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PATAKI AND PITTS IN ADELPHIA BARB

Gov. George E. Pataki took an indirect swipe at Common Council President James W. Pitts on Friday for delaying the Adelphia Communications development on Buffalo's waterfront, urging him to move ahead on an important jobs creation project.

"Mayor Masiello and the county executive support it," Pataki said on WKBW-TV's "AM Buffalo" program. "I just hope the Buffalo Common Council realizes this is critically important to downtown Buffalo and to all of Western New York."

The governor referred to Pitts' stance, which threatens to delay by a year implementation of the $100 million project that aims to bring 1,500 jobs to a new Adelphia operations center. Others also have criticized the Council president for over-scrutiny of the deal, which resulted from months of negotiations between the state and the company.

But Pitts, who continues to complain that city officials are ignorant of any of the project's details, said he would be glad to expedite it if Pataki supplies him with the information he seeks.

"Tell the governor to come on in and talk to the leadership of the Buffalo Common Council," Pitts replied, adding he seeks a public meeting in which Pataki defends the deal he made with the company based in Coudersport, Pa.

The agreement called for Buffalo to give up the $500,000 in annual ground rent it receives from the HSBC Arena.

In addition, the city is to provide an environmentally clean site for the Adelphia operations center planned for the city-owned Webster Block.

At the time the deal was announced, company officials anticipated a groundbreaking in spring or summer with a completion by late 2002 or early 2003. That timetable has slowed substantially, however, by the unanticipated time it has required to work out the details of the deal.

Pitts reiterated Friday that he remains concerned about the $500,000 in annual ground rent, part of a complicated deal he helped negotiate during planning for HSBC Arena. Because he says the city had no input on the state-Adelphia deal, and because he is still unaware of the agreement's details, he said he would now encourage Pataki to come to City Hall's table.

"I call on the governor to personally come in and present the package to the City of Buffalo," Pitts said. "No one else has."

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