Niagara Gazette

Opinion

August 2, 2013

EDITORIAL: Wasting time on Hamister hotel issue isn't helping the Falls

Niagara Gazette — Lost in all the hoopla over the long-awaited arrival of casino revenue in Niagara Falls this week was an underlying message delivered by two key figures in the landscape of Western New York politics and government. 

During their respective speeches at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder Sr. — whether they intended to or not — offered some sage advice to elected officials representing Niagara Falls.

Their message: It’s never too late for two parties to come to terms on a mutually beneficial agreement, even after months of haggling and even downright personal slights. 

During his time at the podium on Wednesday, Cuomo rightly characterized the four-year revenue battle as “wasted” time. He called the period unproductive.

“What did we accomplish?” Cuomo said. “What did the fighting accomplish? What did the conflict accomplish? Niagara Falls was not getting its money. The Seneca Nation couldn’t plan. They couldn’t grow, they couldn’t build and we wasted four years.”

In his turn at the microphone, Snyder offered similar thoughts, focusing a bit more on the road ahead. 

There’s a lesson to be learned here for those in charge of Niagara Falls.

While things can, at times, become personal when elected officials are doing the people’s business, they should never get so personal as to halt all communications or stall all potentially beneficial efforts. 

It appears, unfortunately, that the city is now teetering on the brink of no return when it comes the ongoing discussion about the future of the proposed Hamister hotel deal downtown. 

Members of the city council majority — Chairman Glenn Choolokian and colleagues Sam Fruscione and Robert Anderson — appear prepared to hold tight to their position that the deal requires additional scrutiny and may not be as great as initially advertised.

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