The Buffalo News is coming under criticism for refusing to cover the five opposition candidates who are currently vying for Common Council seats this November. This comes after a primary cycle in which the news expended considerable time and resources smearing the outspoken opposition candidate Joe Mascia, acting as an apparent mouth piece of the incumbent.
You wouldn’t know it from reading The News, but there are in fact five candidates who are challenging the Mayor’s slate of incumbents on November 3rd.
In the Ellicott District, Terrence Heard petitioned his way onto the ballot by creating his own party line, called “1 Ellicott.” His outsider campaign is upending the Democrat establishment and recent polling indicates that incumbent Darius Pridgen’s popularity has slipped in recent months. Heard has remained relentlessly positive and has refused to criticize Pridgen, who was formerly Heard’s pastor until Pridgen began posting disparaging comments about him on Facebook two months ago.
In the Niagara District, Green Party candidate Charlie Tarr is challenging the longtime incumbent David Rivera. Late last August, Artvoice ranked Rivera the worst Councilman based on legislative accomplishments. Tarr is a well known Westside environmental activist.
Rivera remains deeply unpopular for his callous attitude towards Columbus Park and Prospect Hill residents who have been organizing around the environmental justice issues at the Peace Bridge. In the last redistricting, Rivera allowed regional power brokers to squash the Latino community’s political influence by dividing it into three separate council districts, which has left many in the Latino community deeply resentful of Rivera.
It is an overwhelming Democrat enrolled district, known as one of the city’s most liberal. Burning Books on Connecticut Street is a neighborhood mainstay known for its radical leanings. It’s unclear if that community is well enough organized to take the city council district, but it’s certainly within their grasp.
In the Delaware District, the old guard of the city’s Republican party are fielding Peter Rouff against Joel Feroletto, who was appointed to the seat after Mike LoCurto resigned it last month. The Delaware District is the city’s most Republican, but has been gerrymandered to give Democrats an edge. Still, experienced Republican operatives reside in the district and are an undeniable political force.
In the Fillmore District, David Howard’s name will appear on the Independence Party line after a successful “Opportunity to Ballot” effort that is allowing the registered Democrat to appear on that party’s ballot line. A scathing primary battle between the 28 year incumbent Dave Franczyk and the city housing commissioner Joe Mascia has left the district unsatisfied. Franczyk is a deeply unpopular figure in the district and could barely muster 500 votes in an all out effort. Many observers think that Howard will be able to pull off the upset.
In the Masten District, the well respected businessman Mike Woolford — a popular and well known figure in the district — is challenging Ulysses Wingo, who is widely thought to be a puppet of Maurice Garner. Wingo has been backed by the Mayor and the formerly influential political club known as Grassroots, which is rumored to be a subject of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption probe. Woodford is retired, but actively manages The Michael A. Woolford Foundation.
Will voters vote for or against the Mayor’s slate of incumbents? That’s unclear, but in his third year the Mayor’s popularity has waned and his political operatives have either left or are under investigation. Lacking political prowess, the Mayor may find himself on the receiving end of an electoral shellacking.