It’s Finally Over

There were many headings I considered using in writing this article.  One was, “This Election Was Coyote Ugly!” which is a southern saying for someone really ugly and also the title of a movie several years back. Another title considered was “The Day Democracy Died.” That title was quickly dismissed because I truly believe that although democracy suffered in this election, it did not take a fatal hit.

The 2021 Mayoral election will go down as being the ugliest and most divisive election since the Arthur O. Eve/ Jimmy Griffin mayoral election campaign of 1977! Just like the 1977 campaign, all of the similarities were there: fearmongering, scapegoating, racism, cheating, intimidation, bullying, demonizing and suburban voters changing their addresses to houses owned by grandparents and other relatives in the city of Buffalo The only thing not found or documented in this past election, is the number of dead persons that voted. But I am sure, like it was in 1977, some will be found.  

Another similarity is that all of these undemocratic tactics came into play after an African American won the Democratic Primary! The powerful Good Ole Boys Network, that still runs Buffalo, unleashed such a terrifying campaign against Arthur O Eve, one would have thought Eve was the Devil himself! They put out that Eve supported the prisoners who were the murderers  in  the Attica Prison uprising ( a lie, in that   almost all of the prison guards were shot by law enforcement overtaking the prison). The Griffin supporters were also told that Eve was in favor of releasing violent rapists and murders into our communities to attack, rape and rob their little old grandmothers as they slept  (sort of like the Byron Brown’s ” Be fearful” and ” India Walton will Fire 100 Police Officers political ads of 2021). Those dirty, fearmongering, character assassination campaign ads worked in 1977 and they worked last week. After winning the primary, Art Eve lost the General Election in a landslide. India Walton won the June 22nd Primary by 1100 votes. She will probably lose the General Election (as of the date of this article, all the ballots have not been counted) as over 36,000. Write In ballots have not yet been counted or assigned. There were at least three other Write In candidates who will probably share in getting some of those votes.

It looks like India Walton won the large block of Black voters on Buffalo’s east and west sides.  She carried the Ellicott, Masten and Niagara Districts and came very close in the University District. She also won among young and Latinos voters. Brown’s massive votes advantages came in the South District where he carried the vote 7 to 1 and in the European dominated and conservative- leaning North, Lovejoy and Delaware Districts. 

The fact that the Brown Campaign, rich city developers, Republican operatives, meddling from outsiders and unfair, dishonest and fearmongering ads were able to pull this off is somewhat impressive. But, however, the blue plate or template for this election was set in place in 1977. The only thing different is the two players in this 2021 mayoral election were both African Americans!

 We shall wait and see if the winner of this campaign is more accommodating to the minority community and its poverty-stricken residents than the Griffin mayoral era was. As we look at the level of poverty that was in place in 1977 and what it is today, after 16 years of Jimmy Griffin, 12 years of Anthony Masiello and 16 years of Byron Brown as Buffalo’s mayors, I am hoping that Mayor Brown, if his Write In  numbers holds up, will look to his next 4 years administration as a new beginning in ensuring that Buffalo and its underfunded neighborhoods, failing schools deplorable streets & housing stock and impoverished households get the resources that have been designated, allocated but not utilized by city officials to families, to break the yoke of racism and poverty that have continued to tag Buffalo as the 3rd poorest city in our country 44 years after So. Buffalo’s Mayor James D  Griffin assumed his seat in a 2nd floor office in Buffalo’s City Hall.

Image of Betty Jean Grant and India Walton during Women For Walton Day in Buffalo