December 21, 2009

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I swear that there should be some sort of mandatory training of newly elected officials on the protocol and etiquette of speaking publicly. Even more importantly, those newly elected officials should have at least some iota of understanding of the community in which they have been elected to serve.

Take for instance Jack Smith and Andy Chapman, two aldermen-elect in the city of Lockport.

At a meeting held last week, an architect proposed that the city should build a banquet facility overlooking the locks of the Erie County. Now, our criticism is not directed at the architect one bit. After all, he is not from this area and he doesn't know the community. He is simply looking at a possible vacant piece of land and making what would normally be a very suitable recommendation based on the information he has been provided.

Smith and Chapman (and apparently Chapman's wife), on the other hand, should know better. They should know that there is a banquet facility sitting on the canal, just a few hundred yards downstream, the Lockport Canalside Banquet Center. Apparently this little tidbit of information escaped them as they expressed their joy at the prospect of the city building a facility to compete with Mike Murphy's place.

While the fact that this little nugget escaped the trio, it is also disconcerting to see elected officials so eager to spend public dollars to compete with private entities. This is my concern with IDAs as well, but a topic for another time.

There are, in reality, a plethora of locations in eastern Niagara County that are used as banquet facilities, beside Canalside. Chapman and Smith should have know this before they encouraged the use of millions of dollars in public monies be used for this Main Street project.

I'd suggest these two take a crash course on the city, and soon. The prospect of more ignorance is not going to bode well for them for the next two years.

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