Ask The Mayor: Marijuana legalization, Cuomo investigation, vaccinations and more

Ask the Mayor

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Each month Mayor of Buffalo Byron Brown joins News 4 to talk about issues affecting the Queen City and the people who live here.

We spoke with the mayor about the 97 Rock on-air exchange that cost a host his job, the investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, marijuana legalization and more.

Toddler brought to Safety

Mayor Brown saw a toddler walking along Niagara Falls boulevard and helped bring her to safety. He praised some members of the community for taking quick action.

Brown said when he stopped to help the toddler, other members of the community sprung into action to help the little girl.

The mayor said the girl’s older sibling showed up and took her home.

97 Rock

97 Rock’s Rob Lederman was terminated Wednesday following an on-air exchange with co-hosts comparing how they like their toast to women’s skin tones.

Mayor Brown said the radio station took swift and appropriate action following the on-air exchange. He called Lederman’s comments “reprehensible” adding there’s no place in society for the discussion that took place on 97 Rock’s air.

The mayor said Lederman called Mayor Brown to apologize for the comments.

Brown said Lederman did the right thing in “saying I was wrong, I said something I shouldn’t say, it was hurtful, it was racially insensitive, it perpetuated negative racial stereotypes and I deserve the punishment that I got.”

Gov. Cuomo Investigation

We asked Mayor Brown about the investigation into Governor Cuomo by the Attorney General and those who have raised questions about the fairness of the investigation.

Mayor Brown said New York Attorney General Letitia James is a “consummate professional, a top-notch lawyer, who will do the right thing.” He added that the investigation is being done in a way that “demonstrates integrity.”

The mayor told us that claims of sexual harassment must be taken seriously and the investigation should continue to “determine what the outcome is.”

A new report by the Albany Times Union alleges Governor Cuomo directed his family be prioritized for coronavirus testing early in the pandemic.

When asked about the allegations, Mayor Brown offered his own experience with COVID-19 testing, “I tried to make sure I didn’t jump ahead of the line when it came to testing, that I didn’t jump ahead of the line when it came to vaccinations.”

“I think as public officials it’s critically important for us not to give ourselves preferential treatment and that’s how I try to operate.”


We asked Mayor Brown about the roadblocks Western New Yorkers are running into when trying to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine and what should be done about it.

The mayor said the Biden administration has been working hard to ramp up vaccine production and locally Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has done “a good job fighting to get vaccines into this community.” Mayor Brown said he’s tried to do everything he’s able to do as mayor.

In regard to the possibility of another mass vaccination in Western New York, the mayor said Executive Poloncarz has been persistent in fighting for another site.

Legalization of Marijuana

Mayor Brown believes the state legislature has “taken the right approach” in the tentative deal to legalize marijuana in New York State.

He notes it’s important for people to not drive while impaired by alcohol or marijuana.

To watch other Ask The Mayor segments, click here.

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