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Open Buffalo Common Council to all large city meetings?

Jonny Moran / WBFO News

Buffalo Common Council members are considering making their seldom-used chambers in City Hall available for other city agencies.

The room is a landmark and will be more so when planned renovations to make it handicapped accessible are completed.

The Council uses the room for its sessions and for most committee meetings, leaving it unused much of the time. However, it has been the location for some recent raucous and packed meetings.

A series of school board meetings were disrupted by protestors against then-Board Member Carl Paladino and opponents of Elmwood Village development recently filled the room. Both meetings would have been held in small rooms elsewhere in City Hall.

North District Council Member Joe Golombek said some agencies want to use the room regularly and he would support that.
"I've had groups that have approached me to say that rather than having the board meetings, whether it's planning or zoning, meeting in room 1201 or whatever the room is...901...that they thought that after having met here for a couple of bigger meetings, it would be more conducive to meet here on a regular basis," he said.

Council President Darius Pridgen sent the proposal to the Legislation Committee because there have been some problems with past use by other agencies.

"We've had meetings here," he said. "No one is being responsible for cleaning back up the room. We have to utilize staff. And then there has been equipment damage. The reason that we had to replace the cameras. The reason being we rented it out, not rented it out, loaned it out to an agency that insisted on unplugging the cameras and then when they plugged them in, they broke the pins."

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.
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