Mayoral Candidate Sergio Rodriguez Responds to State of City Address

After attending Mayor Brown’s State of the City address, Republican candidate for Mayor, Sergio Rodriguez has issued his response below.
“The Mayor of Buffalo has failed to address the issues that matter most to residents living in the city. After hearing his address we are left wondering what his plans are to address the issues that are on the minds of most of the Buffalonians I have talked to.
I was listening for solutions to the major issues facing our city such as poverty, education, unemployment, crime, and the way these issues are driving population loss. But these issues went virtually untouched in the mayor’s speech. 
Let’s take poverty. Buffalo is the nation’s third poorest large city. Along with that, is unemployment. The current rate is the highest it’s been since the ’80′s. You can’t separate poverty and unemployment. Shouldn’t there be a program to address them? 
And education: the graduation rate in Buffalo Public Schools is hovering around 50%. Wouldn’t you expect that to be raised in any discussion of the “state of the city?
Then there’s crime. For the first time in Buffalo’s history we are ranked in top 10 ‘most dangerous city in the nation” by Forbes. There has been a 70% increase in shootings in the past year. So why didn’t the mayor address that? 
It seems that when it comes to the key issues that are holding our city and its citizens back, our mayor is complacent. 
But what is the mayor doing? Rather than offering creative solutions to our problems, Mayor Brown is creating additional problems. He is dipping into our reserves to cover up serious shortfalls. These fiscally irresponsible and unsustainable policies have been challenged by the City Comptroller. A key example of this is evident in the City having to return half a million dollars in HUD funds designated to help Buffalo’s neediest residents due to misappropriation and mismanagement of these crucial resources. The inability to address these issues is unacceptable. 
It’s no wonder that 71% of Buffalo Business First readers said ‘NO’ to the current administration and do not think Byron Brown deserves another four-year term as Mayor of Buffalo.
Fighting crime, unemployment, reforming our schools, making City Hall work, and creating a culture for business and innovation will be my top priorities.  This is our challenge and all my efforts and policies are going to be dedicated to this.” 

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28 comments
Spock
Spock

Let's hope Mr. Rodriguez does well enough to make the general election a real contest. That ought to maximize turnout in Dem heavy Buffalo which is bad news for bad GOP candidates running countywide.

whatever
whatever

js - your counterexample of Jacobs looks a bit different in the timing of that. His page on wiki says Jacobs first won for nonpartisan school board in '04 before in later years starting to run for stuff as an R, not the other way around.

But who knows, maybe Jacobs could have won for Board of Ed regardless.

I did say SR 'probably hurt his chances' for that, not definitely has no chance. It's just a big negative politically in the city, so if someone really wants to win and can avoid ever having the label...

As to what opponents should/shouldn't do in Board of Ed campaigns - well that's up to them, but I was referring to what they're likely to do.

In the Brown-Hefler race which Brown won in a landslide there was a lot of 'guilt'-by-association campaign attacks toward Helfer. If it succeeded for that with any voters, I don't know why it wouldn't even when ballots don't have party labels.

I'd predict any opponent of SR will have mailings with his pic next to Romney, Ryan, and so on - just how it goes, but maybe he can overcome it.

whatever
whatever

js - yes true about Grisanti what you wrote this time, but looks different than previously saying he was corrupted by & controlled by Rs.

He's chosen strategically every step - sounding less R during both election seasons and more R between elections when he wanted to curry favor with R senate leaders prior to drawing of redistricting lines - self interest.

Then during following general election he went back to sounding less R, and might move even further that way if or when it's convenient.

He's controlling himself - the Rs aren't controlling him. So far it's been very successful for him with 2 wins.

And if anything is corrupt about him, nobody else is doing that to him either.

As for Paladino, similar in a way although a longer time gap (5 years) between party switch and any election run, compared to Grisanti and Giambra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Paladino#Political_history

I don't know how likely it was that he'd have already been considering a political run back in '05, but who knows - it's possible he was quietly considering that when making the switch.

jesster
jesster

There is no party partisianship when it is all about hooking up friends and family or leveraging for a higher political office. I would just like to here more from any alternative to the typical. People forget Maseillo's republicanism or that Helfer was a councilman as a Republlican. It s all about hooking people up and getting hooked up in B-lo politics.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

I'm sorry, but how does that post earn down votes?

