Ups to PUSH Buffalo's John Washington for his advocacy for fair and decent public housing.
Ups to PUSH Buffalo's John Washington for his advocacy for fair and decent public housing.

Ups and Downs, Week of January 15

by / Jan. 16, 2018 5pm EST


  • The Partnership for Public Good unveiled their 10 major policy focus areas for 2018 last week at a very well attended forum in Buffalo’s Frank Merriweather Library. Tops on the list were criminal justice reforms including ending solitary confinement in Erie County, increased training for both Buffalo Police and the Erie County Sheriff’s office, making marijuana the lowest police priority. NFTA reform made a return visit to PPG’s list, seeking three voting members for the board from folks who actually ride the bus, and a relocation of the state’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities to a site that is actually accessible to people with disabilities. We encourage all to visit PPG’s website for more information and to get involved.
  • John Washington. The indefatigable PUSH Buffalo organizer made an impassioned plea for housing reform to the above body, asking for the community to organize to save public housing. Washington choked back emotion describing how spent much of the last two weeks with the last tenant at the Shoreline apartments, John Schmidt, who was finally forced to leave his apartment when it was flooded last week, a deliberate action by the company that owns the property, Norstar, in Washington’s estimation.

Downs to Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, who answered “I don’t know” 68 times in a deposition regarding an inmate’s death in custody.


  • In a deposition last August concerning the Richard Metcalf travesty, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard either couldn’t or refused to answer basic questions about the training of his deputies and officers, saying “I don’t know” 68 times, according to the Buffalo News. It’s frankly terrifying that the man in charge of hundreds of people, many of whom are only accused of wrongdoing and not yet convicted, could flaunt such wanton disregard for what should be his basic responsibilities. For shame.
  • Sam Herbert and the group calling for the removal of the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park: It’s a little depressing to see the advances of social and aesthetic progressivism of a generation or more prior be eradicated by a narrow-minded, contemporary conservatism. What Herbert wants is a representational statue of MLK, and he’s blaming an artwork for what it isn’t, asking for it to be destroyed. The artist who created the bust, John Woodrow Wilson, is a seminal figure in modern African-American art history. God bless anyone who organizes for positive change in their community, but let’s pick battles that really matter.