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City Hallways (July 29) More than Mascia

Calendar Items
Buffalo Fiscal Stability Board meets this afternoon.. Expected to review the new PBA contract and also review BMHA's financial plan.
Buffalo Sewer Authority meeting this morning..
BMHA Ethics board meeting today to take up Joe Mascia issue.
Zoning Board meets this afternoon. Lots of stuff  on agenda, including a proposal for a miniature Shetland  pony stable  and exercise yard on Auburn Street.
Busy Day.

Today's Mascia report and a journalism lesson
 When I covered the state Legislature races last year, we found Assembly candidate Antoine Thompson behind on his federal taxes and child support,  then-Sen. Mark Grisanti had a prior bankruptcy, and then-Senate candidate Marc Panepinto had a former election law  conviction.
This year, we have City Council and Erie County races coming up. We'll be checking the backgrounds of candidates again.
With all the controversy surrounding Joe Mascia, the embattled BMHA tenant commissioner running for Fillmore District Council, I've spent a week or so going through his financial background. When I first spoke to Mascia about it,  he told me knew his debt would be brought up in the campaign.  It's part of his life-story, he said. It's not something he hides from. In fact, he said, his financial problems have helped him understand the plight of others.
Here's a link to the Mascia debt story in today's paper, and also to separate story on  BHMA tenant groups wanting Mascia to step down from the BMHA board because of his racist references to the city's African-American leaders.

More Mascia
I called the BHMA to get their response to Mascia's repeated claims that the authority is a financial mess, run by incompetents.
Here's  what  BMHA attorney David Rodriguez had to say:.
“There are operational issues. Congress is cutting down on subsidies we get. Because of a lack of funding, we have to bring more efficiences. We’ve brought in efficiencies and continue to look at everything, and change the way we do business."
Mascia's response to that: “Then how do you explain $6.5 million in overruns at Kensington Heights, $2 million in outside legal fees, and a $350,000 discrepancy the Inspector General discovered?,” he asked, adding: “They are spending your tax dollars."

What else is going on?
I was so busy with Mascia stories yesterday that I didn't get a chance to go to the Common Council Committee meetings. I hear there was a bit of a scene  when Tim Sick came to talk about the microhouse he wants to build on a tiny Linwood Avenue lot. I'll have to check it out today.
Pledge catching on
Mayor Brown's "Opportunity Pledge"  continues to gain support..
Today, Bishop Malone of the Catholic Diocese and Bishop Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese and other faith-based community leaders will be signing in Niagara Square.
The pledge is  aimed at encouraging a culture of equality  and inclusion for all races and ethnicities in Buffalo.

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