The filthy game of politics shouldn’t surprise me, but occasionally, it does.

On March 9, I attended the annual Niagara Falls Firefighters Ball and Awards Dinner along with many other firefighters, Niagara Falls residents, and elected officials. The crowd of dignitaries included Mayor Paul Dyster, Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, Assemblyman John Ceretto and Sen. George Maziarz. We were all in attendance to honor two firefighters that went beyond the call of duty in an attempt to rescue a man who fell through the ice at Hyde Park Lake late last winter.

The two honorees, Battalion Chief Dan Boland and Captain Jason Zona, were hailed as heroes for placing themselves in imminent risk of danger when they plunged themselves in the frigid waters of Hyde Park to attempt a rescue without the aid of any safety equipment.

Justifiably so, these two men received the highest award given by the Niagara Falls Fire Department.

Meanwhile, while hundreds were gathered to celebrate the fire service and our two honored heroes, a systematic attack was launched on one of the honored heroes. Zona is also a Niagara County Legislator that represents the Town of Niagara and Niagara Falls.

As a legislator, Zona has championed fiscal responsibility and he has exposed the majority caucus’s rampant patronage and waste.

Of course, when Zona takes on the entrenched Niagara County politicians that have been running our county in the ground for the last decade, he makes political enemies. These political enemies launched a “robo-call” attack throughout his legislative district.

The substance of the robo-call was patently false and misleading. They claim, falsely, that Zona doled out a patronage position to a long-term employee thereby costing the county taxpayers. This is simply not true.

Legislators do not hire employees. Rather, the county’s department heads and directors are charged with the responsibility of hiring employees. However, the robo-call falsely asserts otherwise.

The most despicable part of this attack is that it was done anonymously. Despite the fact that Federal Law requires that the sponsors of these robo-calls be disclosed, it was not done so.

Rather, these sneaky politicos attacked one of their critics and cowardly hid by failing to disclose their responsibility for the attack. They did not have the courage to take credit for the inaccurate political attacks that they waged.

Zona has proven to be courageous as a firefighter. As a legislator, he has, and will continue to have the courage and integrity to stand up for what he believes is right. He will not coward behind secret attacks against people he opposes. As he always has done, he will be on the front lines fighting against those that squander our county tax dollars with useless patronage and waste.

While his opponents cowardly operate in the shadows with secrecy and inaccuracy, Jason Zona has the courage and integrity to stand up to them.

Jason Cafarella is a Niagara Falls resident

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