JSmith
JSmith

I think school board elections are non-partisan? Opponents should not be bringing his party affiliation into it. Wasn't Chris Jacobs a Republican when he was on the school board?

JSmith
JSmith

Grisanti campaigned as an independent who was simply running as a Republican because he needed a line to run on. He dodged any questions about whether he would actually caucus with the Republicans or not. "People, not politics", and all that. As soon as he was elected, however, he fell right in line with taking his marching orders from the Republican leadership.

I don't think Grisanti was a victim. He is responsible for his own choice to give up his independence (if he ever actually intended to preserve it, of course).

You should add Carl Paladino to that list of lifelong Democrats turned Republican just before a campaign, too!

whatever
whatever

js - c'mon, you make it sound like Grisanti was a victim...

"corrupted and controlled by the Republican machine, the way Grisanti has"

Lifelong-D-turned-R-just-before-a-campaign Grisanti has benefited _greatly_ from his marriage of convenience with the R party. He was never able to win any election while a D as he'd tried to.

The Rs benefited too, of course, for his first two years while he helped them hold the state senate majority. Now at this point with that majority gone probably for a long time to come, I don't see much benefit to the Rs from having Grisanti except perhaps for some patronage hires he gives them.

Who knows either way if Grisanti's true beliefs are more R or D, or if he's been 'corrupted'/'controlled' in any way by anyone?

Just like with his mentor Joel Giambra, also a lifelong-D-turned-R-just-before-a-campaign, there doesn't seem any obvious answer to that.

whatever
whatever

I agree with grad's suggestion of runs for other offices, although he did already run and lose badly for Common Council in 2007. A difficulty with that office is unfortunately the terms are long at 4 years, so there isn't another election for Council until Fall of 2015. If he wants to run then, I'd suggest for sure he change registration to D well before then.

And he's probably hurt his chances even for a school board by ever running for anything as an R. That will stain him in attacks from opponent campaigns.

But it would be good to see him give that a try next time there's a Board of Ed election. Actually, that's this Spring, isn't it? If so and he's running for mayor this year, a BoE run would have to wait until the following race whenever that is.

As for his mayoral campaign statement above... meh, very weak.

I won't take seriously any candidate for city office not running on the D line anyway (since zero chance of win without that), but it could be nice if this guy gives a good substantive effort even while going through the motions.

However, based on his statement I agree with criticisms in most previous comments - low substance, lame talking points (poverty "program" - huh?), and at least one bad suggestion for change (mayoral involvement in school system).

Not that Byron's good either, but at this early stage this guy doesn't seem any better than Kearns was 4 years ago which was... I'll be polite and just say not good at all.

On the plus side - at least Mr. Rodriguez didn't offer any awful silver bullet ideas like removing the 190 highway as a past candidate for mayor advocated, or building a roof over the 33 like a former state senator wanted. He also didn't propose any crazy illegal acts like cutting off utilities to any businesses like one of our Council members has suggested.

So, could be worse. Sometimes is. Maybe his message will improve with time.

Dan
Dan

The ghost of Jimmy Griffin!

Consider that so many BR readers have only lived through two or three mayoral administrations. (Griffin from 1978 to 1993, Masiello from 1994 to 2005, Brown from 2006-present). From a 1978 baseline, mayors of Buffalo change as often as Dear Leaders in North Korea.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

We need a mayor willing to stand up for our city and our citizens. That would entail taking on the racism, parochialism, and classism that both defines and limits our region. The city is the center and heart of the region and should be supported and respected not neglected and demeaned as is now the case. Our mayor should be an aggressive and unapologetic advocate for Buffalo, willing to step on toes and cajole our neighbors into doing the right thing. Our suburban neighbors for the most part ignore our problems or lay blame in the wrong places. The problems of the city are actually regional problems that have now begun to creep outward past the artificial boundary of Buffalo. I hope more will recognize that the health of the city and of the region are directly linked.

