Charley H. Fisher, still a Council Member at-large
Blogger’s note: Charley H. Fisher, III , former Council Member at-large left Buffalo sometime after the Buffalo Common Council was down sized in 2002, including the council seats of Beverly Gray (1950-2004), Erie County Legislator, Betty Jean Grant, and Council President, James Pitts. Where are they now?
I found Mr. Fisher on Facebook and sent him this message: “Hello, Mr Fisher, how are you? I was wondering if you can share with me a few thoughts about your political rise in Buffalo and where you are now. I think back to what happened to the at-large seats in the Buffalo Common Council and wonder if folks understand what really happened here. What are you doing today in Atlanta, what do you recommend for others looking for opportunities, did you want to leave here?
And he responded by writing, ” sometimes I ask myself how an “activist” could get elected city council member at large. I had already served as president of the B.U.I.L.D. of Buffalo Inc., president of the National Rainbow Coalition, and founding president of Community Voice. People knew what they were getting in Charley Fisher. The theme was “Send the Voice to City Hall.” After all, I am the one who laid down in front of a garbage truck, shut down 22 illegal delis, a pawn shop, a couple big night clubs, and led over 100 protests.
What people were not aware of is my running as a Green Party candidate, a veteran Democratic Party Zone Chairman, and a candidate with 15 years of strong governmental service. I had served as Deputy Speaker Arthur O. Eve’s Chief of Staff, served on the Erie County Legislature staff, and served in the Dennis Gorski administration. I had the support of Grassroots, the Buffalo News, and numerous community groups. In other words… I was well prepared.
I was elected with 28,000 votes city-wide. I hit the ground running by filling Barbara Kavanaugh’s vacancy for six weeks. Thus, I entered the year 2000 with “seniority” and experience over my colleagues. I hired a Grassroots operative named Tina Bethea as clerk secretary and in a very controversial move, I hired Jeremy Toth, who had run against me in the primary. Jeremy was an attorney who had great experience. We passed a great deal of legislation.
Honestly, I campaigned with the platform of needing only one four-year term to do what was needed. I was true to my word …! I am Buffalo’s last council member at large. I remain “at-large.”