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Inauguration notebook

>In his new desk, a note

Tucked inside the drawer of the mahogany desk fashioned by Kittinger Furniture Co., Mayor Byron W. Brown found a note upon arriving in his new office late Saturday morning.

It was from his predecessor, Anthony M. Masiello, as part of a time-honored tradition among Buffalo mayors.

"I told him to be bold in your vision, strong in your leadership, focused on your agenda, to always do what's right, and never give up or give in," Masiello said Saturday.

Masiello, who left office after 12 years to join a new Buffalo-based lobbying firm, also left something not so traditional -- an oversized pair of scissors -- the kind mayors use to cut ribbons for new ventures and new businesses.

"I told him to cut a lot of ribbons," Masiello said.

>Comfy surroundings

The ornate office on City Hall's second floor seemed to fit the extended Brown clan quite nicely during a post-inaugural reception Saturday.

The mayor, the city's new first lady, Michelle Brown, and their son, Byron W. Brown III, greeted more than 1,000 well-wishers.

Michelle Brown's mother-in-law, Clarice Brown, tried out the mayoral chair, while other family members and friends inspected the impressive quarters overlooking Niagara Square.

But it awaits personal touches. Familiar items decorating the office over the last 12 years with Masiello were noticeably absent, including the portrait of President John F. Kennedy that graced the fireplace and assorted sports memorabilia collected by the former Canisius College basketball star.

>A mayor's-eye view

Moments after being sworn in, Mayor Brown talked about his role as the leader of "the greatest city in America -- Buffalo." But as he gazed into the crowd, he joked that he received a "stern look" from one of his well-wishers. It was Vince Anello -- mayor of Niagara Falls.

>Keeping teacher waiting

Among those who waited about an hour and a half to greet the new mayor was Buffalo State College professor Marian Deutschman. It gave her time to wax nostalgic, remembering the days when Byron W. Brown was a student in her communications classes.

"I've never waited so long to shake the hand of a former student," she chuckled.

>The son also rises

Observers are already starting to wonder whether the mayor's son, Byron W. Brown III, may one day make a splash in public office.

The City Honors High School student wowed the inauguration crowd. Common Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. of the North District introduced him by announcing that young Byron was going to read a poem he wrote. In a confident voice far deeper than one would expect to hear come from a 15-year-old, Brown corrected the lawmaker by telling the crowd he didn't write the poem. It was penned by Langston Hughes.

A red-faced Golombek returned to the lectern.

"He's good on his feet. He's honest. I think he has a career in politics," Golombek quipped.

>A link with history

Another distinguished visitor was the daughter of Buffalo Mayor Frank X. Schwab, the 1920s "People's Mayor." Mary Murphy is the youngest of Schwab's children.

>Giambra gets a seat

Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra, who does not enjoy the most cordial relations with the new mayor, attended the ceremony after noting last week that he had not been invited. Giambra received a last-minute invitation from the Brown camp, and was noticed in a decent seat near the front of the Buffalo Convention Center.

>A sunny disposition

Assemblyman Herman D. "Denny" Farrell Jr. of Manhattan, chairman of the state Democratic Party, figured as a key participant in Saturday's ceremonies. He embraced both Masiello and Brown after being introduced, rattled off a brief Democratic "infomercial" and confided that he was relieved to find no snow in Buffalo after returning hours earlier from the "sunny climes of Jamaica."

"For you, Byron," he said, "I would have swam back if I had to."

>No shortage of police

The presence of the Buffalo Police Department was evident in far more than the color guard during the inauguration ceremonies. Uniformed and plainclothes officers were detailed throughout the convention hall and the mayor's office in City Hall, with several standing directly at the mayor's elbow wearing Secret Service-like glares.

City Hall veterans called the security presence unprecedented.

-- Robert J. McCarthy and Brian Meyer

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