By DON GLYNN firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — You have to wonder how people judge political candidates.
One New York City reporter checking the results of a recent poll showing former Gov. Eliot Spitzer leading in the race for city controller came up with this lead on the story: Client 9 is No. 1.
It was an obvious reference to the disgraced politician who resigned — he had no alternative — after it was revealed that he had spent thousands of dollars as a client in a prostitution ring. In fact, he would have identified himself as “Client No.9” that spring day in 2008 when he placed a cell phone message from the parking lot of Shorty’s Ultimate Bar & Grill (the former Honey’s Pizzeria), Pine Avenue, to a call-girl in Washington, D.C. After his “official visit” to Niagara Falls, he reportedly would have a date waiting for him in the nation’s capital. A few days later he resigned from office with his distraught wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, at his side, looking like her world had just collapsed.
Lo and behold! Spitzer’s the center of attention again — five years later —running in the New York City controller’s race. He still exudes that air of arrogrance. Even as he asks people for forgiveness, he sounds abrasive.
When he walked in Manhattan a few days ago to his sidewalk press conference — the turnout more fitting for a rock star — a bystander shouted, “You’re late! What did you do, get tied up with a hooker?”
Spitzer didn’t bat an eye. He’d heard it all. He just smiled like he did a couple days later when the initial poll showed he was leading his opponent, Scott Stringer, 42 percent to 33 percent in the Democrat primary for controller. Like a friend of mine always says, “What a country!”
OFF THE PRESS: If you’re interested in learning about the generally forgotten War of 1812, the National Geographic has published an excellent summary. The small (5-by-7-inch), 128-page booklet ($13.95) is packed with attractive maps and texts on iconic parks, historic sites and battlefield. Old Fort Niagara, as you would expect, is featured on several pages.
FIX THE ROAD!: Motorists entering Fort Niagara State Park from Main Street, Youngstown, may find it virtually impossible to avoid the broken roadway close to the toll booth. In addition to the cracked pavement, there’s at least one pothole where you could easily damage or even break a tire. It’s not exactly what a driver should expect just before forking over $8 to enter the park. Also, near the entrance to Scott Avenue that runs parallel to the river all the way to the fort, the pavement is badly broken. That’s where bicycle riders could easily take a tumble.
ON TARGET: Mike Fox, who operates Fox BoyZ Marine on Water Street, adjacent to the Youngstown Yacht Club, remains optimistic that his first jetboat will arrive in the village next month. A partner in the new venture, Chris Bohenkamp, is overseeing the construction at a site in Idaho. The company plans two boats to carry passengers from the marine docks to the edge of the Whirlpool, basically paralleling the present Whirlpool Jetboat Tours that operate out of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lewiston. Fox’s boats will not service the Ontario shoreline.
QUIETER PACE: Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, 77, who retired last year as head of the eight-county Buffalo Catholic Diocese, now resides at the downtown St. Joseph’s Cathedral, off Franklin Street. In an interview with the Western New York Catholic, the diocesan newspaper, Kmiec explained that his living space incudes a small chapel that he can use for private Mass, prayer and meditation.
MEA CULPA: In Thursday’s column I mistakenly identified Youngstown resident Ed Rath as a retiree from Niagara County Community College. He retired from the Erie Community College staff. Rath had attended the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg last weekend.Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.