December 13, 2007

I'm a Little Confused

For a long time now we have been hearing about how tourism is going to drive the economy across all of Niagara County. Much has been invested along the canal specifically to bring people to communities like North Tonawanda.

So I don't get while Mayor Soos doesn't care that the concert series is leaving N.T. for Lockport and I don't get why he thinks several thousand people coming to the canal every week in the summer is a bad thing. Sure, you need to deal with security issues with a group that big, but hey, that goes with the territory. It would seem to be that Mayor Tucker in Lockport has scored a major coup here.

Canal Concert Series to dock in Lockport

A popular, free summer concert series will leave North Tonawanda for Lockport next year, organizers plan to announce Thursday.

Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker said an announcement is planned for 1 p.m. in the Ulrich City Centre in Lockport.

The Canal Concert Series, which has jammed Gateway Park for eight Saturday nights each summer since 2001, has featured national acts and drawn as many as 15,000 concertgoers for a single event.

The entire Buffalo News story can be read at


Anonymous said...

Simply put “Soos cares about Soos”. Kudos to Mayor Tucker Boo Hoo to Mayor Soos. After Soos got turned down to set up a vending booth to sell weenies he immediately went after Kathy Paradowski and her insurance. Oh and Mr. Sommer, is just as bad as Soos, this city will never grow as long as North Tonawanda has it’s present Mayor and Council President. Two years and counting till the next election. Maybe Mike Tucker will move to North Tonawanda.

Fat Tony said...

Soos looked like a fool on tv saying on one hand they'll be people beating down his door to do concernts and then saying in the next breath that he doubts they will be able to attract the national acts like the previous promoter did. Nice work, Larry.

If there is ever on contrast in executive leadership, it has to be Soos non-record of accomplishment versus the success that Mike Tucker has led in Lockport.

Dr. J said...

This is great news. No more driving to NT for these concerts, now I can basically walk to them. Thank you Soos for being a jackazz and thank you Mayor Tucker and everyone else that brought this to Lockport

pirate's code said...

Please, folks, keep in mind that whenever Larry Soos opens his mouth, Dave Burgio's words come. Soos hasn't had an original thought in decades.

These concerts were not without issues -- anytime you squeeze 10,000 people into one spot, you are likely to have issues. Drinking, garbage, parking, and so on. But, compared to the utter mess that is left after Canal Fest, these concerts are nothing.

I've been to several and it was a lot of fun. They are well organized, they attract great acts that appeal to a broad spectrum of people, and they offer a chance to showcase your city.

Apparently, all that was too much to handle for Mayor Bartender.

Larry Castellani said...

Given that many in NT seem to believe that Wal-Mart will be our salvation, it doesn’t surprise me that our “business first” council would let the concert series slip through its fingers. Who needs it? We have a Wal-Mart! There seems to be a credibility and confidence gap not to mention several questions as to conflict of interest in our little town. To my mind the problem here is that the community doesn’t know what it wants to be. Jamming a Wal-Mart into the Wurlitzer area, an RV park at Gratwick if not possibly windmills…. what next? Possibly the city could first figure out how and when to pick up leaves or control the dog and motorcycle noise not to mention preventing side streets being turned into dragstrips in the summer. Possibly we could replace the Concert series with the tireburning event from Wheatfield. We’re not far from that cultural level as far as I can see. The people just aren’t thinking of the community first as a community. Not the council. Not the anti-Walmart people nor the pro-Walmart people. The former are simply concerned about their little neighborhood and the latter just want cheap socks. They don’t seem to get that our various supposed “development” plans don’t necessarily amount to “improvement.” The last little piece of relatively pristine land by the river at Gratwick seems only to be thought of as wasted space if not used to make money or use up Greenway money. What’s wrong with natural open space by the river for relaxation and quiet time? It could be a natural park and bird sanctuary. Remember nature?….Moreover, why should NT spend thousands of dollars for consulting firms (one of which also consults for Wal-Mart!!!) to tell us how to plan our future, what to do with our riverside park and possibly how we should wipe our butts. The proposed ideas for Gratwick so far, apparently by Bergmann Associates, seems to be something your average blind wombat could create. But possibly we could solve the problem by putting Wal-Mat in Gratwick, surrounding it with a tire-burning track and placing the windmills on top of Wal-Mart. …. And after all who needs music? Nevertheless last night on the news Mayor Soos assured us that concert promoters are flocking to his office for the opportunity to replace the Molson series. And of course he knew nothing about the Molson group leaving. It was a done deal just like Wal-Mart. Play dumb, act calm and promise a rosy future.

Fat Tony said...


Out of your many solid posts over the last few months, that clearly was one of the best. It gets to our collective mentality that there must be a silver bullet waiting to save our community if only we could find the right consultant to tell us what that idea is.

