April 13, 2010

Armageddon, Niagara Falls Style

It's ironic that last night while watching Armageddon, I came across this story from the Buffalo News. In case you haven't the movie, its premise is centered around a massive asteroid racing towards the earth. A strike would render the entire planet uninhabitable.

As scientists are attempting to devise a plan to address the impending doom, one military man suggests shooting 150 nukes at the asteroid, but he's quickly rebuffed by a scientist who tells him that he could shoot every nuke he's got at her and she'll just smile and keep on coming.

Shift gears to the News piece.

The city of Niagara Falls has implemented a program designed to encourage improvements along Main Street in the city’s North End, with the intent of upgrading the commercial properties in the formerly thriving and now Blitzkrieged section of the city. In a nutshell, property owners will have the opportunity to apply for loans and grants for improvements after the building inspection department cites their property. They will be looking for things like missing gutters, broken windows, rotted eaves and facades, leaking roofs and garbage or debris on the premises.

Just like the misguided theory of what essentially amounted to aiming a pea-shooter at an asteroid racing towards earth in Armageddon, the city is taking impractical and ineffective steps to address problems that are so much bigger than missing gutters and rotted eaves. The failure of the city's "leadership" to recognize this is simply mind-boggling, and their unwillingness to hold those accountable is frankly quite sickening.

I mean, where is Francine DelMonte? What has Antoine Thompson done for the city? How is the Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corporation, which own acres and acres of "prime" real estate in the city, allowed to continue to let their property to deteriorate without investing a dime into the redevelopment of the community? And most importantly, why does the impotent leadership of Niagara Falls refuse to call out these people? What are they so afraid of?

The city, which is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, draws millions of visitors every single year. But stunningly, year after year, incompetent leadership who refuse to demand accountability from their state representatives sit back and allow the city to get screwed. One can only assume that the reason is that they fear political retaliation. But take for instance Paul Dyster - he is absolutely a one-term mayor. He will never, ever get elected again. So what does he have to lose by going for broke? Then again, he probably has a cushy, no-show job waiting for him at the New York Power Authority if he plays nice with the sickeningly incompetent DelMonte and Thompson. (As a side note, I just have to say once again that Antoine Thompson has got to be the stupidest motherfucker to ever grace the halls of the state capital. Unfortunately, compared to the majority of his constituency that re-elects his sorry ass every two years, he's a fucking genius).

So you go ahead and continue to shoot spit wads at the problem. I'm sure fixing paint and facades will be the panacea to cure all that ails the city. And it gives do-nothing building inspector/county legislator Dennis Virtuoso something to justify his pathetic existence, which is a bonus. In the meantime, the asteroid will continue to race towards the planet with no real solution in sight.

1 comment:

tomslick said...

The problem is that the taxes, fees and utility costs are too high. We continually place the burden of supporting the city on the businesses when it is residences that use taxes while business pays them. Allow them to upgrade their properties without an increase in tax. Do the same for homeowners. Why should people be punished for making the city better. Take a portion of the casino cash and use it provide an immediate tax cut. We often hear about how we are trying so hard to attract new business, make the city attractive to it. Make it an area where they make a profit. Where they won't be constantly harassed by new fees, new inspections and other useless petty revenue enhancements. Force the speculators suck as NFR and Kordish to live up to the terms of their original agreements with the city. Don't give them preferential treatment while punishing all the rest. Finally, take all the property the foreclosed property the city owns and either give it away or convert it into subsidized housing ending the long and injurious association with the Hope VI project.