January 11, 2011

Law & Order: Niagara Falls

We got a chuckle reading an article by Niagara Gazette crime-beat reporter Rick Pfeiffer that revealed some interested stats about life under Paul Dyster: It seems that, in 2010, burglaries are up 18.82% in the Cataract City.

And, honestly, we aren’t the least bit surprised. Niagara Falls is what could be charitably described as a Third World hellhole, and the Niagara Falls Police Department sure as heck hasn’t managed to restore order. If Niagara Falls were a foreign country, we’d be talking about an “exit strategy” right about now.

Look, we’ve done little to hide our disdain for bureaucrat-in-blue John Chella, the police superintendent whose grandiose vision of a public safety facility has turned into a costly mess for city taxpayers. But really, we don’t blame him for his department’s failure to deliver. We’re not even sure if General Petraeus could fix that mess.

No, we blame the political leadership of Niagara Falls.

We blame Donna Owens, who keeps an able-bodied police officer off the streets every day so he can sit outside her office in City Hall.

We blame Paul Dyster, who seized on the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman to generate headlines by boosting security near Louise Slaughter’s Niagara Falls office (which, we hear, she can’t even find without her GPS) and sending out a press release about it.

And we blame Dennis F. Virtuoso, whose day job is heading up the city’s inspections department, more than anyone. Every time his “ZOOM” teams are out using police to cite homeowners for not cleaning their rain gutters, it seems like other crimes spike in the city. You see, as long as police are busy running political errands and setting up photo ops for smarmy politicians like Dennis in the Niagara Gazette, law and order will suffer. (And in case you think we're being too harsh, ask yourself this: who inspects dilapidated houses in a wool-blend suit?)

Mostly, though, we blame the residents of Niagara Falls for putting up with the inept leadership of Dyster & Co.—and their antecedents. You can only do the lemming routine for so long before the rest of us stop feeling sorry for you.

You stay classy, Niagara Falls.

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