Editors note: Buffalo lost many of its young leaders to other cities. Charley H. Fisher,III one of these leaders left Buffalo sometime after the down-sizing of Buffalo Common Council in August 2002.
Sometimes I ask myself how an "activist" could get elected city councilmember 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 veteranDemocratic 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 the Dennis Gorski administration. I had the support of , 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 Kavenaugh'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 (LOL)! I am Buffalo's last councilmember at large. I remain "at-large."
Charley H. Fisher, III
Get to know Charley sources: Essay in Historically Speaking,