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RACE-BASED MAILINGS MOBILIZED BLACK VOTE

The Sept. 16 News article about the new face of the Buffalo Common Council, caused by the higher than usual turnout by black voters, prompted me to relate my view on this remarkable and perhaps historic primary.

I am a black man and never voted before in any primary. The reason I voted this year was simply because I learned about the race-based campaign literature of David Franczyk, as reported in The News.

It seems that others in my community also read about it. It spread like wildfire. When a candidate for citywide office sends one set of literature to blacks and something entirely different to whites, we think he is playing race politics, and it won't be good at all, in the long run, for us.

Granted, Franczyk did this 10 years ago. But in the article, he defended his actions, saying it was just good marketing strategy. But the perception it created of him made at least some blacks come to the polls and vote. We were galvanized by it. What would he do in a citywide office? This was a natural question raised among us.

If every black who won the primary wins in the general election, for the first time the Council will have a black majority. History was made in Buffalo on Sept. 14. Thanks to The News for having the courage to publish this story.

ROBERT B. STEPHENSON

Buffalo

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