It was a costly lesson for Southern Tier Environments for Living. “STEL has invested a lot of resources,” said Divitta M. Alexander, a lawyer and financial consultant who had worked with the organization. “It’s important for an organization of this size, and being wasted for those reasons goes against the fact that this project is an accomplishment.”
If the lesson was meaningful for STEL, it would be disastrous for Buffalo. Walton lacked the know-how to manage a $ 20 million housing project, to the detriment of those in need of shelter and STEL, the Land Trust’s partner. What would happen to the city and its partners – read taxpayers – if it mismanaged a $ 535 million budget that, in addition to housing responsibilities, also funded streets, education, protection? fire fighting and, among many other complex and costly responsibilities, law enforcement.
Walton, not without reason, is critical of policing Buffalo. Brown was too, as demonstrated by the reforms he instituted following the murder of George Floyd. But Brown came to the task with a professional and managerial approach. Walton seems colored by grievances involving confrontations with Buffalo police. She’s clearly smart about policing and in a recent meeting with The News editorial board, she reluctantly admitted that as mayor she would seek to answer some of these personal questions.
While she has toned down her rhetoric since the June primary and has valid ideas about other police reforms (not to mention her reckless plan to drain $ 7.5 million from the police budget), the feeling of grievance is inevitable. She and those who support her plans surely come by these complaints honestly, but the approach divides. Buffalo shouldn’t want to go, especially with Walton – a political rookie and failed manager – leading the charge.