No meetings I'm aware of today. (It's Friday)
Heard in the halls
No one's saying it publicly, but there's been quiet rumbling in City Hall that the Erie Basin Marina special events parking fee was Buffalo's Galleria Mall Bus No. 6 moment.
It's not just the $5 fee that was being charged, but the fact that it was a credit card- only policy.
That eliminates many poor people -- often minorities-- as well as young people who don't have, or don't qualify for, credit cards.
Sort of the way the Galleria Mall was once perceived as using a bus policy to keep poor people, particularly minorities, from the mall by banning some buses from mall grounds. (Remember, that was why the No. 6 bus Cynthia Wiggins took to her job at the Walden Galleria Food Court let her off on Walden Avenue, across from the mall. She was killed in 1996 attempting to cross the six-lane highway).
The city says it required the marina operator to use credit card transactions to ensure more fiscal accountability. There was no attempt to discriminate. But if this type of situation occurs in the future, one city official suggested, the city should use machines that accept cash or credit cards.
Still trying to park in Fruit Belt
Nothing new from Albany on the Fruit Belt residential parking permit plan, but lots happening from Buffalo's end.
The Senate Republican leader's office got deluged with calls Thursday -- about 500, I'm told-- from Buffalo folks asking that the parking permit bill be released for a Senate vote..
And in response to the CSEA previously sending a memo urging the Legislature not to pass the permit plan, the Open Buffalo Coalition Thursday sent a memo urging the Legislature to pass it.
"For years, parking has been a major challenge for residents of the Fruit Belt due to the overwhelming number of Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus employees parking on their streets, resulting in traffic hazards, congestion, and air and noise pollution," the Coalition of residents and 11 partner organizations wrote.
The Partnership memo also referred to the CSEA position that its union members need to park on Fruit Belt streets because there's not adequate, free parking on the medical campus.
"The shortage of available parking spaces on the medical campus should be addressed through employer incentive programs for alternative transportation, including employer-paid public transportation vouchers, and not by sacrificing residents' ability to park safely in front of their homes," the Partnership memo said.
For those who don't know, the Buffalo News has a second-floor office in City Hall. From here, I can look out the window and see the comings and going on Niagara Square. Late Thursday morning, I noticed all kinds of commotion, most of it involving a photographer and a woman in a black ceremonial-looking dress carrying sunflowers. There was also a man in a grey suit. Then, the woman raised her hands, and motioned for others to come over. Suddenly, it looked like a wedding or something. But the woman was wearing black..It was, in fact, a wedding. Jungmin Kim, a Cornell Ph.D student from Buffalo, just married Arthur Lovell from England in a Buffalo City Hall ceremony. Kim's mother, Yoonmi Kim, traveled to South Korea to buy her daughter a Hanbok, or Korean wedding dress. "It's modernized Korean," the bride said of her dress. Such dresses, Jungmin Kim said, aren't usually black. They are often bright colors. But Jungmin Kim said she has a basically "monochromatic wardrobe" and prefers darker to lighter, so chose black. And the groom? He was wearing a traditional American -- or in this case, English -- wedding suit, albeit a black shirt to match his bride's dress. For those wondering how this love story began, Jungmin Kim traveled to England on vacation about 10 years ago. She met Lovell in a club. They've dated long-distance ever since. They'll be moving to England in the fall.
In today's Buffalo News and buffalonews.com I have story on the $5 special event parking fee at the Erie Basin Marina being dropped.
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