Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 1, 2013

HAMILTON: Election 2013: Is it Albany or us?

Niagara Gazette — EDITOR’S NOTE: Ken Hamilton’s endorsements are his own and do not reflect the views of the Niagara Gazette.

Sen. George Maziarz has long said that Niagarans cannot make good decisions, and this November election may be the ultimate test of determining if we can or if we cannot.

I was a little surprised at how many local citizens were also surprised that Gov. Andrew Cuomo not only came to town to support a five-story, 100-room conception hotel in downtown Niagara Falls, but went on further to endorse two of the incumbents who were willing to endorse the deal of a developer who admitted that he had neither a major hotel chain partner and/or reservation system, nor the money to build the hotel without the city first giving him the land for what could clearly be argued pennies on the dollar.

Personally, while I wanted Hamister’s, the developer, ultimate success in building it, I applauded the so-called “council majority” for finally waking up and scrutinizing deals before they approved them, and possibly establishing a template for fully understanding the long-term ramifications of any policies and contracts that they vote on. Many other citizens, that “Silent Niagara Majority” that has to pay near full value on their property and all of their property taxes, also supported the idea of going into these areas with eyes wide open. I cannot help but to think that the hope that the majority brought to the citizenry was little more than a small hole through which the sun momentarily shone amidst the dark clouds that have so long surrounded us.

The irony in all of it is that most Niagarans have long thought, rightly or wrongly, that Albany has never been the solution. In fact, with agencies surrounding us like the Office of Parks and Historic Preservation, the New York State Power Authority, the Robert Moses Parkway, the Niagara Falls Bridge Authority, the Niagara Falls Water Board and the Seneca Nation’s casino contract — which excluded the input and participation of anyone living in Niagara Falls, most Niagarans believe that Albany is the problem!

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