Candidates for Buffalo mayor make final push to sway voters

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- The three Democratic candidates for Buffalo mayor are gearing up for the primary on Tuesday.

Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder spent Monday knocking on doors, handing out fliers and shaking hands.

“It’s like groundhog day for me,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 120 days in a row.”

We caught up with Schroeder in Allentown where he was spreading the message that he hopes to be a street mayor.

“In our neighborhoods, there is disrepair,” said Schroeder.

He told News 4 that despite the prospect of economic growth through developments like Solar City and the medical corridor, some areas are being forgotten.

“What about the people in neighborhoods like the East Side?” he said. “How are they going to be able to compete for these jobs if we don’t have training opportunities for them?”

Schroeder tells voters he will create “one stop shops” in all neighborhoods of the city, where there will be mentors to help people start small businesses, obtain a GED and get job training.

He also pledges to double the number of community police officers, criticizing the city’s homicide clearance rate.

There are nearly 30 unsolved homicides from 2017 alone.

“It’s awful, it’s immoral,” said Schroeder.

Opponent Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant has a different solution for improving policing.

“I say it’s time for a new police commissioner,” she said.

Grant said, if she is elected, she will do a nationwide search for the next commissioner.

Her economic development platform also focuses on job training and encouraging entrepreneurs. She said the East Side has been forgotten as development continues downtown and at Canalside.

“You can’t brag we are a success,” said Grant. “We have to come back to reality and look at those who live in certain areas that haven’t been affected.”

She pledges to boost the economy by promoting pop up shops in the vacant buildings along Jefferson and Broadway.

Grant also told us she would increase education spending by $2 million, some of which would also go towards creating job-training programs at community centers and churches.

“We don’t have a diverse workforce,” said Grant. We have people sitting on the outside looking in, particularly minorities, Latinos and African American youth.”

She would be the first woman to become mayor of Buffalo.

Incumbent Mayor Byron Brown has the endorsement of top state leaders and is ahead in the polls. He is seeking a fourth term in office.

“I’ve learned that collaboration is critically important,” he said. “You have to work with people at different levels of government , you have to work with the business community, the faith-based community, the labor community.”

He spent Monday trying to earn voters trust along Hertel and Bailey Avenues.

“I’ve been out crisscrossing the city,” he said.

Mayor Brown touted accomplishments like the development at Canalside and securing an AMC movie theater downtown.

He also pointed out the city is currently investing nearly $200 million on projects on Jefferson Ave., the Central Park area and the Northland Corridor.

“All projects that are going to not only transform the East Side of Buffalo but will continue the transformation of all of Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown.

Responding to criticism over city policing, he pointed out that his administration brought back the community policing program and that all officers are now trained as community police officers. Mayor Brown said he also reinstated the cold case unit.

If elected, he will be only the second Buffalo mayor in history to serve four terms.

Schroeder is also on the ballot for the Reform party, with one opponent.

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