If you have an election for mayor and no one shows up, is it really an election? Buffalo, New York is the third poorest city in the nation, yet last night the mayor who has no answers was elected for another four years. The worst part of this story...he ran unopposed.
The Republicans have written off the City of Buffalo. They have spent their time and money organizing in the suburbs. They have gone to the affluent suburbs and gained a foothold in the county legislature and in the townships. But, all this proves is that the Republicans are living up to their billing - they are the party of the rich and white, they are also the party that could care less about the poor and downtrodden in the city. By not even bothering to field a candidate for mayor the Republican party in Erie County sent a message to the city voters, "We could care less about the city." And the message was heard loud an clear.
I'm sure Byron Brown cares about the city, at least until a cushy Albany appointment comes his way. But, Brown has brought nothing new to city politics. He's carried on the Masiello politics of rule with an iron fist and accomplish nothing. Violent Crime is up, foreclosures are up, and people are leaving the city and Brown offers no solutions to any of these problems. He ignores the real issues of the city, yet is not challenged in a full city election.
People in Western New York need to wake up and realize the region can't survive without a strong, thriving city. Just ask Cleveland and Pittsburgh, they figured this out 10 years ago. If the city is left to become a black hole where no one wants to go, that will be our national image, not the beautiful and affluent suburbs. The sooner people figure out that as goes the city so does the region, we can start to fix what really ails us. That means the Republican party needs to wake up and start offering viable candidates who want to improve the city as well as the suburbs. They need to show they are a party of the people, not just rich white guys. We need to do something, because continuing on like we are is a proposition no voter wants to pull the lever for.