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GRIFFIN COMES OUT WITH GUNS BLAZING AT SURPRISING TARGETS

It came as no surprise last week when Mayor Griffin announced he would run for a fourth, four-year term.

But when he did declare, Griffin came out with his political guns blasting at some surprising targets.

Directly or indirectly, Griffin attacked Erie County Executive Gorski and sought to despoil the records of his two immediate predecessors as mayor, Frank A. Sedita and Stanley M. Makowski, both of whom are dead and unable to respond.

In addition, Griffin, by innuendo, took a swipe at Joseph F. Crangle, who served as Democratic county chairman for 23 years before he stepped down last October.

The mayor's announcement that he would like another four-year lease at City Hall surprised no one who has been following events in city government. After all, Griffin had openly declared his intentions more than three years ago when he told a Jan. 8, 1986, meeting of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists that he would again be a candidate for mayor in 1989.

Nevertheless, Griffin had tried to create an aura of suspense about his plans, suggesting for several months that he was undecided about a reelection bid.

At the same time, Griffin was raising funds, cutting ribbons, announcing new projects and doing the things public officials usually do in election years.

Griffin's public announcement was made in a statement published in Metro Community News, a free-circulating weekly newspaper that has been supportive of the mayor. But Griffin had privately told the Conservative Party about his plans and the information leaked, spoiling the mayor's well-laid plans to catch the major media outlets napping.

In announcing his candidacy last week at a senior citizens center on the city's West Side, Griffin, whose 1989-'90 budget generally holds the line on real property taxes, said he would have been "run out of town" had he increased taxes by 15.6 percent as the county did in 1989.

That was a clear and calculated shot at Gorski, a Democrat who bit his tongue and didn't respond. But it's no secret that Griffin, a nominal Democrat who supports Republicans, and Gorski don't like each other.

Griffin campaigned against Gorski in 1987. And most of Gorski's allies in county government and the Democratic Party are involved in the effort to beat Griffin in this year's mayoral election.

Griffin last week held a major fund-raiser that made a sizable addition to his already large campaign fund.

A letter soliciting support for the fund-raiser was full of phrases that put Sedita, Makowski and Crangle in a less than flattering light.

"I know that most of you can remember what things were like in this city before Mayor Jim Griffin was elected in 1977," said the letter. "We were on the verge of bankruptcy. We were the laughing stock of the nation. Downtown was a disaster. The waterfront was a wasteland. Business leaders had no confidence. Political bosses, not elected by the people, were calling the shots at City Hall."

The letter was a near clone of one distributed by Griffin during his 1985 reelection campaign in which he claimed there had been "widespread corruption" in the Makowski administration.

It was an accusation that startled and angered the Polish-American community and others who were familiar with Makowski's squeaky clean reputation for honesty and integrity.

Makowski was so scrupulously honest that he made his finance committee remit to his supporters the money they spent to buy tickets to a fund-raiser he held before changing his mind and abandoning his plans to run for reelection as mayor in 1977.

At a City Hall news conference during the '85 campaign, Griffin was pressed by reporters to substantiate his charges of widespread corruption in the Makowski administration. The mayor couldn't cite one indictment or charge of major wrongdoing to back up his far-reaching accusation, which critics described as a smear.

The best Griffin could do was to run back to his inner office and return with an old copy of the Buffalo Courier Express, which went out of business in 1982.

Griffin then read from an editorial which noted there was an investigation under way at City Hall and suggested there might be widespread corruption in city government. No such evidence was ever uncovered by federal and county prosecutors after a thorough investigation.

It was either an attempt by the mayor to deceive or another case in which he failed to do his homework.
The endorsement of Mark Pasternak for Delaware Council member by the Conservative Party deals a blow to the prospects of Republican Daniel Ryan, who will make another attempt to oust Alfred T. Coppola, the Democratic incumbent.

In 1987, Ryan, running as the GOP-Conservative nominee and with the support of Mayor Griffin's branch of the Democratic Party, polled 737 votes on the Conservative line and lost to Coppola (D-L) by 113 votes.

But Ryan expresses confidence he can win this year, claiming he has the backing of several new Democratic factions.

Meanwhile, Pasternak, an enrolled Conservative who unsuccessfully campaigned for Council member at-large two years ago, says he's running to win and predicts he will be an upset winner in the Delaware District.
In the Fillmore District, two Democrats who strongly dislike each other, incumbent David A. Franczyk and the man he unseated in 1985, Stephen J. Godzisz, will have a rematch.

A sample of what's to come: Godzisz says that if Franczyk resorts to "his usual mud-slinging tactics, I will refuse to stoop to that level." Franczyk responds that Godzisz will "bring some humor to an otherwise dull campaign." One or more other candidates are expected to enter the race.

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