“I believe that the people closest to the problems are closest to the solutions. It’s time for us to stop waiting for someone to save us, and do it ourselves.”

KEY CAMPAIGN ISSUES

Our platform is centered on people and rooted in love, with the belief that equity and justice are essential. We believe in love for community, respect for culture and reverence of resources. We believe that housing, healthcare, healthy food and a quality education are basic human rights; and when we invest in our community, we create the conditions where all residents feel valued and can thrive.

Buffalo is rich in resources. From our waterfront location to our wonderful arts and cultural community, it has many economic engines. We envision a Buffalo where people are housed, healthy, and have the agency to live to their full potential. As we have built our platform in community with stakeholders, we invite everyone to send suggestions to info@indiawalton.com.

India will bring accountability, transparency, and community-centered service to the Buffalo Police Department (BPD). She will prioritize addressing the root causes of crime such as concentrated poverty and lack of living-wage jobs; emphasizing harm reduction and restorative justice programs rather than punitive measures.
Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Remove police from responding to most mental health calls and work with County and BPD leaders to establish a new response to crisis mental health calls that utilizes mental health professionals.
  • End enforcement of low-level drug possession by directing police not to arrest people for simple possession of a small amount of drugs and paraphernalia like syringes.
  • Order the Law Department to conduct a full review of the city's ability to discipline and fire bad police officers, and to defend disciplinary decisions to the fullest possible extent.
  • Make police data public to the extent allowed by law including data on racial disparities in stops and arrests, officer disciplinary records, the number of officers who live outside the city, and an inventory of weapons and military equipment owned by BPD.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Work with the Buffalo Common Council to amend the city charter to establish an independent oversight body with investigatory and subpoena power.
  • Train officers in trauma informed care and implicit bias.
  • Increase the number of trained community-oriented officers.
  • Mandate unpaid leave for police officers being investigated for police brutality.
  • Establish a civilian Traffic Safety Division to enforce routine traffic safety laws and remove police from routine traffic enforcement.
  • Create a task force to investigate every police officer and fire or demote officers with consistently bad records.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Create unarmed public safety detail to address quality of life and social calls to 911, freeing trained police officers to focus on solving crime.
  • Fund and expand proven public safety programs such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and violence interruption programs like Advance Peace.
  • Invest in crime prevention strategies such as youth employment programs like Mayor’s Summer Youth, and crime prevention through environmental design.
  • Codify public participation in union contract negotiations to the extent allowed by law and ensure meaningful ongoing public input into all police department functions and union contract negotiations and cement this public right into the future by law.

Housing is a human right. As mayor, India will use her experience creating permanently affordable housing to address the longstanding affordable housing crisis in Buffalo. She will work to ensure that all Buffalonians can live in safe and healthy neighborhoods, while ensuring a just and equitable recovery from the pandemic.
Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Sign the Tenant’s Bill of Rights to strengthen local protections for renters.
    • The 2019 NYS Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act allows municipalities to opt in to rent stabilization. Completing a vacancy study is the first step a municipality must take to be eligible for rent stabilization. Rochester has already begun working on its vacancy study.
  • Provide financial relief to small landlords in exchange for rent forgiveness for tenants.
  • Direct the city’s Department of Permit and Inspection Services to put an emergency stay on the demolition of historically designated buildings such as the Willert Park/A.D. Price courts.
  • Landlord registration:
    • Create and publicize a user-friendly online portal where tenants can type in a property address to get landlord information, including history of property violations.
    • Require LLCs to disclose contact information and addresses of interested parties.
    • Increase regulations and requirements for property maintenance agencies.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Implement a comprehensive land use policy that sets aside 50% of city-owned vacant parcels for public good.
  • Allow for longer grace periods to cure past-due taxes and user fees prior to foreclosure actions.
  • Create a pot of funds to assist homeowners who have fallen behind on their property taxes due to an unexpected hardship (job loss, medical bills, etc.). This could provide one-time payments to assist homeowners in getting back on track to pay their taxes, which would save many from unnecessary and devastating foreclosure.
  • Give communities control to democratically regulate themselves through establishing ground-up neighborhood planning efforts. Work with block clubs and existing community organizations to create Just Neighborhood Plans that empower residents to take control of the regulation of their own neighborhoods (by forming neighborhood committees) including power to approve or deny planning & zoning.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Support the creation and capacity of a city-wide land trust federation with democratic decision-making at the neighborhood level.
  • Repair and redress the harm done to public housing, and allow for greater resident control of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.
  • Implement Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) upon enactment by the NYS legislature. This means that when a property goes up for sale, existing tenants will have the first option to purchase the property. TOPA programs provide funding and technical assistance for tenants to do this. If a tenant does not want the ability to purchase, they can assign their right to purchase the property to a local non-profit housing agency, which will then manage the property. TOPA is a powerful anti-displacement and wealth generation tool.

