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Who's paying for the at-large incumbents' campaign for Buffalo School Board?

Those Slippery Mailers

Not since last fall’s election season have I stepped in the front door to my house and slid on such a slippery piece of campaign literature as the big, glossy flyer promoting incumbents Catherine Collins, Chris Jacobs, and Florence Johnson as at-large school board candidates. After five years of service, they could only come up with three bullet points to illustrate their record, and even those are vague boasts or obvious stretchers.

The candidates posed together in City Hall, in front of a City of Buffalo flag, for a photo or two. And even though I knew—having followed the school board somewhat for the past couple of years—that these three often voted in unison on issues in step with Superintendent James Williams, I thought it was an interesting approach.

Turns out that the return address on the mailer is for something called Buffalo Students First. Their address is 665 Main Street, Suite 200. Interestingly, that’s the exact same address as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. I searched state and county records but found nothing to indicate that the group has filed any kind of paperwork, like a DBA or something.

When I called the Partnership on Monday, I was told I’d have to speak to Glenn Aronow, who is their director of government relations. I recognized Aronow’s name, because he is the same person who notarized the petition challenges that were made against every single challenger in the at-large Buffalo school board race on April 13.

Aronow spoke to me very briefly from Washington, DC, on Monday and Tuesday, where he’s been attending some big conference. He referred me back to the Partnership, saying I should ask Hadley Horrigan because he was so busy there in Washington. On Tuesday, Horrigan said Aronow is the guy to talk to. He has yet to call me back.

When he does, I’ll ask him why Herbert Bellamy Jr., Elaine Mootry, and Cassandra Cosby each filed two General Objection to Nominating Petition forms on April 13, in an effort to extinguish the campaigns of the six challengers to Collins, Jacobs, and Johnson. I already asked him to explain what Buffalo Students First is, but he hasn’t gotten back to me on that yet.

In the meantime, there are at least two more events scheduled where city voters can come out to hear the positive and refreshing voices of the six challengers: Patricia Devis, Bryon McIntyre, John B. Licata, Rosalind Hampton, Rebekah Williams, and Fred Yellen—providing they survive the petition challenges put forward by associates of Grassroots and the Partnership. The incumbents might show up too, but you never know. Florence Johnson didn’t bother to attend the last one, and Chris Jacobs left early.

The dates for these forums are Monday, April 27, 7-9pm at the Polish Cadets Hall at Grant and Amherst Street, and Thursday, April 30, 5:30-7:30pm at the Frank Merriweather Library at 1324 Jefferson Avenue.

buck quigley

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