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'Pro-Carl' rally shows support for controversial Paladino

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Supporters of developer and school board member Carl Paladino turned out Wednesday for a support rally on the steps of City Hall.

Organizers say Paladino did not set up the event and did not know about the plan for a while. The crowd was there to back the school board majority's change agenda and plans to make the schools work better than data shows they are.

Activist Dwayne Kelly was there to praise Paladino for his support of the plan to rehab and reopen the Broadway Theater.
"He has given us his full support and put the support of his company behind us," Kelly said.

"Wonderful things are starting to happen with that theater on the East Side and it looks like it's going to be quite a spur for economic development in that area. And, I got to say, the person we owe it all to is Carl Paladino."

Other speakers praised Paladino for showcasing the problems in city schools saying he was trying to fix a bad system. Paladino told the crowd the school system was in desperate need of change, with too many people in jobs they can't handle.

Former police officer Michael Bowen was across the street heckling the rally goers.

"Carl is a RINO, which is Republican in Name Only. He is a fraud. He purports these conservative views. But, in the end, he donates to all these liberal causes. He donated to Steve Pigeon and the Western New York Caucus. He donated to Andrew Cuomo. So, he is not conservative. He is not Republican. He's in bed with all of them," Bowen said.

Paladino promised supporters major changes are on the way when a local educator becomes the new schools superintendent without having to spend a year learning Buffalo.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.