Fight on new Buffalo Common Council district lines heats up, with vote slated for Tuesday
Buffalo may soon be joining the long list of governments on all levels whose reapportionment plans after the 2020 Census wind up in front of a judge.
It's slated to vote on the amended map Tuesday, but opponents say their map is better and should be approved instead.
The activist opponents held a news conference Sunday at Richmond Avenue and 17th Street, where the Niagara, Ellicott and Fillmore Districts meet.
Courtney Friedline, an Ellicott District resident, said her vote will be shifted, even if her residence isn’t.
"I reside in a little swath of Ellicott between North and Summer that was created 10 years ago, the last time they gerrymandered these districts, and only existed to conveniently connect a small section of the Waterfront to the Ellicott District in order to accommodate that district's representative at the time," Friedline said.
Council President Darius Pridgen has since moved and that corridor will be gone in the new map.
Luz Velez said the map drawing is a power play by the councilmembers, and she and her community won’t stand for it.
“We are here to fight. I don't want to say by any means necessary, but it's getting there. It is there," she said. "And we need to make these people understand that you may be wonderful human beings in your perspective of what it means to be human. But what they're doing to me and our community here is dehumanizing and we can't have it anymore.”
With many incumbents likely to face challenges in the new districts next year, the protest on Richmond rang with power calls.
“Our city. Whose city? Our city. Whose City. Our city.”
Led by Our City Action Buffalo, the group of protestors made their point of view very clear.
Rahwah Ghirmatzion said members of the Council should want to hear public views.
“We are supposed to hold them accountable. That's right. They work for us. They should be opening their doors and saying: Thank you, for actually informing them what the people of this community want," Ghirmatzion said. "And for them to behave this way, we should be suspicious.”
The Council session is likely to be crowded and, perhaps, noisy.