Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 1, 2013

HAMILTON: Election 2013: Is it Albany or us?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — I suppose that most Niagarans have become accustomed to such oversight and interference, a situation that has left our city in near-dire straits. But in my memory, not since New York State Comptroller H.Carl McCall made his special trip to Niagara Falls to endorse one of New York state’s nearly 1,000 county legislators has any state-wide elected official ever done so. I cannot even remember it happening prior.

I wish that the governor had exercised his influence in a much better way; such as offering the interest payments that the city lost due to the racino issue that Albany instituted as a part of the city’s compensation for the casino, allowing city input into the extension of the Seneca contract, closing down the parking lots on Goat Island and Prospect Park and allowing the city to collect that revenue, increasing the amount of low-cost power for local residents, removing the tolls from the Grand Island bridges and such. I think that such would have been good government for the city and region.

Instead, I fear that his interference will result in local tax increases without offsetting benefits to the residents who pay them.

On the subject of good government, I feel compelled to actually encourage our voters to stop party and personality voting, and in our strong mayor system of government, to vote for balance between the mayor and the council. If I were that proverbial benevolent dictator of the city, my preferences for city council would be geared towards balance in government, with an eye towards 2016. Therefore, it would in the following order of preference:

For city council: Vince Sandonato, Russ Vesci, Sam Fruscione, Kristin Grandinetti, Andy Touma and lastly Charles Walker — who has had a dismal, lackluster 16 years on the council. Such a council would give us the broadest-thinking possible and the most balanced council.

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