As I read the press release announcing the slate of candidates being put forth by the Niagara County Democratic Party, I cannot believe the level of hypocrisy that Niagara County Democratic Chairman Dan Rivera has reached.
Let’s review for a moment. In February of this year, Rivera forced Lewiston resident Elaine Pienta out of the race for 12th District Niagara County Legislator because of her financial woes. Apparently Pienta filed personal bankruptcy in 2005, and Rivera felt that the bankruptcy may be a political liability for Pienta.
So what does Rivera do? He goes out and recruits not one, but two candidates for Niagara County Legislature seats, both with a bankruptcy on their record. Personally, I do believe that management of one’s personal finances is important when evaluating which candidate I will support. If you can’t effectively manage your own assets, how can I trust you to manage mine?
However, the bigger issue here is not the individual’s finances. The issue is the inconsistency in Rivera’s message. Pienta is out of the picture because of her BK. But it’s okay to endorse Merrill Bender and Charles Dahlquist? Why is that, Dan? Could there be a bigger issue here? Could it be that Pienta refused to submit to your heavy-handed methods?
According to the Buffalo News, at the time Pienta went public with a complaint that Rivera had treated her unfairly, Rivera told The Buffalo News, “As Democratic chairman I will vet anyone who expresses an interest in public office with the same rigor I apply to our political opponents. I will not endorse a candidate who, for whatever reason, cannot meet what I hope and expect are the exacting standards of the voters of this county.”
Apparently, the standards you set for your candidates are quite different than the standards the voters of this county expect.
In addition to the hypocrisy shown by Rivera in evaluating the financial backgrounds of candidates, Rivera also has a short memory when it comes to party affiliation.
I remember not too long ago when Rivera sought to solicit and support “pure Democrats” in response to certain Democrats choosing to caucus with the Republicans. In fact, I recall a time recently when members of the Majority Caucus were actually sued by the Niagara County Democratic Chairman over the fact that Dems actually sat with Republicans. Do you know who paid for the defense of this lawsuit? The taxpayers paid for it.
Imagine the absurdity of the Democratic Party suing members of their own party for putting their party affiliations aside and working together for the betterment of the community, and the taxpayers footing the bill.
Now, Rivera has chosen two candidates, ironically the same two candidates that have a history of financial woes, who are registered Republicans to run against incumbent Republicans, with the intention of caucusing with the Democrats. For the record, I don’t have a problem with the strategy; the Republicans have been doing it successfully for some time. The problem, or the hypocrisy, is the fact that the Demos have taken every opportunity to criticize members of their own party who have chosen to work together with the Republicans, and even went as far as to file a lawsuit against them.
If Rivera believes that the people of this county lack the intelligence to see through his hypocrisy, he is very much mistaken.