Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.
Michael J. LoCurto
Job title: Buffalo Common Council member, Delaware district
Family: Like most Italians, too many aunts, uncles and cousins to list in one blog post.
Education: B.A. in media study, University at Buffalo; master's of urban planning, UB.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Previous work experience: Special assistant to former State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt; adjunct professor, UB Planning Department.
City salary: $52,000 + $1,000 stipend for chairing Finance Committee
What's your favorite restaurant?
For a casual meal -- breakfast, lunch or dinner -- it’s hard to top Kosta’s, a Hertel institution. For something a little more upscale, I like Sinatra’s on Kenmore. And for a real special occasion, downtown’s Tempo is the place to go.
What music have you been listening to lately?
Mostly “Wrecking Ball,” the new Bruce Springsteen album. I’m a big fan and have seen him about 20 times in concert. Like the man sings, “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”
What's one thing people don't know about you?
I am a huge movie buff -- the Oscars are like my Superbowl. I have saved just about every movie stub of movies I have seen at the theater since the early 90s. It’s not uncommon for me to quote whole scenes of dialogue from films (Midnight Run is particularly quotable).
For me, there is something inherently nostalgic about the movies -- and I’m a sucker for nostalgia. The first movie I remember seeing is Star Wars at the old Boulevard Mall cinema. I was fortunate to grow up off of Hertel Avenue and near the North Park Theater, and I have a lot of childhood memories associated with it. I can remember as a kid going to see a Rocky/ Rocky II double feature there -- it was like heaven. For my 13th birthday a bunch of us went to see The Muppets Take Manhattan at the North Park. That love of the movies has stayed with me throughout my life -- they can be magical. Even in today’s age of sequels and remakes, there are still some great, small movies being made that envelop the viewer and tell terrific stories. And some of the blockbusters are phenomenal, too. You never know when you are going to see something that will blow you away.
There’s a great quote by Steve Martin’s character in Grand Canyon: “That’s your problem -- you haven’t seen enough movies. All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m going to keep going to them until I find out.
Who's your political hero?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Here is a president who, with the New Deal, provided relief for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, Social Security for the elderly, and created millions of jobs for the unemployed. He signed laws that abolished child labor, created the Securities and Exchange Commission, established the minimum wage, and guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining and to organize. Oh yeah, and in the meantime, he also managed to help the Allies win World War II. I have one of his famous quotes up on the wall in my office: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
What's the worst part of your job?
Fundraising. Thankfully, we have four year terms on the Council and do not have to focus too much on it, but it is difficult to ask supporters for money.