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Votes line up to bring LoCurto aboard

A monthlong deadlock over filling an empty Common Council seat appears near an ends.

At least five of Buffalo's eight Council members have said publicly they intend to support Michael J. LoCurto to fill the Delaware District seat left vacant when Marc A. Coppola was elected to the State Senate.

Until this week, LoCurto had four votes for the $52,000-a-year job, one vote shy of approval. But University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell disclosed Monday that she plans to support LoCurto.

Russell said that, after meeting with all four candidates for the seat, she believes LoCurto would be an "independent" lawmaker. The other candidates are Rosemarie LoTempio, whose grandmother previously served as Council majority leader; Samuel R. Marie, a former Buffalo police officer; and Pedro Velez Lopez, who has been active in local Hispanic groups.

"There are still a couple loose ends, but I expect to support [LoCurto]," Russell said.

The appointment was delayed Monday when only five Council members showed up for a special session. Russell, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. and Masten Council Member Antoine M. Thompson were absent.

Council leaders had hoped to reconvene the special meeting at 1 p.m. today, but Russell said she thinks the vote should be taken next Tuesday at the Council's regular meeting.

LoCurto, an aide to Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, attended Monday's special session. He has the backing of Coppola and Democratic Committee members in the Delaware District. Delaying the vote, LoCurto conceded, was "a little frustrating."

He added: "I'm anxious to get to work."

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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