Judy, Judy: A conversation with Judith Einach - by Craig
we heard through the grapevine that Charlie Flynn’s guy
threatened you with a cane recently. Care to elaborate?
the grapevine?” I said it on TV! [laughs] I really
got a call on the telephone from someone who said they were
representing Charlie Flynn, and he wanted to discuss the
campaign with me, and I thought, well, from the sound of
it, it would be better to talk in private instead of a public
place. Even though it’s not always smart to meet people
in private, but trusting everything would be all right,
I went to his office, and he really started pressuring me
to drop out of the race and back the Flynn campaign. I found
him demeaning, sexist, ageist, rude in every way, and I
would not capitulate to withdraw from the race no matter
what argument he put in front of me, ‘cause I knew I was
going to beat Charlie, anyway. So I decided I would sit
there and hold my ground, and he finally got so frustrated
that he picked up a walking stick from behind his desk,
and started making ‘points’ with it in the air, and then
he would stop in the middle, right where I was sitting,
lower the stick, and point it in my direction.
Capone style, huh? Beautiful, classic, everything I
always dreamed of. And then he would lift it up again and
finish making his points. He did this repeatedly. I let
him finish, I didn’t flinch, I just sat there and watched
him look like a jerk. He still had the stick in his hand,
and I said to him “Point your stick at the floor.” And he
said to me, “Why? Are you afraid I’m going to hurt you?
I’m not going to hurt you.” I said, “Point your stick at
the ground, where it belongs.” So, he did, and shortly after
that I stood up, and showed myself out of his office.
is this guy’s position within the Flynn camp? You know,
that was interesting, because I wasn’t even going to say
anything to Charlie; I didn’t want to make any waves. Well,
it happened that Charlie called me, and we got to talking,
and I said, “You know, Charlie, I had this experience [with
one of your guys].” At first Charlie tried to deny this
man was associated with his campaign, but after a few minutes
he let it slip that the man was specifically told not to
call me until after I was on the ballot. You think
I believe that? I don’t know what to believe, to be honest
with you. So, I realized these guys are together, and then
I heard from another person, whose name I won’t mention,
that Flynn’s camp contacted him and told him to back their
campaign instead of my own. At that point I realized one
of the reasons Flynn wanted me to back their campaign is
because I would bring this other gentleman with me.
I told Charlie, “Don’t ever have your guy call me again,”
and I would have dropped the whole thing. Unfortunately,
two or three days before the WNED debate, Flynn’s guy calls
me again! And he’s got the nerve to say to me, “Okay, you’ve
got what you wanted, you’re on the ballot, so now drop out.”
The follow-up to this whole fiasco is that this guy from
South Buffalo calls me up and says “You’re my hero!” I say,
“What are you talking about?” and the guy on the phone goes,
“We all know Flynn’s still a hooligan…what you said about
him in that debate made my old mother stand up from her
chair and say, ‘I’m voting for Her!’ In living rooms and
barrooms all over Buffalo there was a cheer when you said
a city, how can we start to utilize renewable energy sources,
and help residents save money on their energy bills? In
San Francisco, for example, there is a Municipal alternative
power program in place. There are solar panels that are
placed on top of privately owned buildings, with agreements
between the owners and the city. The city places these panels
on buildings throughout the city, and in exchange for collecting
the solar energy, the price of energy to the building owners
goes way down. We need to figure out how we can have municipal
power here. I can tell you that both Mr. Helfer and Mr.
Brown both sat on the Buffalo Common Council with Al Coppola
seven years ago. Mr. Coppola put forth a measure to purchase
both the power lines and telephone poles from the Electric
Companies and the Power Authority. Coppola needed one more
vote to pass his measure in the Common Council, and neither
Brown nor Helfer voted yes for the measure. If Coppola’s
measure had passed, we would be halfway to paying off the
Bond Issue. Across New York State, communities that have
purchased the power lines and poles are able to buy electricity
on the open market. They are paying so much less than we
pay. We’re still subsidizing the rest of the state, which
is buying power on the open market, at prices that are drastically
lower than the rates we pay. We could have wiped out the
Power Authority had Mr. Brown or Mr. Helfer voted yes to
Al Coppola’s proposed measure.
would you rate the mayoral race coverage in the local media?
The network media? They’re going to be in for a shock.