As mayor, India will represent all residents of the City of Buffalo and give voice to individuals whether they have resided here for a lifetime or have newly arrived in our city. She will allocate resources to improve accessibility to city services, increase legal aid for immigrants, and end all forms of local police collaboration with immigration enforcement.
Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Declare Buffalo a sanctuary city, which means that city employees will NOT use city resources to:
    • Assist or cooperate with any ICE investigation, detention, or arrest relating to alleged violations of the civil provisions of federal immigration law.
    • Ask about immigration status on any application for city benefits, services, or opportunities, except as required by federal or state statute, regulation, or court decision.
    • Limit city services or benefits based on immigration status, unless required by federal or state statute or regulation, public assistance criteria, or court decision.
    • Provide information about the release status or personal information of any individual, except in limited circumstances when law enforcement may respond to ICE requests for notification about when an individual will be released from custody.
    • Detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody.
  • End BPD cooperation with ICE. As mayor, India will be transparent with immigrant communities by enacting written legislation/policy that bars information sharing between local law enforcement (BPD) and ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials.
  • Ensure that all city agencies work for the needs of all residents, regardless of their immigration status. City agencies will maintain open dialogue and ongoing outreach with the communities they serve.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Dedicate funding for legal services that offer options to grant fee waivers for adjustment of status fees, work permit fees, citizenship fees, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fees.
  • Improve outreach and accessibility for the Office of New Americans, which should act as a liaison offering funding opportunities for all organizations providing direct services, community education, and advocacy to immigrant communities.
  • Improve accessibility to city agency services through improved/expanded language access. All residents should be aware of and be able to access the resources and services available to them in the language they prefer to speak in.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Actively recruit multilingual officers to serve communities and increase trust between new residents and police.
  • Increase civic participation by all residents through establishment and facilitation of neighborhood caucuses that encourage democratic participation regardless of voting/immigration status.

India will advance a just recovery from the pandemic, putting peoples' health and well-being first by strengthening social safety nets, supporting essential workers and training new workers for the just transition to an inclusive economy; and improving public spaces and reclaiming streets to ensure liveable local communities for all.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Establish clear lines of communication between City Hall staff and the community.
  • Work with experts to create a publicly available crisis response plan that ensures our most vulnerable community members are supported during all phases of recovery.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Reduce barriers to assistance for tenants, landlords, homeowners, and small businesses; especially in communities underserved by traditional financial institutions.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Work with existing community centers and organizations so resources and mutual aid can be democratically governed and deployed efficiently and at the neighborhood level.

As Mayor of Buffalo, India will commit to invest in frontline arts organizations with consistent annual funding. She will ensure  funding is distributed equitably and that currently underserved communities are given access.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Establish a more transparent and democratic model in which more arts organizations and artists can be engaged in the city’s public arts initiatives.
  • Commit to commissioning local and underrepresented artists and artforms for city contracts.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Invest in front line arts organizations with consistent dedicated funding.
  • Create arts programming to reach immigrant, differently-abled, and low-income members of our community.
  • Create/identify non-permitting areas of the city dedicated to public art. These are “free zones” where Buffalo city residents can gather to perform, create, and experience art without the need of a permit.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Establish Buffalo as an international destination for arts and culture.
  • Treat the arts as the economic driver it is and ensure that city infrastructure, policy and budget allocations reflect that.

