Niagara Gazette

March 24, 2013

EDITORIAL: Questioning the Council Majority decisions

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Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It just leaves you shaking your head.

While there’s been a lot of progress in Niagara Falls over the past several years it’s all seemingly ground to a halt. In fact, the city is now in danger of slipping backward.

All because of three men — Glenn Choolokian, Sam Fruscione and Robert Anderson — the city council majority.

It’s becoming increasingly unclear who they’re serving based on the decisions they’re making — it’s certainly not the residents they were elected to represent.

First off there’s the council meeting time change. The members of the majority have decided to do away with the convenient 7 p.m. meetings. Now residents have to show up some time after 5 p.m. and wait for a meeting to start.

We can’t think of a surer way to stop people from attending council meetings. It simply seems like an attempt for the council majority to hide from the public.

And really, they should be hiding after some of the comments made Monday night, particularly by Choolokian and Fruscione.

In response to a request from Dyster to have the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo pay his $4,000 membership fees to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, we got this from two prominent members of city government:

“I’m very uncomfortable with this,” Choolokian said. “Is it time to get the FBI in city hall? I don’t understand this.”

The council chairman added that the charitable help was alarming.

“I’ve been in the system for 27 years and I never seen Buffalo get involved in Niagara Falls like it has since you became mayor.”

Fruscione, a teacher, was just confused about the whole thing.

“They’re picking up $4,000 so you can join a club?” Fruscione said. “What about the taxpayers and residents? It’s not benefitting them at all. First of all we’re on a river, we’re not on the Great Lakes. We’re not a St. Lawrence city.”

What can you even say about those statements? We’re not going to waste anyone’s time explaining the Great Lakes Basin or defending the initiative. 

We understand that most of this mess has its roots in the ongoing casino cash delay — but turning down charitable contributions made by groups sympathetic to the city’s situation? Making accusations of corruption? Making arbitrary funding cuts to some community groups while taking nothing from others, particularly groups closely related to council members?

These guys need to remember they were elected to serve the residents of the city of Niagara Falls. That’s just not happening right now.

Like we said, it just leaves you shaking your head — and wondering how much damage will be done before it’s all over.