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Council Says No to Rodriguez

Today’s Common Council session opened, as it always does, with a prayer. (Does anyone pray publicly so often and so audibly as the elected official?) The University District’s Bonnie Russell’s message in a nutshell: Please, God, save us from being political.

Fat chance. The Council voted five to four to deny David Rodriguez the post of corporation counsel, to which Mayor Byron Brown had nominated him two weeks earlier. (Lovejoy’s Rich Fontana jumped the majority coalition;s ship and joined Russell, the North’s Joe Golombek, and Masten’s Demone Smith in supporting Rodriguez.) The rationale: Rodriguez is running against Niagara District Councilman David Rivera for a Democratic Party committee seat. In today’s session, Delaware’s Mike LoCurto argued that in doing so Rodriguez showed poor judgment—he is the city’s lawyer, and is supposed to represent all branches of government, not just the mayor who appoints him. LoCurto said the race against Rivera, who Rodriguez theoretically represents, coupled with his failure to deliver any timely or helpful opinions during the Brian Davis meltdown last fall, had convinced him that Rodriguez was incapable of acting independently of the mayor’s office. And that, LoCurto said, made him incapable of representing the entire city.

One might have expected fireworks. There were none. Maybe the room will light up tomorrow, when the appointment of Dan Derenda to police commissioner may be the cause of a special session. Last week, Derenda’s nomination was tabled in the Legislation Committee, seemingly dooming Derenda to purgatory until after the Council’s August recess. Today Brown threatened to resubmit Derenda’s name, but then pulled that punch at the last minute. Now we hear that a special session will be called tomorrow, and the mayor will likely have the votes to discharge Derenda’s nomination from committee and confirm him. The only stalwarts against the appointment are LoCurto, Rivera, and the South’s Mickey Kearns. Ellicott’s Curtis Haynes is a cipher, though he voted to table the matter last week. Fontana will vote to confirm.

If Haynes sticks to his guns, then Council President Dave Franczyk is the swing vote here. Franczyk voted to table last week, but he is inclined to confirm Derenda unless given a powerful reason not to. Will he help to pull the appointment out of committee or will he allow the others to continue to scrutinize the clearly flawed and opaque process by which Derenda was nominated?

And when will mayoral spokesman Peter Cutler call me back to tell me if the mayor’s human resources ace, Karla “TMI” Thomas, lied to councilmembers yesterday about where and when she’d posted the opening for a police commissioner to online job sites?

Kevin Helfer was approved unanimously as the city’s new parking czar.


  • Jones Bones

    “Kevin Helfer was approved unanimously as the city’s new parking czar.”

    For anyone out there needing a high paying job;I am going to tell you how to get a good one.

    1. Run as a candidate for Mayor of Buffalo and call the other candidate’s (Byron Brown) personal friends, “A Grassroots Gang of Thugs”.

    2. Call mayoral candidate Byron Brown dishonest, a crook , an associate of criminals, and an admirer of Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey.

    3. Introduce the Race Card into the campaign and show campaign pictures of mayoral candidate Brown that have been photoshopped to appear darker than the candidate really was.

    4. Remain a Republican or a Conservative in a Democratic majority city and get a cushy job working for that certain guy after being told to bail out because the county government was tanking.

    5. Let the Mayor buy your loyalty and committment not to run against him in 2013 by being bribed to take a job way above your qualifications and capabilities.

    7. Walk dozens of streets like a trained puppy to garner favors from Mayor Brown by walking the street getting signatures in a petitions for Chris Jacob’s flunky in the past school board elections

    6. Have your friend and the mayor’s friend, Chris Collins, put in a good word for you.

    7. Recognize that in politics there are no permanent enemies nor permanent employers. In other words: don’t quit your other jobs!

  • Ted

    My prayer – God save us from Bonnie Russell. At least we have 5 people on the City Council willing to work, Bonnie not being one of them.

  • brownout

    This shit town and its sell out liars at the helm should be enough to start and keep an open blog forum here on the artovice. sometimes, the av drops the ball and loses its chance to really take a bite or make a splash. the attack on james williams was agreat example of making a difference, covering what matters and grabbing interest. it should open a forum for teachers, for cops &firemen, one on city hall and FINALLY start an I HATE BYRON BROWN FORUM!!!!! PERFECT.

  • You really ought to start a campaign to reveal “turncoat” democrats so that their constituents know what they are doing…You ought to name it the “Most Like Benedict Arnold” blog and never let it end…just roast Barbara Miller Williams, Tim Kennedy, Christine Bove and Bryon Brown for turning their loyalities from the Dems that elected them and working with republican county sleezy executive Chris Collins to put republican agendas in the forefront. These four really think their constituents are dumb and have no idea what they are doing! They jumped on the convenient band wagon to bring “change” into their vernacular which is hysterical. Go for it…keep this going.