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City Hallways (Aug. 18) A bit of levity at contentious mayoral debate

Lighten up a bit

Did you catch the debate Thursday night with the three candidates running for Buffalo mayor on Primary Day Sept. 12?

If you didn't arrive early, you probably couldn't get a seat in the Burchfield Penney Art Center where the debate was being held.

The program started at 7 p.m., and for anyone who got there at 7:02 - like me - there already were signs posted at the front glass doors that the auditorium was at capacity. It was standing room only inside. The crowd even spilled out into the hallway.

Fortunately, media still was able to get in.

The three candidates – Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant and city Comptroller Mark Schroeder - each had a substantial amount of supporters in the audience, but most of them seemed to be for Brown.

It was a spirited, contentious debate, and it was pretty clear that these three won’t be hanging out anytime soon just shooting the breeze.

But there was a moment of levity that brought everyone together.

Nearing the end of the 90-minute debate, Grant wanted a direct response from Brown on a topic related to the demise of a local cultural center.

“I want to know what happened…’” she said, turning directly to Brown to address him.

It was his turn next to speak, and she apparently expected Brown to reply to her inquiry promptly.

Instead, Brown took the opportunity to address an earlier statement Schroeder had made.

When Brown was done speaking, Grant asked debate moderator Al Vaughters of WIVB-TV to direct Brown to address her concern.

Vaughters explained that some of the candidates' responses allowed in the debate were to address personal attacks only.

“Well, can I personalize my attack?” she quipped.

She was smiling, but maybe only half-joking.

Either way, it lightened the mood a bit, and everyone - including the candidates - got a laugh out of it.

For a serious take on the actual issues from the debate and how candidates responded, check out my colleague Harold McNeil's story.

Public Art Parkway

Delaware District Councilman Joel Feroleto says a second public art mural is going up across the street from the first one.

“MAGIC BUFFALO” already was unveiled this past June on the Joe’s Deli building at the corner of Hertel Avenue and Colvin Boulevard.

Now a new mural is going up on a building across the street at MVP Network Consulting at 1297 Hertel. The artwork will celebrate Buffalo’s rich history, Feroleto said.

And he tells me there’s something “a little different” about this one.

Hmmm… Interesting.

The new public art piece is expected to be completed today so I'll just have to go check it out.

So stay tuned for more on that and plans for a local artist to create a third mural on Hertel Avenue.


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