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Suffer the smaller things first Taking care of youth crime and citizen complaints well will aid life in Buffalo

Some of Mayor Byron W. Brown's lower-profile appointments could prove more significant than the big shots in the everyday lives of Buffalo's citizens. That, in turn, could help turn around the city, one call at a time.

The director of the city's Division for Youth and the city's newly appointed ombudsman, or director of citizens services, are essential for a city looking for increased efficiencies, response and a better quality of life.

Youth gang violence, in some areas, particularly the East Side, has become all too familiar. Law-abiding citizens should not live in fear, and young people should not see crime and violence as a way out of poverty, or gang ties as family ties.

Brown's attention toward stemming this problem at its youthful roots makes sense. Still, the Common Council is correct in encouraging grant funding for the youth initiative which, Majority Leader Dominic J. Bonifacio Jr. noted, costs money.

Addressing citizen complaints is also appropriately shaping up as a priority. This is important, as too many complaints go to Council members, who often feel obligated to lend some assistance in matters ranging from tree removal to trash pickup. These elected officials have bigger fish to fry.

Focusing on quality-of-life issues, while taking a page from other cities, is a wise approach. CitiStat proved itself in Baltimore, and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's 311 complaint line improved city services. So far, Brown's actions indicate he gets it: better accountability and response makes for a happier public.

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