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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v11n1 (01/04/2012) » Section: Week in Review

Five to Four

A new majority asserted itself on Buffalo’s Common Council Tuesday afternoon, electing Lovejoy’s Rich Fontana as the Council’s new president, Masten’s Demone Smith as majority leader, and University’s Bonnie Russell as president pro tempore.

Clear Skies, Clean House

A brilliantly clear sky, bright sun, and mild temperatures greeted downtown Buffalo on the morning of January 1, 2012, where hundreds of people made their way into the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center for the new Erie County executive’s swearing-in ceremony. With the hangover from four years of divisive and myopic rule by the outgoing chief executive, Chris Collins, still lingering in the air, the New Year’s crowd present in the basement of the center was eager for the aspirin that Mark Poloncarz would provide. Indeed, in the invocation provided by Father Joseph Bayne, chaplain for the Buffalo Fire Department, the plea to “make all things new” extended even beyond the 16th floor of the Rath Building, and to the community as whole. The clear skies out on the street couldn’t erase the specter of recent holiday violence in the adjacent Chippewa district.

How Good Are Those New Voting Machines?

All across Western New York this past week, public office-holders took their oaths and assumed their duties.

Odds and Ends

Last Friday, Citizens for a Better Buffalo, the coalition challenging the legality of the Seneca Buffalo Casino, filed papers in federal Judge William Skretny’s court requesting that the US Department of the Interior be compelled to hand over emails and other documents that would shed light on the role played by Edith Blackwell in justifying the department’s approval of the casino. Blackwell, a former deputy solicitor general for the Interior Department, is married to Michael Rossetti, an attorney with the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which represented the Senecas. Citizens for a Better Buffalo content that Blackwell played a major role in greasing the skids for approval of the Seneca Buffalo casino, and that he relationship with Rossetti “tainted the approval process.”

Scorecard: The Week's Winners and Losers

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