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To the Members of the City of Buffalo Common Council
By Marilyn Rodgers
Dec 14, 2009, 20:10
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To the Members of the City of Buffalo Common Council:

Last Wednesday I received a phone call from Jeremy Zellner of the Erie County Democratic Committee informing me of a “Candidates’ Forum” to be held this coming Friday, December 18, 2009. This forum is closed to the public and all other committee members except for the Ellicott District Committee Members. I received the letter confirming this on Saturday. And, I had a lot to think about this weekend.

I thought about the statements and intent of the Common Council to select a replacement for Brian Davis that signaled total independence from the “rubber stamp” of approvals from either the Committee or any other political entity. I thought about the most recent report that a faction of the Ellicott District Committee Members would be holding a candidates’ forum of their own this evening – one that many up for the selection process, including me, have not been invited to.

I mulled over the “weighted vote” that is to be cast by the overall committee. Then, I reminded myself that I have said it over and over again. I am not seeking an endorsement by any entity, person, business or organization over the endorsement of the people of the district. Yes, there have been business owners who have written letters of support for me, but they wrote as individuals.

As you are aware, the Common Council amended Chapter C, Article 3, §3-6 of the City Charter of Buffalo, New York on August 22, 2002. This was approved by the voters at the general election held November 5, 2002 and created into law on December 6, 2006.

That amendment states:

In the case of a vacancy in the office of district council member, otherwise than by expiration of the term, the remaining members of the council shall appoint a qualified resident of the same political party and district as the council member whose place is vacant to fill such vacancy until the first day of January following the next general election at which a district council member may, pursuant to law, be chosen for the balance of the term. The person so elected shall take office on the first day of January following such general election.

Prior to an appointment, the Common Council shall direct the City Clerk to advertise the vacancy for a minimum of five (5) days on the City's Web-site and Public Access Media outlets, and obtain from any qualified resident seeking consideration for appointment, a current resume, a letter requesting appointment to the vacancy.

No where in this legislation is stated that the Council will appoint by “rubber stamp,” although the past two results have ridden side-by-side with the recommendation of the Committee. And, although I am not saying they were wrong, I believe, wholeheartedly, that if we abide by the original purpose of this legislation, as authored by one who was eliminated in his bid for the seat due to the “rubber stamp” of local politics, we do wrong for the people of the district.

Therefore, this morning, I sent a Certified R/R/R letter to Mr. Zellner stating I would not be participating in the forum on Friday. I have attached the letter in this e-mail for your review/records.

I realize many of you must think I’m insane, but to affect change for the future, we must dispose of the politics of the past that have caused stagnation and decay to our city for decades. This is my way of attempting a small manner of change while keeping my word regarding endorsements.


Marilyn Rodgers

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