Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 18, 2014

HAMILTON: Council, administrative hypocrisy, and that is the gospel truth

Niagara Gazette — If there isn’t a walk-on resolution on the Niagara Falls City Council’s upcoming last agenda before the August recess to change the zoning back to what it was prior to the South End Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission opening its hearts and doors, then the city council should just cease its hypocritical practice of even saying prayers before the meeting.

The council should also stop reciting the pledge to the flag, too, especially where it says “… and liberty and justice for all,” and especially when they have just granted the Community Missions a $150,000 grant to cover a payroll tax liability that may just be considered by some as a personal grant to a city Democratic operative.

The Gospel Mission operates its facility at 1023 Ferry Ave. It opened in 2010 with the understanding that providing for overnight accommodations for the homeless is within the law, only to have an amendment to the zoning law executed two years later.

That amendment was approved by the council at the behest of a strong neighborhood group, the Memorial Parkway Block Club, whereas one of their member’s husbands sits on the planning board. Because of his close relationship to the club, that member actually abstained from the vote on the issue, uncharacteristic of some that sit on the council itself.

But this was after, according to its attorneys, the Mission spent $115,000 on improvements at the building.

Let’s see: the Gospel Mission provides meals, counseling, drug testing, encouragement, clothing and overnight lodging for homeless men after spending $115,000 of privately donated funds to improve their building to do so, and now must stop doing so, says the city; while the Community Mission was donated $150,000 of city money to cover what may amount to a personal tax liability to a political ally, because, get this, they provide meals, counseling, clothing and lodging to homeless men.

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