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MASIELLO CHARTING SECOND-TERM COURSE OF HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Mayor Masiello today was to deliver today his second inaugural address, urging residents to "raise the bar" of expectations for Buffalo's future and promising improvements in the schools, the city's environment and the economy during his second term.

Masiello also will say that first-term successes give him the platform to make improvements in the next four years.

"In four years, we have not only picked up the pieces of a demoralized city, we have brought Buffalo to the brink of a new century armed with a new sense of optimism," Masiello says in the text of his speech.

"Expectations are high as we start the new term and carry Buffalo into the new century, but those expectations are no longer frightening. We know solutions are within our reach because we have already enjoyed a taste of success."

Masiello said he hopes to use the speech to "push the envelope . . . to demand more of ourselves and others so we can make Buffalo more competitive."

The mayor said the speech also will serve notice that he intends to devote the next four years to making Buffalo "an urban center of excellence."

"We've got to compete regionally, nationally and locally, and we can do that," he said.

Among the groups he is counting on for help are Buffalo's 13 colleges and universities, including three in the state university system, according to the text.

The speech challenges college and university officials to increase their role in a partnership with the city to create "conditions of research excellence that would bring high-tech jobs to Buffalo."

In a similar break with tradition, Masiello and Common Council leaders have scheduled dual swearing-in ceremonies for a day earlier than the usual Jan. 1. Nearly 375 guests have been invited to the noon swearing-in ceremony for the 13 Council members in Council Chambers.

Nearly 500 invitations have been issued for Masiello's inaugural festivities, which were to begin at 3 p.m. in Council Chambers and wind up with a reception in the mayor's office.

Masiello is pledging to name a Charter Revision Commission "within the first 30 days of my new term."

The commission's duties will be to review the structure of city government, with the goals of making it more cost-effective, streamlining the delivery of services and making City Hall more friendly to residents and businesses.

The mayor also will promise to focus on the city's economy, environment and education as the "cornerstone of our success to date and our hope for the future."

He also takes credit for cleaning up Buffalo's "social environment" during his first term by emphasizing community policing, the demolition of large tracts of blighted housing and the forming a "new partnership with the state and federal governments."

Other highlights from the speech were expected to include:

Education -- Universal prekindergarten, improved school buildings and curricula that will help students find jobs are considered "necessary steps toward strengthening our tax base and expanding our economy."

Location -- The city's location gives it advantages with international trade and a proximity to markets, production facilities and recreational sites "virtually unsurpassed on the continent."

Groundwork -- The city hopes to build on steps it has taken already to make itself a regional and international telecommunications center, including the start of work on a fiber-optic network.

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