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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Prominent developer and Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino is under fire for comments he made regarding President Obama and the First Lady, which appeared in a recent article printed in Artvoice.
This surrounds a series of questions the publication emailed to prominent figures within the Western New York community. The questions were as follows:
1. What would you most like to happen in 2017? 2. What would you like to see go away in 2017? 3. Who would you like to see run for mayor of Buffalo in next year's election? 4. Should the new $50 million Amtrak station be at Central Terminal or Canal Side?
Here are the responses Carl Paladino emailed back to Artvoice and as they were published on Thursday.
When 7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly asked Paladino over the phone whether these were his comments he said, "of course they are."
Jamie Moses, Editor in Chief of Artvoice, tells 7 Eyewitness News that he stands by this article. Moses told Ed Reilly over the phone that he wasn't really shocked by Paladino's comments. He said he debated over whether to print the comments but decided he would let the public read it and form their own opinions.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is now calling for Paladino to resign immediately from the Buffalo School Board, issuing this statement, Friday afternoon.
“While the First Amendment of our Constitution protects the right of free speech, no matter how deplorable it may be, there can be no room in our civil discourse for such hate and anger,” Poloncarz said. “These comments harken back to the darkest days of racism in our nation’s history. Anyone who has these beliefs is unfit to hold public office and especially unfit to oversee the education of children. In order to focus on the educational needs of the children of the City of Buffalo, and not on the outlandish behavior of a Buffalo School Board member, I hereby call on Mr. Paladino to immediately resign his position as a member of the School Board.”
Even Governor Cuomo has weighed in on the controversy, releasing a statement, Friday afternoon -
“Carl Paladino, a Republican Party official from Western New York, made racist, ugly and reprehensible remarks about President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama.
“Paladino has a long history of racist and incendiary comments. While most New Yorkers know Mr. Paladino is not to be taken seriously, as his erratic behavior defies any rational analysis and he has no credibility, his words are still jarring. His remarks do not reflect the sentiments or opinions of any real New Yorker and he has embarrassed the good people of the state with his latest hate-filled rage.
“In this holiday season, after months of internal conflict among the people of this great nation, my wish is for peace and unity and that we all stand together against racism and discrimination.”
You can watch Paladino's entire, unedited response to the comments in the video above.
You can also hear community reaction in Ed Reilly's reports.