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Mayor Masiello is ducking Democratic Party primary debates with mayoral candidates James Griffin and James Pitts, even though they have agreed to a debate sponsored by WHTT radio. Perhaps the mayor does not want to defend his dubious track record. For example, as a state senator, Masiello:

Took out an ad in The News (along with other local tax-and-spend career politicians such as Pitts), urging the Board of Education to approve the 1990 teacher's agreement. That same agreement threatens to cost the Board of Education about $200 million and to bankrupt the board now that the Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

Resisted the city's requests that he support efforts to obtain state legislation compelling Erie County to share a portion of the additional 1 percent sales tax.

Supported, or did not actively oppose, mandatory arbitration between police and fire unions and local municipalities, something that has cost the city dearly.

As a City Council member, Masiello:

Voted for the occupancy tax.

Initially opposed police reorganization and/or one-man police car patrols.

At the beginning of his mayoral term, Masiello:

Withdrew the Griffin administration's pending dismissal motions in the school desegregation case, and entered into fruitless negotiations with the plaintiffs and the Board of Education that duplicated previous efforts.

Abandoned the city's lawsuit against Erie County regarding the Convention Center agreement and "bed tax" revenues, giving up a claim potentially worth millions of dollars.

Acquiesced in, and is now perpetuating, the so-called "garbage user fee," which in reality is an illegal tax intended to enable the city, if necessary, to evade the state's 2 percent constitutional taxing limit on the city's real property tax levy.

Failed to appoint a labor negotiator in sufficient time to attempt to negotiate any concessions from the police union, such as one-man patrols.

Rehired, at a considerable salary, Steven Banko, who left for another position and then returned looking for his old job.

And now there is a scandal -- exposed in a recent audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- involving possible misuse of funds within the Buffalo Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation, which has renovated only five of 50 abandoned properties purchased by the city with HUD money.

Kenneth R. Kirby Buffalo

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