We can't handle 10,000 people on a few Saturdays during the summer, but we'll be able to handle the logistical nightmare that Wal-Mart in Wurlitzer will cause?

I'm already pissed off at the morons who insist on trying to make a left hand turn across three lanes of traffic on Erie Blvd to turn into Tim Horton's, backing up traffic across Niagara Falls Blvd.

Now, I'm not necessarily for or against the Wal-Mart. I'm against bad community planning that can't seem to figure our logistics before it supports or opposes and idea. The Gratwick park saga is another excellent example.

But, good ole Larry will just say shucks, I had no idea.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Mike Tucker and the City of Lockport. There is, no doubt, contrasting styles of leadership here. It has to do with backbone or lack thereof. Soos just doesnt seem to have any. Residents like me in NT are simply getting tired of the same ole Larry. Our City is regressing, unlike Lockport. Tucker on the other hand seems to be a solid leader. He does what he thinks is best for his community. When I hear him on LCTV he talks with confidence and is not afraid to take a position, even on the most controversial things.Lockport, it seems, is rising to the top of great places in WNY. It all starts and ends with leadership. Something we are sadly missing here.

Anonymous said...

Soos is a fool....plain and simple......that is why we should pay our myor's more money...we will get better people.

Maria J said...

The fact is we had a "for profit" organization using public property and services. Kathy Paradowski had no comp insurance for the majority of her "employees" . Go to Nestors after the concerts and she was paying out her staff in cash in front of everyone. Her vendors give her and her husband a cut . 100 % of funds taken in are in cash . She did not want to cut into her profits and purchase liability insurance. I have a business in North Tonawanda . I cant pay my staff under the table,I'm expected to carry proper liability insurance and if I need security I have to hire someone , not use the local Police. Why should it be any different for her business? She was making a hefty profit , much of it in cash while we subsidized her business with our tax dollars . Yes, the concerts were great . We need to find a large non for profit who wants to manage the series. We can rent them the space for $10k a night and require them to provide insurance , keep their workers on the books and security.A $5 admission (donation) should be charged at the gate. This will form better crowd control. A large non-for profit will have stronger alliances and networking hence they'll have a stronger sponser base , along with "tax exempt" status (that Kathy Paradowski helped herself too by paying staff under the table and not decalring income that she made on public property )and their name and charitable appeal will attract national acts. Let them make the profit off the concessions. Of course because its for a good cause they'd have lots of volunteers as well.Dont think it wouldn't work - look what Camp Good Days did with the Worlds largest Disco in Buffalo. 7000 tickets from $40 to $150 sold out within 24 hours. A super tradition , great cause and lots of money raised (and no i dont think we need to have disco guys...). Again , Kathy Paradowski is not a North Tonawanda resident and I'm sick of seeing everything in our city given away.

pirate's code said...

A couple of points:

Larry -- while there is lots of blame to go around, let's be clear that it was Burgio/Soos that cleared the path for the concert series to leave, just as it was Burgio/Soos who were the first to take credit for Wal-Mart showing any interest in NT. Beyond that, I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

maria j -- Go to almost any such concert anywhere in the country and you will find that workers -- stage hands, security, etc. -- are often paid in cash. You seem to have intimate knowledge of the promoter's finances, I don't. But paying part-time workers in cash in this sort of seasonal business is not unusual. Ever been to the Erie County Fair? The State Fair? EVERYONE is paid in cash.

I don't know what was in the contract she had with the city. But, if she was profiting from use of a public park with no apparent benefit to the city, that is the fault of city government, not the promoter. I understand she is difficult to work with. So what? So is Doug Taylor, but I don't see anyone trying to drive his business out of town. Of course, he is also one of the puppeteers behind the curtain in the mayor's office.

And, puh-leeze, the protestations that "we didn't know she was leaving" are crap. It's been rumored for weeks, if not months, that she was looking for a new venue.

Finally, businesses in the area of the concert who claim they received no benefit from having 15,000 people in town have no one to blame but themselves.

There is a successful model on how to do free concerts within shouting distance of NT -- Thursday in the Square. Perhaps Mayor Burgio/Soos could have placed a call to Buffalo Place and asked how they've developed that highly successful series over the years. Oh, wait, that's in Buffalo. We wouldn't dare to talk to anybody from Buffalo, would we?

Myopic doesn't begin to describe the so-called leadership of the Lumber City.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Doug Taylor isn't being threatened to leave, but didn't the city pay to a gas line installed under the little river for Taylor Devices to keep Mr. Taylor happy?

Anonymous said...

Just a quick point - didn't Scott Leffler and Tom Grzebinski try to do a concert down by the canal last year - The event was a success, yet a full season of concerts couldn't come to fruition this year due to road blocks by politicians requiring outside insurance....yet the city is perfectly willing to let outsiders come in and the city foots the bill for the insurance. Nice double standard by those elected!!!