Buffalo has been designated a climate refuge city—we need to prepare for that future while prioritizing our people and habitat in the present. As mayor, India will hold polluters accountable, preserve and protect our waterways, and promote energy conservation programs.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Endorse/support passage of NYS Climate Leadership and Protection Investments Act.
  • Convene city officials and community leaders to produce Buffalo’s first comprehensive Climate Action Plan.
  • Establish a sustainable workforce roundtable to inform new, green workforce initiatives.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Improved stormwater management plan.
  • Establish an office of sustainability to monitor efforts to reduce emissions and facilitate a plan to move to renewable energy.
  • Engage in regional climate initiatives to work with other municipalities to advance our climate goals.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Convert City of Buffalo fleets to electric cars.
  • Update the green code to provide for aspects of zoning that make strong, resilient, climate safe communities.
  • Create and implement a “Re-Tree” initiative in East Buffalo.

India will ensure that resources are invested in both the basic needs of our most vulnerable residents and the tools that create a vibrant and sustainable local economy. She will focus on cooperatively-owned businesses, green jobs, and democratic control of land instead of trickle-down policies and subsidies that have increased income inequality.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Commit to full Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) compliance for city-funded projects.
  • Prioritize small and minority-owned local businesses through the RFP process to increase successful bids for small, local contractors.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Add new procurement criteria and set measurable benchmarks to grant more contracts to locally-owned, independent businesses, minority and women-owned businesses, and to buy more environmentally sustainable goods and services.
  • Make appointments based on expertise, diversity, and inclusion, rather than political patronage.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Work to establish a public bank. India will advocate for this at the state level, and ensure it is a priority to invest our city dollars in a public bank that invests in our community— not in fossil fuels or carceral institutions to make profits.
  • Establish a comprehensive and transparent participatory budgeting process.

India will be a strong and involved partner with the Board of Education and Buffalo Public Schools. As mayor, she will work to build a coalition of educational advocates with representatives from the Board of Education, Buffalo Teachers Federation, the Common Council, and the greater Buffalo community to stress the importance of education in our city. True progressive leadership takes a stand on important issues, and Buffalo deserves clear, concise, and timely information from the mayor’s office in regards to educational issues and our children’s health and well-being.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Appoint a staff person to attend BoE meetings and maintain an open line of communication with Board members, administrators, and staff.
  • Support the whole-child, whole-school, whole-community agenda of trauma-informed and culturally and linguistically-responsive teaching.
  • Advocate for locally-sourced and culturally-appropriate meal options for all students.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Create a dedicated budget line for BPS separate and apart from the general fund.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Partner with local companies, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and city departments to create paid internships for students. Paid employment opportunities promote college and career readiness, improve family health and safety, and help students build confidence alongside their résumés.

India will support community-based initiatives to increase access to fresh and healthy food, including neighborhood-owned grocery stores, community gardens and open-air markets.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Work with the Common Council to amend food-store licensing requirements to include fresh produce.
  • Pre-identify lots appropriate for community gardens, and ensure access to water.
  • Prohibit discrimination of brestfeeding mothers in the workplace and in public places where a mother and child would otherwise be present.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Support community-based initiatives to increase access to fresh and healthy food, including neighborhood-owned grocery stores, community gardens, and farmers markets.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Ensure access to healthy, culturally-appropriate, and affordable food for all residents regardless of income, and promote personal wellness.
  • Reduce the disparities in health outcomes by allocating resources to deploy community health workers in target zip codes.
  • Provide a tax credit against the city's personal property tax imposed on qualified supermarkets within defined “food-desert incentive areas.”

As mayor, India will improve the state of our streets by using capital improvement funding for Complete Streets designs, such as more crosswalks, wider sidewalks, and traffic calming practices that increase accessibility and safety, and reduce reliance on enforcement.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Halt the school-zone camera program.
  • Pilot a Municipal Sidewalk Snow Removal Program targeting shared walkways in high-pedestrian traffic areas.
  • Implement Snow and Ice Clearing Assistance Programs employing neighborhood youth servicing seniors and homeowners unable to clear snow.
  • Target infrastructure investments to create safe streets, calming traffic and increasing accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.

Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):

  • Reduce speed limit on residential streets to 25mph citywide.
  • Create a municipal broadband network to expand access to affordable high-speed internet across the city, particularly in underserved neighborhoods.
  • Commit more funding for the maintenance of sidewalks, roads, signs, streetlights, and street furniture.
  • Color bike lanes, crosswalks, and school zones to slow traffic and alert drivers to changes in speed limits and traffic patterns.

Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):

  • Bring municipal snow removal to scale.

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