If Joseph A. Mascia is not a racist and a liar, then he is offering a spot-on imitation. There is no way this man can serve on Buffalo’s Common Council and no moral way for him even to stay in the race. He needs to drop out of it now.
Mascia is an elected tenant representative of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s board of commissioners. He thinks he would like to be on the Common Council in Buffalo, where the population is 39 percent African-American. He should think again.
He also has to resign from the BMHA board. How can any BMHA resident be confident that Mascia is a fair representative of their concerns, given his insults?
In a taped conversation apparently made several months ago, Mascia repeatedly makes racist comments about Mayor Byron W. Brown, Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen, Assemblywoman Crystal People-Stokes and Dawn Sanders-Garrett, executive director of the BMHA. He uses the N-word – surely one of the most vile in the English language – and says of black politicians: “Once they’re in power, forget about it, forget it. They want it all.”
For good measure, he also makes a crude remark about a man of Middle Eastern descent.
Alone, those comments disqualify Mascia from any form of elected public service. That’s true in Buffalo and it would be true in a city where no African-Americans lived. There can be no place for that kind of sentiment in American public service. He is an embarrassment, and a vulgar one, at that.
And add deceitfulness to his list of character flaws. Given a chance to explain what were originally just reports of the vile recording, Mascia insisted to a Buffalo News reporter that he “never, never, never” uses racist language to describe black people and that the recording must be a fake.
After reporters from The News obtained the recording and played it for him, Mascia had the audacity to claim that he was disappointed in himself because his remarks “were totally out of character for me.”
So, in the space of a single conversation, a man repeatedly uses the worst racist language possible, insulting even people he would be working with if elected, and it’s just a one-off that he had no memory of? Please. No one makes those kinds of vicious comments if they don’t come from the heart. It’s just that this particular heart is an exceptionally nasty one.
It’s hard not to wonder how a person gets this way. Truly, racism is learned, but is there something more? Did an African-American once do him some harm that he then blames on everyone of that race? But then, what about the Middle Eastern man he also insulted? Is it anger over the course his own life has taken? The decisions he’s made? Is it just self-loathing? He wouldn’t be the first person to respond that way.
Well, the world is full of racists. Perhaps they will always be with us, the deficiencies of human nature being what they are.
In addition to his vile language, Mascia has the bad judgment to run for a political office in which he would be representing people he plainly detests. It’s beyond absurd.
Mascia has virtually no chance of winning the Common Council seat, running in the Democratic primary against longtime Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk, who accurately observed that Mascia is unfit for public office. He’s also not fit for his elected post at the BMHA.
Mascia was also running with Conservative Party support, until the Erie County Board of Elections Thursday afternoon ruled him ineligible for the Conservative line. That move rescued Erie County Conservative Party Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo, who had refused to demand that Mascia drop out of the race. Lorigo instead only expressed shock over Mascia’s ugly remarks while saying he needed to talk to the candidate before deciding.
The party should have made it clear immediately it did not want Mascia running as a Conservative.