Heated battles for Delaware, Fillmore districts expected

David Franczyk has held his seat since the 1970s and is the chamber's most senior member.

This year every seat on the Common Council is up for reelection to a four year term. Typically, Council races are low turnout and under the radar — but this year looks like there will be several competitive races.

Delaware District 

Delaware district Councilman Michael LoCurto.
Delaware district Councilman Michael LoCurto.

North district school board member Jay McCarthy is expected to run for Common Council this year in the Delaware district. Councilman Michael LoCurto has not said whether he will run for reelection this year. He is a planner by training and there have been rumors that he is considering taking a position in the Poloncarz administration.

Should LoCurto choose not to run, operatives wonder whether former State Senator Alfred Coppola will enter the race. The longtime Councilman was reelected eight consecutive times to the Delaware district Council seat.

Others names that have been floated in political circles include Lisa Yeager, the attorney; and Dr. Wendy Mistretta, the education advocate.

University District

Rasheed Wyatt was appointed to the vacancy left by departing Councilwoman Bonnie Russell.
Rasheed Wyatt was appointed to the vacancy left by departing Councilwoman Bonnie Russell.

Councilman Rasheed Wyatt was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Bonnie Russell. He had served as a longtime staffer to the Council.

Political operatives are speculating that Bernie Tolbert, the former director of the Buffalo field office of the FBI and a senior Executive with the NBA and Coca Cola, may consider the race. Tolbert ran for school board, but a very crowded race split an already low turnout vote.

Niagara District 

David Rivera has been criticized for his handling of Peace Bridge talks.
David Rivera has been criticized for his handling of Peace Bridge talks.

Councilman David Rivera has angered West Side residents for his stances on the Peace Bridge expansion project, and dismissing the childhood asthma epidemic that has been linked to diesel carcinogens emanating from idling trucks at the customs plaza.

It is rumored that Bernice Radle, the high profile preservationist, and Ralph Hernandez, the former school board president, are considering the race.

Fillmore District 

Councilman David Franczyk has held his council seat since the 1970s, and oversaw the economic collapse of his neighborhood. He is responsible for an egregiously contorted redistricting that redrew the Fillmore district into Allentown in a shape that resembles an eagle.

It’s rumored that several individuals are considering the race, including Joe Ludwig, the Buffalo businessman; Joe Mascia, the housing commissioner; Tim Houges, the former County Legislator; GIzelle Stokes, the former school board candidate; and Sam Davis, the attorney.

Other Districts

The North district is represented by Joe Golombek, a popular Councilman, and no challengers have emerged to date.

The South district is represented by Christopher Scanlon. So far, the race has been quiet.

The Lovejoy district is represented by Richard Fontana, who is well liked among his constituents. A challenger has not emerged.

The Ellicott district is represented by Darius Pridgen. A challenger has not yet emerged.


  1. Now this is an interesting story. With four-year terms now for Buffalo Common Councilmembers, it’s like winner-take-all (and not in a good way), or it seems like FOREVER for someone who would like to become a member of the council.

    More people should challenge the incumbents, and it’s sad that as Matthew states, several have free rides altogether. Not that they don’t deserve re-election, but let’s see some new faces at least try for office. And heck, they could run again in the future after gaining experience running in the first place. Betty Jean Grant comes to mind here, having challenged Tim Kennedy for the senate, and oh my, that was fun to watch for democracy, the time she nearly knocked Kennedy out – and he spent like a gazillion dollars, LOL.

    I’ve been watching Councilman Rasheed Wyatt and hope voters give him a chance to show his stuff. Same for Christopher Scanlon, who in the short time he’s been there, looks like a good representative. David Franczyk should be the mayor in my opinion, but I guess all of them should have a challenger in the primary, even these three.

    A race against Michael LoCurto by Alfred Coppola would be excellent, and I also would like to see Niagara District Councilman David Rivera challenged by someone who understands that four year terms for a city councilmember is an eternity, and not just a place to rest following retirement. That district if the one district where a young progressive candidate could spark the imagination of West Side residents, or even Rivera if he could get a second wind and actually show some spunk.

    This is one story this site should harp on all year long!!!

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