Mayor Brown will be announcing $2.5 million two-way conversion of a section of Pearl Street.
Where to start? Joe Mascia, as we know, on Wednesday owned up to his racist comments. Thursday, he remained apologetic, but also went on the defensive. “Kind of strange that nine months ago a comment was made that was wrong, that was recorded. Why would he record it then, and now it shows up two days before the board meeting?” Mascia asked at one point Thursday. He was referring to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority board, which Thursday demanded Mascia's resignation as a tenant commissioner. Mascia refused to resign.
"If he's saying someone's trying to set him up he's crazy," responded Leonard Williams, a former BMHA commissioner now working for the Poloncarz Administration. Williams was among the targets of Mascia's N-word assault. "Joe has been his own worst enemy," Williams said.
Later in the day, Mascia compared his own racist comments to a remark Mayor Brown was accused of - and denied - saying a few years ago by a Cleveland developer who is suing the city.
"I got an anonymous call," Mascia told me. "The caller told me: 'Do you remember in the lawsuit, Brown (was accused of saying) "I'm sick of these (expletive) white developers on the East Side with no black faces represented?'"
"He's asking me to resign when he basically said the same thing a few years ago," Mascia said of Brown.
Brown, as I said, in 2012 denied making the comment, and denied it again this morning when I mentioned to him that Mascia brought it up.
"Sue," Mascia told me, "this is all about me being removed as Housing commissioner. This has been attempted by them for several years. Problem is I ask too many questions. I want to know a lot of things they don't seem to want to answer. I made a mistake. I owned it. I apologized for it. Their object has been to remove me as commissioner. They want to do what they want to do without anyone questioning them. I'm here. I have fiduciary responsibility to the authority. I take my job seriously. I'm making too much noise."
As an aside, someone familiar with the BMHA operation told me that Mascia doesn't understand BMHA finances, that he can focus on a single tenant's problem, but has no sense of the larger financial issues that this and other public housing authorities are facing.
Here's story in today's Buffalo News and buffalonews.com on the events that unfolded on this Thursday.
This is far from over.
I wanted to get back to the Democratic Party "rule" (I put that in quotes because if it's a rule, it's clearly not one being enforced) banning its endorsed candidates from taking GOP endorsement.
From what I can figure out, it dates back to 2005. Here's a story Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy wrote at the time. It says former chairman Len Lenihan put the kabosh on Dems running with GOP endorsement.
"If the Republican Party is interested in any of our candidates, they can always leave the line blank," Lenihan was quote as saying at the time.
Back to current day.
Before his current troubles surfaced, Mascia last week pointed out that his Democratic primary opponent, Fillmore Councilman Dave Franczyk, has both Democratic and Republican endorsement. Given the 2005 rule, Mascia said the Dems should pull Franczyk's endorsement. Dem chairman Jeremy Zellner said he's not going to do that. "I haven't been contacted by one committeeman upset by Dave taking the endorsement," Zellner said.
I spoke to Franczyk about it. The veteran councilman didn't seem aware of the ban, and also didn't seem to think it's much of an issue
"Republican committeemen are my friends and neighbors," Franczyk said. "Working together is a good thing. I'm a proud Democrat with Republican friends."
University District Councilman Rasheed Wyatt, a newcomer to the Council, seemed a bit concerned. Wyatt is also a Democrat with Democratic and Republican endorsement. He said he had no idea such a rule existed. Republicans offered him their endorsement because of his interest in education, and he accepted it, Wyatt said.
Franczyk advised Wyatt not to worry.
As it turns out, even if the Dems pulled their endorsements, it wouldn't make much difference. Wyatt and Franczyk would still be on the Democratic primary ballots.
Wyatt's running unopposed in the primary.
Franczyk, of course, is running in a Democratic primary agasint Mascia as well as Sam Herbert.
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