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Most Speakers at Hearing Reject Council Downsizing

By Mark Wozniak

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Common Council Monday night heard from city residents concerned about a proposal to reduce the size of the Council from 13 to nine seats.

About four out of every five speakers at a public hearing spoke out in opposition to the plan. Some 60 people spoke at the five hour long meeting. Some charge that the plan has racist overtones, since three of the four seats that would be eliminated are held by African-Americans.

Former Council president George Arthur chaired the Citizens Advisory Commission on Reapportionment. He says the Council should have given its proposal to eliminate two seats, rather than four, more consideration....

"We're very sorry that more study was not given to the plan that we, the citizens, submitted to the Council and Mayor," Arthur said. "We feel that was a good plan. It was in the best interest of the city of Buffalo and for the long-term good of the city."

The Council is expected to vote on the four-seat reduction plan Tuesday. The mayor has already indicated his support of the plan, which would then go before voters in November.