In his swearing-in speech Wednesday, Mayor Masiello said that public expectations were so great four years ago, when he first took office, that he feared his administration would not be able to live up to them.
But Wednesday he told Buffalonians: "Raise the bar for us even higher."
OK, fair enough. Up goes the bar.
After four years of successful groundwork, the public should now be able to see the mayor's plans turning increasingly into tangible realities.
Not that there haven't been some concrete results in Masiello's first term; but those years were most notable for planning and organizational work that couldn't fairly be expected to bear much fruit right away. Now it's time to expect major accomplishments leading to measurable results in two important areas: job growth and neighborhood resurgence.
Yes, up goes the bar.
To get ready for the implementation years to come, the mayor has moved his community development commissioner and close ally, Alan DeLisle, into the presidency of the Buffalo Enterprise Development Corporation, a City Hall adjunct, and is naming Joseph E. Ryan the new development commissioner.
Masiello has split between the two officials the important tasks by which his second term will be judged. DeLisle gets the job of riding herd on five large-scale endeavors; and Ryan and his department are entrusted with planning, housing and neighborhood development, including federal block-grant spending.
One of DeLisle's tasks is bringing to fruition the city's impressive plan for redeveloping vast old industrial lands between the Buffalo River and the city line in South Buffalo. A large tomato-raising operation is going up on the former Republic Steel parking lot off South Park Avenue, but that's just a small slice of what could be.
Meanwhile, construction of a new road is opening up vacant land in northeast Buffalo for business development. Similarly, the city has made Exchange Street more attractive for commercial growth by road construction that makes it easy for trucks to reach the Niagara Thruway. The first benefit is that Graphic Controls Corp. will build a manufacturing plant on an Exchange Street block instead of scrambling out of New York State. There's plenty of room for other businesses.
DeLisle also gets to push redevelopment of the Inner Harbor, a project that culminates years of waterfront planning, and foster anything that can be done to benefit downtown.
For Ryan, the mayor lists as key projects the long-awaited housing construction in the Main-LaSalle area, the reworking of the Lakeview Housing Project on the West Side and the planned home-ownership zone in the Willert Park area.
There are plenty of other tasks for the second term. For instance, the mayor will have to work in cooperation with County Executive Gorski if a new convention center is to materialize. He rightly cites improvement of the public school system as essential to keeping middle-class families in the city. Maybe he can badger school officials to step up the pace of new-school construction.
Masiello is an optimist, a good spokesman for his city. He wants the Common Council, the business sector and the community at large to join him in a positive approach to Buffalo's future.
It's a future that begins today, and a great deal of what might justify optimism will be based on the strategy put together in the mayor's first term.
Masiello -- and the community -- dare not fail at this crucial point. In reality, the public and the mayor must raise the bar because there is no other acceptable choice.