When I win an online poll on a network TV website and the
poll disappears, even from the archives, there is something
seriously wrong…somebody doesn’t want me to win.
there any media outlet in particular who is the worst offender?
Channel 4’s last poll disappeared. I made the ballot;
they put me on the web poll. I logged on in the afternoon,
Brown was at 66% and I was at zero. Later that night, Brown
was down to 33%, Helfer was at 14%, Charlie was at 2%, and
I was at 44%. And the next day the poll disappears. Pretty
heavy! Now Channel 2 doesn’t even include my name on their
polls. After the last debate, Channel 7 reported that “Brown
and Helfer are running neck-and-neck.” They interviewed
one person who supported Brown, and one person who supported
Helfer. Well I’m telling you…I was the only candidate who
walked straight into the audience; my opponents walked backstage
and ignored the audience. I had a ton of support in that
audience. People I didn’t even know, strangers supporting
me…so, did they ask anybody else? They didn’t show it!
will you encourage the African-Americans of this city to
trust the police enough to testify when a crime is committed?
How can we help them protect their neighborhoods? Well
we’ve shown no commitment to their neighborhoods, at all.
Why would they believe that if they spoke up, we’d have
their backs? We should be out in front of them, so they
wouldn’t even have to watch their backs. I know that I want
to find a very good police commissioner, who is very sensitive
to these issues. I think we can find one from within the
ranks, one who will be respected by the department, and
will be able to work with other law enforcement agencies
throughout the county, the state, and the federal government
if need be. We need to do as much human relations work as
necessary, and I’m open to anything that will work. I want
to find the right commissioner and figure out what our community
is most comfortable with, and build on that.
kind of plan would you have for demolishing condemned homes,
and turning them into green space, or land ready for development?
Look at other communities who have used green space
in creative ways. We are one of the poorest cities in the
nation right now. And that means we have a food insecurity
problem right now. We definitely have to use our land practically,
to grow food. When people grow things, they also have a
stake in life, they become hopeful. It hits at two levels…as
crazy as urban farming sounds to some people, it could be
a real savior for the people in this city. We also don’t
have any playgrounds for kids in Buffalo. We used to, but
we failed to keep them up, children got hurt, the city got
sued, and instead of fixing the playground equipment, they
took away all the playgrounds so they wouldn’t get sued.
We need playgrounds everywhere, safe places for kids to
would the best place in the city be to burn your car for
insurance money? Oh, I would do it behind the old Quality
market on the corner of Grant and Hampshire.
would you do to wean the city off of the Control Board in
the near future? By law, it’s an undeniable fact for
more than twenty years. I really don’t see, the way the
budget looks, in the first four years, maybe even into eight
years, how to get the city off of the Control Board. It’s
my understanding the city can’t be involved in deficit borrowing.
So you have to have a budget that can function on it’s own,
and given the nature of labor costs and the way people negatively
perceive those costs, and the way the state constitution
protects labor, combined with our inability to generate
wealth around here…we are stuck with an active control board
at least through the first term of the next mayor.
are some of your ideas on encouraging home buyers to purchase
a house and live in the city of Buffalo, and reducing the
effects of urban sprawl in outlying communities? We
certainly have to have sound land-use planning. I can’t
see the county taking the lead on that. I think if we have
a Mayor that’s willing to take the lead on that issue, we
would find many public servants around the area who would
be cooperative. We can start attracting people back to the
city by creating fun places for people to live, have a city
that makes them feel safe…and there are some real simple
things we can do.
a bar-room brawl, who would win: Superintendent Williams
vs. Phil Rumore? Williams would have more technique…but
Rumore would be wilder.
about Billy Dee Williams vs. three Byron Browns? Billy
Dee, hands down, Billy Dee.
can we do to get better food access to inner-city neighborhoods?
You need markets that carry the staples: fresh vegetables,
quality foods for reasonable prices. I’m working with people
from Rochester and Ithaca to develop a network of regional
farms that sell to inner-city, under-served markets to provide
an old “Green Grocer” type stores providing access to real
food. We would employ neighborhood people, train them in
management, and provide jobs.
do you feel about the proposed Seneca casino? Well I’m
the one candidate who is absolutely opposed to that casino.
Point blank, dead on, no way.
just doesn’t seem smart to give away land to another nation
in the middle of your city… Absolutely, and another
nation doesn’t have to pay benefits or taxes. And, after
fourteen years, they can change it from a casino and do
whatever they want there. What could we do to stop them?