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City Hallways (July 31) Forgive but not forget

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Housing Authority tenant group meeting this morning to discuss Joe Mascia's tenure on BMHA board.

Forgive, but don't forget
Earlier in the week,  Council President Pridgen  saw Joe Mascia going into the county Election Board office.  Pridgen -  one of the targets of Mascia's N-word rant - decided it was time to talk to Mascia.
Mascia apologized. Pridgen accepted the apology
Mascia was happy about it.
Pridgen --  a Baptist bishop as well as a council member -- said it's important to forgive in order to move on.
I remembered, however, that when the story of Mascia's racist comments first broke, Pridgen told me: "The Bible says to forgive. But it doesn't say to forget."
I know you forgave him, I said. But can you forget?
Pridgen said he doesn't want to forget.
"The reason I don't forget,"Pridgen said, "is I think it's still a teachable incident - that it's important to be able to forgive and more on."
Pridgen also previously told me it might be difficult to work with Mascia, a BMHA commissioner who is running for a Council seat.
So I asked Pridgen if he now thinks he'd be able to work with Mascia.
"I would say, if there was true repentance, it would be easier to work with that person," Pridgen responded.

Fair fairness
I just saw a notification that the Allentown Association wants to have another major street festival, this one in the fall,  on a  Saturday in early October.
Reminds me of recent Common Council discussion over why there aren't more such street festivals on the city's East Side.
Part of the answer was that the Police Department is apparently concerned about crime. But some council members, particularly University District's Rasheed Wyatt, was saying it's not fair to penalize an entire neighborhood because of the actions of a few.  Some council members seems to be suggesting that rather than discouraging street fairs because of the potential for crimes, the police should help ensure the events are safe. The subject is likely to come up a future council committee session.

The graduates
The city last night graduated what may be the biggest firefighter class at least in recent history. 109 new firefighters. Mayor Brown was there. Having the new firefighters is good for public safety and also for the city budget, he said.  It's going to reduce firefighter overtime.
Speaking of public safety, city police should be getting their new contract soon. It was approved earlier this week by the Control Board, and goes before the Common Council next week.
The council is technically on recess in August, but I had been told would have a special session to approve an ambulance contract. Now, it looks like that's on hold for a bit. Not surprising given  last night's  news that the two companies competing for the contract just merged. Meanwhile, the police contract is expected to be approved at the special session Thursday.  Here's  story my colleague Jonathan Esptein did on the ambulance merger.  Parent  company of AMR is buying its competitor, Rural/Metro.

In today's Buffalo News and buffalonews.com, check out my colleague Bob McCarthy's story on Carl Paladino's continued defense of Joe Mascia; also, there's a short on  David Comerford, who served  under former Mayor Griffin as well as current Mayor Brown, retiring. He was most recently general manage of the Buffalo Sewer Authority. He retired last Friday. I saw him the Thursday prior. He seemed pretty happy.  I hadn't realized at the time he would be retiring a day later.

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