Part of the deal
First the financial news on the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority front.
A deal struck when City Hall recently gave the BMHA $250,000 - despite questions over whether the housing agency owes the city $3.6 million -- called for the city comptroller, in return, to audit the BMHA.
Comptroller Mark Schroeder didn't waste any time. A letter from the comptroller's office went out last week asking the housing agency for documents offering details on BMHA finances.
Next, the Joe Mascia news on the BMHA front. The suspended tenant commissioner says he's running for re-election. He says he submitted his candidate petitions with 200 signatures - 175 more than needed.
That's happening despite a recent change in the housing authority by-laws banning any tenant-elected commissioner kicked off the board for cause from seeking re-election for at least two terms. A hearing officer is expected to decide in May whether Mascia should be kicked off the board for racist comments he made when, unbeknownst to him, he was being tape recorded last year. So for now, he's not kicked off.
The election is in June. Two tenant commissioner seats are up. The petitions were due last Friday, April 1. Mascia said when he handed his petitions in, a BMHA clerk date-stamped them in -- as March 32.
"They are probably right," Mascia quipped. "It's a Leap Year so there's a Feb. 29 and there should be a March 32."
Mascia said he caught the mistake, and had the clerk fix it.
Four decades after Vietnam War
A dozen Vietnamese-Americans stood on the Council floor recently, some carrying red and yellow flags from their native country, South Vietnam - a country that ceased being in 1975, when Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, fell to the North Vietnamese, ending of the Vietnam War, and putting all of Vietnam under Communist rule.
Some of those in Council Chambers fought in the South Vietnamese military, including one man who was imprisoned for nine years after the war ended.
All in the group had a request. They asked the Council to recognize the South Vietnamese flag - now called the Heritage and Freedom flag -- as a symbol of their local community.
It was an emotional moment as Niagara District Councilman David Rivera read a resolution honoring that request, and a representative of the group thanked the Council for its support.
"We would like to thank all council members, " said a young woman, who explained she was asked to speak because her command of English was the best in the group. "It is such an honor," she said. "I wasn't there; my father was, and he speaks a lot about it."
The red and yellow flag will be flown in Niagara Square, outside of City Hall, April 30 - the 41st anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
Countdown to NY primary News
Former President Bill Clinton coming to WNY today to campaign for his wife, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Here's campaign story my colleague Jerry Zremski has in today's Buffalo News
Mayor Brown holding City Hall press event in recognition of National Service Day.
Common Council committee meetings today, starting with Civil Service and Finance in the morning, followed by Community Development and Legislation in the afternoon.