Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 18, 2012

GUEST VIEW: Transparency needed from Niagara Falls City Council

Niagara Gazette — Politicians make promises during campaigns. We talk about being a voice for the public, and being honest with you.

Unfortunately, politicians can change between the campaign and the actual job. It happens quietly, as they do not want you to notice. The Niagara Falls City Council is led by two councilmen, Fruscione and Choolokian, who no longer value that government transparency and honesty.

As in the past, Fruscione will say that my comments are “politically motivated.” Clearly, I am a politician, and so is he. When I ran three years ago I told people I would be honest and voice my opinion. If he sees that as political, so be it.

In recent months, major decisions have been made by the city council without enough public dialogue. This is unacceptable to me as a councilwoman and a taxpayer. This guest view gives details on specific issues, and asks questions that I want answered.

Public works fees and fire protection assessment: Fruscione and Choolokian introduced a resolution to supposedly tax the casino and state park for public works and fire protection service. No municipality can tax sovereign nations or state parks, and both councilmen know that. No lawyers will comment on the resolution, because the plan would put the city in court and not create revenues. The councilmen are taking advantage of your frustration. Fruscione and Choolokian are betting that you will forget that the plan was unenforceable and shortsighted, but remember that they favor “tuff” policies during election time. We need realistic ideas, not “tuff” dead-ends. I voted against it because grandstanding on illegal policy is bad government.

Train station budget: Fruscione and Choolokian have continuously delayed the train station project. The council already approved the whole project, with millions in federal dollars already under contract. The delay only hurts hundreds of local trades people and residents that should already be at the job site. The councilmen never make their objections clear, and just continued to table the item and avoid questions from the press. My questions: Councilmen, do you understand that construction projects have schedules? Is your goal to show the federal government that we do not want construction funding and jobs?

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