Niagara Gazette

December 4, 2012

GUEST VIEW: We deserve honesty and respect from city leaders

By Robert Kazeangin
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Like many people reading this, I am a lifelong citizen of Niagara Falls.

This is where our families came from far away places to build a better life, and where we decided to stay on build families of our own. Niagara Falls is not just where we are from; it is a part of who we are. So we become protectors of our hometown, and take the well being of Niagara Falls personally, because we have much invested in it.

I must say, I am disappointed with the recent political environment in our city, and how it reflects on the community. This behavior is beneath us, and a disservice to everyone who have dedicated themselves to this place throughout the years.

I observe conduct, most often from our City Council Majority, that is largely focused on personal promotion. Instead of innovative proposals, I read statements that criticize new ideas and the people who bring them forward. I watch meetings that lack respect and that I fear are meant to stop participation.

The public is smart and will ignore most political games, but we are to a point where negativity is doing real damage. This is a very difficult budget year, made worst by the ongoing casino debate. As a former member and president of the Niagara Falls Board of Education, I know financial problems put strain on any organization, especially public ones. However, that is not an excuse to turn on each other and block ideas only because they are not from your own political camp. Such tactics will only make our financial problems worst in future years.

We elect politicians to represent our best interests while we focus on our daily lives. Their words and actions carry weight. When an elected official speaks or writes to the public, it is an opportunity to honestly communicate as an ambassador for the City. It is not a chance to make Niagara Falls look like a place filled only with criticism and lowbrow sound bites. I recognize our many challenges, and we want our leaders to find solutions without any theatrics.

Elected officials — Show us that you are honest, and that you value the image and history of Niagara Falls as much as we do. Prove to us that you respect our intelligence, and that politics can be more than infighting and press releases, and we will support you. That is who we are, and we deserve representatives who understand this when they speak to us or for us.

Robert Kazeangin is a former member and President of the Niagara Falls Board of Education.

Robert Kazeangin is a former member and President of the Niagara Falls Board of Education.