"The first should be last, and the last should be first."
There are three ministers on the Common Council, but it was the banker - University Councilman Rasheed Wyatt - who quoted the Bible Tuesday during a discussion on housing for the poor.
Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority officials were in Council Chambers making a case for the city to help the BMHA out with a $250,000 contribution toward one of its cash-starved developments. The conversation at one point turned to the federal government's housing policy, which has been pivoting lately toward using the private sector to help finance and even operate housing for the poor.
"I am concerned about privatization," Wyatt said. "These folks are looking at bottom lines, not looking to help poor folks."
"It seems poor people are always put last -- 'Wait until we get to a better situation, and we'll get back to you,'" Wyatt said the poor are being told, then added: "I don't want to see these folks last."
"The Bible says, 'The first should be last," Wyatt continued, with BMHA executive Dawn Sanders-Garrett joining in to finish his sentence, "and the last should be first."
For those wondering, the three ministers on the Council are Council President Darius Pridgen, Niagara Councilman David Rivera and Masten Councilman Ulysees Wingo.
What's up at Fire Headquarters?
While I was talking recently to fire union president Tom Barrett about Local 282's no-confidence-vote in the fire commissioner, the conversation at one point turned to Jill Parisi. She is the suspended payroll administrator accused of improperly manipulating her own Social Security/FICA payroll deductions.
Barrett says he doesn't really know Parisi personally, but professionally, he said, she does a great job handling payroll as well as other firefighter personnel records. "She did a ton of work," he said. Barrett said he thinks Parisi is innocent of the charges against her.
"There's no way she would do that," Barrett said. "I think she was set up."
Another fire union official, vice-president Marty Barrett (not related to Tom), recently told the Common Council that the city can tell what password was used to get into a payroll account, but doesn't have the ability to determine which computer was used. Several people had Parisi's log-in information, according to Tom Barrett.
Meanwhile, City Hall was asked to look into whether another of the civilian Headquarters staff really lives in Buffalo as she claims, or if she actually lives in the suburbs, and uses another family member's Buffalo address on paperwork to comply with her residency requirement.
Attorneys for and against suspended BMHA tenant commissioner Joe Mascia were scheduled to submit final briefs to a hearing officer Wednesday morning, marking a last step before the hearing officer decides if she thinks Mascia should be kicked off the board.
The two tenant commissioner BMHA seats are up this year. If Mascia gets tossed off the board, he won't be able to seek re-election. The other current tenant-elected commissioner, Yvonne Martinez, isn't expected to seek re-election.
Buffalo begins spring cleanup of its parks today.
Control board meets this afternoon.
Mayor Brown is holding a community roundtable discussion on the topic: Where should the city spend its federal dollars? Meeting 6 p.m. at Hutch-Tech High School on South Elmwood.