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Attack of the Off-Beat politicos

Jim Pitts playing the bongos and fondling feet. No, its not your typical Common Council meeting. We wish it was. They could use the humor.

Off Beat Cinema, Channel 7's late night movie show, invited all the mayoral candidates to appear and Pitts jumped at the chance to play beatnik.

After putting aside the bongos, the Common Council prez was asked about his favorite movie. He grabbed the bare foot of his female host and said, "Attack of the Big Foot."

Mayor Masiello, eager to don the dark shades, also taped an appearance on a show featuring the 1919 silent film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari."

"The story is about hypnosis, illusion, dominance and submission," said host Eddy Dobosiewicz. "Sort of like city government."

Griffin mayoral bid lives

Don't declare Jimmy Griffin's mayoral effort dead. The Jimmy for mayor campaign is very much alive, at least south of the city.

No, not South Buffalo. Try Olean.

It seems a candidate for mayor in that Southern Tier city is also named Jim Griffin. Olean's Griffin assures us that is no rough-and-tumble tie puller like our Jimmy.

"Aside from hair line, there are a lot of dissimilarities," said Griffin of Olean, a Republican.

Party Politics, Part I

OK, we all encourage bipartisan cooperation. And yes, it's become almost routine for political parties to endorse one another's candidates.

But here's a first: A bipartisan fund-raiser.

It seems Mayor Masiello, a Democrat, got together last week with University Council Member Kevin Helfer, a Conservative, for a joint fund-raiser at the Blue Fountain restaurant.

"Only in the city," said Helfer with a smile.

How about `Fast Lane'

We all know the cutesy street names that you find in Amherst, Lancaster and other suburban towns. And usually, lawmakers approve them without a hitch.

Not in Clarence, where Councilwoman Anne Case balked last week when new plans for the Loch Lea subdivision included a street named "Goose Haven."

"I'm sorry, but I would not like to live on a street named Goose Haven," she told colleagues.

"The word, goose, is what I have a problem with," she said with a giggle.

The board approved the subdivision but reserved the right to approve street names later.

Party Politics, Part II

It's finally out in the open. The great threat facing Amherst is not Buffalo's crime or blight. It's those doggone Democrats.

Yikes, man the border checkpoints!

Bill Kindel, the Republican candidate for Amherst supervisor, spilled the beans last week, revealing the ultimate in conspiracy theories.

Kindel said a victory by his opponent, Susan Grelick, and other Democrats running for Town Board would end Amherst's "last line of defense" against a party looking to expand its dastardly influence beyond Buffalo.

"Do you want to be a Masiello Democrat or a Pitts Democrat?" Kindel said.

What's next for Kindel? Maybe a new campaign slogan -- "Donkeys Not Welcome."

Gender-bending the rules

It's the 1990s but stuffy courthouse lawyers are often the last to catch on with society's changes.

Consider the case of Ronald Moses and Kathleen Sumner. When the Herkimer County couple ended their marriage, they were careful to document, in great detail, the rules for sharing custody of their two kids.

"Neither party, during visitation with the children, shall have any overnight guests of the opposite sex who are not related to the party by blood or marriage," the agreement states.

A few years later, Sumner began having an overnight guest that left her clearly abiding by the pact's language, though not necessarily its spirit.

Her guest was another woman.

Moses protested and Sumner, for a host of other reasons, lost custody of the kids to her ex. The state's highest court declined to hear her appeal.

Off Main Street is written by Phil Fairbanks with contributions by Tom Precious and Dick Dawson.