everyone else, I want someone with a passion to serve the
What policy platform and priorities should they
champion? In their first 100 days in office, what policies
and/or ordinances would they implement?
IW: I want to see a more progressive mayor. I want to
see rent stabilization, economic development for all people,
neighborhoods improved across the city, not just in select
areas. I want people to be able to be active participants in the
democratic process and feel comfortable approaching their
elected officials when something isn’t going right, and be able
to get an answer. Under the current administration, there’s a
lot of silence. When there’s a problem, there’s no comment,
no position one way or the other. That’s something that totally needs to change. There needs to be more accountability
and transparency, especially when it comes to criminal justice and policing. I want to see the next mayor really flex that
executive power when the time calls for it.
RG: Before anything else, the next mayor needs to end
the current disastrous system of racist and anti-poor polic-
ing. The mayor also needs to ensure that the people of Buffalo
are deriving real benefits from development projects, espe-
cially from projects that receive public subsidies. This means
organizing and resourcing community land trusts in all Buffa-
lo neighborhoods to give people real power over what devel-
opment happens near them, and passing a strong inclusionary
I would also like to see a serious plan for re-municipaliz-ing city services to provide essential public utilities like water,
gas, electric, and internet to the people without extracting
profits from them, and an environmental public works program putting people to work on projects to mitigate the toxic
legacies of industrial pollution and climate change.
TB: In the event that white supremacy still has a strong
seat on the board of education or oversees our holding center,
I would hope they would vow to rid this city of Carl Paladino
and Sheriff Tim Howard. If not, policies specifically demanding that suicides/deaths at the holding center be investigated
and that checkpoints be stopped would be a nice beginning.
PM: The next mayor should appoint a special commissioner to deal with blight, following the recommendations of
nationally recognized think tanks, instead of filling the coffers of demo contractors and pitting preservationists against
developers. Quality housing for all residents should be a priority for the next mayor. Too many people live in substandard housing, and children suffer ill health because of lead
and other environmental health hazards. Mayor Brown had
a 5 X 5 initiative, which called for the demolition of 5,000
houses in five years. He met his goal. I would like a new mayor to come up with a new 5X5 initiative: 5,000 lead-free houses in five years.
PB: Community prosperity, prioritizing water quality,
taking the reigns of the troubled public education system,
creating and expanding upon public spaces, improving the
technology for 311, and restructuring City Hall.
What do you hope the outcome of the election will be?
IW: My hope is that whoever wins realizes that there’s
a real shift occurring in Buffalo. Communities are becoming
empowered, the East Side is beginning to organize, and whoever our leader is will be held accountable for providing equity and prosperity for everyone.
RG: I hope that we have a truly competitive race, and,
that in doing so, we expand the horizon of what is politically possible and inspire people to demand the resources and
the political power to determine their own futures and to truly thrive.
TB: Hope in politics isn’t easy to possess these days. But,
I hope voters go in with full belief in the process, that they
don’t vote blindly, and really consider this city and its needs.
PM: I would like to see a city where the mayor and the
members of the common council are fairly elected and not
merely anointed by the political machine. I hope that the next
mayor does for the City of Buffalo what Mark Schroeder has
PB: I’m supporting Mark Schroeder for mayor. I ran an
underdog grassroots campaign in 2013 that nobody gave me a
chance of winning. Schroeder was one of the only people who
stepped up and supported me in that race, and now I am going
to be there for him. It isn’t just about loyalty, though. We have
an opportunity to elect someone who can act independently
from the other mechanisms of power in Buffalo. Think about
all of the historical blunders in Buffalo’s history, and they all
relate to a major powerbroker wanting something their way.
Mark is running as an independent Democrat and can operate
City Hall his way once he is elected. It is one of the benefits
of going against the grain and still winning.
Harper S. E. Bishop is a writer, photographer, community organizer,
and activist. He lives with his partner on Buffalo’s West Side and works
to create a more just and equitable economy and world both during their
9-5 and outside of it.
“PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO ACCESS
GOVERNMENT IN A WAY THAT IS MEANINGFUL
FOR THEM. EVERYONE SHOULD FEEL
REPRESENTED, AND THAT INCLUDES
UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE, SO EVEN IF
YOU’RE UNABLE TO VOTE, YOU STILL HAVE
A VOICE. WE HAVE A LEGACY IN BUFFALO
COMMUNITY THAT THEY DON’T ACTUALLY
KNOW WHAT IT IS THE COMMUNITY WANTS.”