Debate was sponsored by partisan organization

A supporter of Betty Jean Grant recently wrote a letter titled, “Candidates have a duty to participate in debates.” She criticized my wife, Joyce Nixon, for not participating in this sham of a debate. The debate was sponsored by a group called We Are Women Warriors – an organization that Grant, her opponent, founded.

The coordinator of the debate, Karla Thomas, was fired by Mayor Byron Brown from her $91,000-a-year job as the city’s human resources commissioner. Under her watch, the city paid out more than $800,000 in health premiums for former city employees who had died. Thomas was then hired by Grant as her legislative assistant at a salary of $35,000 a year.

The writer did not mention that Thomas is actively working for and campaigning for Grant, yet in her letter to the candidates regarding the debate, Thomas actually had the audacity to claim that it was being sponsored by a non-partisan, non-political organization that she coordinates!

The writer also bragged about the $1 million that was being provided to agencies in the county budget, but failed to say that most of that money is from state aid. The county allocates only about $300,000 in tax dollars for youth development and delinquency programs for the entire county. She also said that the county spends $6 million in total under the youth service budget, but again failed to mention that most of those expenses are for the Erie County Detention Center. The county spends $6 million in tax dollars for incarceration, but only $300,000 for youth development programs.

As an Erie County legislator, my wife wants to turn this around and give our youth service agencies the same type of resources and funding we are using to incarcerate our young people.

Jeff Nixon