grad94
grad94

i admire mr. rodriguez for joining the race. running for office here is dirtier and more vicious than it ought to be, so he gets props for taking the prospect seriously.

i am not sure any mayor can end poverty; that is an issue caused by too many factors beyond the control of a municipal government. kind of like demanding tonawanda's plan for world hunger. mayoral candidates need to be able to talk -knowledgeably- about what local government can and cannot do in the case of poverty.

that is why i prefer to choose from candidates who have experience in public administration. there is a reason that public administration is a separate graduate program from the mba.

if you are not elected mayor, mr. rodriguez, please consider a run for common council, school board, county legislature, etc.

JSmith
JSmith

Great sentiments from townline. And I would add, don't allow yourself to get corrupted and controlled by the Republican machine, the way Grisanti has, for example.

I will keep an open mind about Sergio, but he will have to really impress me for me to convince myself to vote for a Republican, in fear of opening the door to city government to a political party that for some reason seems to feel that government is inherently a bad thing and should be crippled.

JSmith
JSmith

Obnoxious nitpick: this should be "quis", not "qui". (I knew taking Latin in high school would be important some day!) :-)

BuffaloRepat
BuffaloRepat

This is in response to those who are saying all politicians are alike. Sergio is 32. His closet is clean. He is not a politician. He truly seeks to serve and lead the city, not simply gain power and privilege from the position. He is still working out programs and policies. That will come. Please keep an open mind.

Up and coming
Up and coming

Agreed, there wasn't one plan in his whole write up. Just a bunch of talking points, which were very poorly written up. And that's coming from me and my Ph.d in grammer.

Matthew.Ricchiazzi
Matthew.Ricchiazzi

I agree. We've all already dwelled on our problems for a long time, and we're well aware of them.

Sergio - you're running for Mayor. Tell us why...

Where are the solutions? Where is the plan? We know what's wrong, and we know that Byron is insuffcient.

Where do you plan on taking us, and how do we get there?

I would offer this platform in the link below as a start. It's a conservative urban agenda, with new urbanism at its core.

http://www.changebuffalo.org/agenda

townline
townline

Dear Sergio:

I couldn't care less about what Byron Brown says, because its usually a whole lot of nothing. He is a candidate that wins by staying silent on every possible issue that might cause an outcry.

Don't bother responding to him, its not worth it. Most everybody already knows he's an idiot, so pointing that out is not news. I'm looking for a candidate who actually has forward thinking vision for this city and can directly articulate solutions to the many problems facing Buffalo, especially including those you bring up.

Byron is the figurehead of a powerful political machine. You're not going to beat him on his turf. You need to differentiate yourself and stand out. It shouldn't be too hard. You're young, you seem to be energetic, enthusiastic and I think being Hispanic makes you very relatable to a population that Byron only pretends to relate to. And I'm hoping that you also have some wide-reaching vision. Use those qualities. Don't focus on problems, we know those exist. Focus on solutions to problems.

No_Illusions
No_Illusions

Eh, it kind of sounds like Byron's first speech...so nothing is guaranteed. Republican, Democrat, a politician is a politician.

Lego1981
Lego1981

Did'nt Brown address these issues when running for Mayor? ........and don't all runner ups talk about the same thing, promise us the same thing, then when elected into office, taking back everything they ever said.

JonathanSkowron
JonathanSkowron

"Fighting crime, unemployment, reforming our schools, making City Hall work, and creating a culture for business and innovation will be my top priorities. This is our challenge and all my efforts and policies are going to be dedicated to this."

I didn't hear the mayor's speech, and this is the first I have heard from Rodriguez, but these sound like the kind of ideas that would build a foundation for success, rather than continuously putting lipstick on this corpse of a pig.

16thStreet
16thStreet

I was thinking the same thing, he doesn't even have a "9 9 9" plan.

millertime486
millertime486

His response points out what the mayor didn't say and yet provides no input on how he would manage theses issues. It's very easy to point out what's wrong....it's actually fixing it thats the hard part.

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