BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The push to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo Board of Education is moving forward.
The board voted to hire a lawyer and begin the process of submitting a petition to the state education department by January 20.
Paladino came under fire last month for disparaging comments he made about President Obama and the First Lady.
Thursday, the Buffalo Common Council’s education committee provided a forum for speakers to weigh-in on the controversy.
Paladino responded by saying the “effort to remove” him is going “absolutely nowhere” because of his First Amendment rights — and that hiring outside counsel is a waste of school district money.
“His remarks are filled with racism, bigotry, hurt and other adjectives that you want to use. We as a city of Buffalo are better than that,” said Lois Young with the University District Block Club Coalition.
Young was among numerous people who showed up at City Hall to voice concerns.
“Carl Paladino, if he did not have money, would he still be able to make the same comments that he’s making right now? I think not,” said Rev. Mark Blue, president of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP.
Paladino has previously said the comments were not meant for publication, and that he won’t resign despite the firestorm.
But many of those who attended Thursday’s education committee meeting called on Paladino to step down.
“We need him to remove himself so that the board of education can focus on the education of our children. That’s the ultimate thing. There’s nothing else important but the education of the children,” said University District Common Council member Rasheed Wyatt.
Many of the speakers argued that Paladino — as a school board member — should be held to a higher standard.
“I don’t care what nationality, what ethnicity, what color Mr. Paladino is — he just needs to step down immediately,” said Ulysees Wingo, Sr., Masten District Common Council member and education committee chairman.
Paladino calls efforts to oust him “all a front deception.”
“Their real intent was to stop me from revealing how they were complicit in rigging the teachers contract among other bad acts. They are horrified at my ability to expose the underbelly of the beast where they serve their own interests and couldn’t care less about the children,” Paladino stated.