Knock, Knock. Who's there? Your councilman.
As the newest Common Council member, Masten's Ulysees Wingo banged the gavel for the first time Thursday, as the Council Education Committee he chairs held its first meeting of the year. Among those attending was Will Keresztes, associate superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools, who addressed the district's abysmal attendance rate.
During the meeting, Keresztes accepted an offer from Lovejoy Councilman Rich Fontana for lawmakers to help with district efforts to increase attendance by knocking on doors of chronically truant students, and asking parents why their children aren't in school. Keresztes indicated the district may also be interested in working with the Council to develop a program encouraging parents to play a larger role in getting their kids to school.
Several council members spoke of how their own parents pushed them to go to school as children. Wingo, for example, said he had perfect attendance in middle and high schools - thanks in part to his mom, who, Wingo said, took him to school even if he said he wasn't feeling well. If he really was sick, she'd be back at school later in the day to sign him out and bring him home, he said. It was a life lesson, Wingo said. As an adult, if he wakes up not feeling great, he still goes to work in the morning.
From state to state to state
The State of the Union was Tuesday, the State of the State was Wednesday, and up next - on Feb. 5 - the State of the City. Mayor Brown mentioned the upcoming event while meeting in his office Thursday with a group of foreign journalists. At one point, Brown told the group of the city's efforts to have a police force that reflects Buffalo's diverse population. Police applicants participating in a police academy scholarship program aimed at further diversifying the force will be invited to the upcoming State of the City address, he said.
(Here's a link to story I have in today's Buffalo News and buffalonews.com on Brown's responses to questions the foreign reporters asked about Buffalo's attitudes toward immigrants.).
Last day to vote on this week's poll, which deals with the Common Council's interest in getting more involved in city school issues. Please vote if you haven't already, but only one vote per person.
Latest campaign finance reports due at the end of the day.
Trocaire College to sign Mayor Brown's Opportunity Pledge supporting diversity.
Housekeeping: City Hall closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day. City Hallways will be off Monday as well.