, or the teachers could not maintain control. Some of the kids I went to school with had real troubled lives and who can expect them to sit in class for eight hours a day and learn. There are no services for the kids who need it. I am actually withholding procreation since I live in the city. Buffalo public schools prepare kids for the penitentiary or a life of minimum wage. When these kids don’t get a quality education, they can’t support themselves and may turn to crime or just give up all hope. I know Brown didn’t create the problems, but he was elected to help. He is giving us a new definition of what rock bottom is. There is a high AIDS rate in buffalo, the children can’t read and write! I am sorry I voted for him. He just like every other politicians that is only wants to climb the political latter by dodging issue and not fixing things.

  • N

    A plan to develop a plan, Buffalo, nothing but plans. Happily, I left Buffalo last year. You should too 🙂