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City Hallways (March 2) Struggling to understand

The Tapestry vote

Masten Councilman Ulysees Wingo's been visibly upset  for  days  over what's occurring at Tapestry Charter School.

Prior to the Tapestry Board of Trustees rejecting  a  plan that would have moved its grammar school students to a shuttered Buffalo school on Olympic Avenue on the city's East Side,  Wingo toured the current Tapestry school building on Great Arrow Avenue in  North Buffalo.

The school is  so crowded, Wingo said,  that teachers work out of closets, student conferences are held under stairwells, and  student small group meetings  are held in the  hall.

The track team, Wingo said, uses the hallways as a running course because their  gym  is  too  small. Music classes are  held in  mobile  trailers.

So ever since  the Tapestry  Board of Trustees voted against its administration's plan  to purchase and  move  some  of its students into the  Olympic Avenue  building, Wingo's  been struggling  to understand  the vote.

The board of Trustees the night of the vote said the process of selecting an expansion school should have brought more parents into the conversation.

But the decision, Wingo said, was apparently based on feedback from a  small  percentage of white parents at a school where an overwhelming percentage of  students are children of  color.  The current Tapestry School building is located in a predominately white neighborhood. The Olympic Avenue School is in a predominately black neighborhood.

"How were you able to vote 'no ' on this expansion when the feedback that fueled your decision was comprised of only a small percentage of parents whose race represents a minority of your programs' families," the councilman asked in a letter being sent to Tapestry Board members.

Wingo,  who chairs the Council's  Education Committee, is  calling on all  Tapestry board members to explain their vote to the Council, either via-email  or at  the Council's  next Education Committee meeting. He also called for a change in the Tapestry board leadership, and a re-vote on the issue.

Wingo's committee has established a relationship with the Buffalo Board of Education, but this would be the first time his committee has reached out to any charter schools.

"This would have been a great opportunity to educate more children, as they have a waiting list," Wingo said of Tapestry Charter School.


Sheriff Fontana?

South District Councilman Chris Scanlon and Lovejoy Councilman Rich Fontana Tuesday  introduced a resolution to toughen fines and establish citywide conditions for all  food store licenses in Buffalo. It's the legislative approach the Council is taking to address problems in some of these stores. But Fontana's taking it a bit further in his district.

"I've been asking  kids what  is going  on  in these stories," Fontana told his colleagues. "I asked a 19-year-old."

The teenager , Fontana said, told him of one store clerk who tried to sell him Oxycontin pills. Another tired to sell him marijuana. The teen wasn't interested in either case.

"This is what is going on in these stores," Fontanan said.

The councilman said he went to one of the stores recently at 9 p.m. The city license the store received, Fontana said, required the store to close at 9 p.m.

"I stood in the store at 9 p.m.  They were open," he said.

Fontana said he hung around awhile and listened as the clerk  spoke with customers, looked at Fontana, then told customers to come back later.

One customer, Fontana said, purchased an item that the clerk placed in a bag.

"I said 'Open  the bag,'" Fonanta recalled.'There was a pack of Seneca cigarettes."

"It's illegal," Fontana said of the store store selling Seneca Nation cigarettes.

There are some corner stores in his district that are great, Fontana, but a few, he said,  are operating 'like it's the wild, wild West."

A Poll. Please Vote

 City Hallways poll: Tell us what you think. Which of these nine issues do you consider the most important facing the city  of Buffalo? Next most important, and next after  that?
As always, I'll leave the poll up all week, then report back on the results next Monday, and try to have an analysis of results later in the week.
City Hallways readers know the routine. Only one ballot per person please.

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Some Demographic Questions for  analysis purposes. Thank you!

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In today's  Buffalo News  and,  I have story on  the Buffalo PBA saying its  patrol officers need  more firepower.

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