February 28, 2011
Niagara Falls: A Self Fulfilling Prophecy
After much debate, I've come to the conclusion that the City of Niagara Falls is closed for business. In fact, not only is the city closed for business, they are proactively doing everything within their power to let it be known that the doors are padlocked shut.
The city made its position perfectly clear on Saturday night, when Mayor Paul Dyster chose to skip the Niagara USA Chamber's annual awards dinner. The event, which was held in the City of Niagara Falls, had approximately 500 attendees. The county's two other mayors were there. A slew of county legislators were there. State Senator George Maziarz was there, as were State Assemblypersons John Ceretto and Jane Corwin, who also happens to be a United States Congressional candidate. Most importantly, there were dozens and dozens of the most prominent business people in the community there. Paul Dyster was not there.
Dyster fancies himself quite the orator. He also fancies himself the smartest guy in the room, no matter who else is in the room. One would think that such an audience would present the ideal setting for Dyster to work his magic. After all, we hear time and time again of his desire to bring business into the city. One would be wrong. If Dyster was truly interested in the aforementioned, he'd have been there. He'd have taken the opportunity to work the room. He'd have told his captive audience of all of the things he claims Niagara Falls has to offer to businesses who might be willing to take a shot on the downtrodden city.
I don't know where Dyster was on Saturday evening, and frankly I don't care. The fact that he chose to ignore this critically important event shows just how incompetent he is. His inaction is inexcusable, indefensible and a great big "fuck you" to everyone in the room.
Unfortunately for the city, this is part of a pattern for Dyster. As we know, he's regularly skipped the annual event at which the Buffalo Niagara Partnership releases its Regional Agenda. That event regularly draws many of the largest employers in the region, not just Niagara County. He's also failed to attend numerous other business-oriented events throughout his tenure. But, hey, he's gonna build a high-speed rail station. Talk about a sick sense of priorities.
The bottom line is that Niagara Falls has become a self fulfilling prophecy and Dyster is responsible. His unwillingness or inability to acknowledge anyone who might work to make Niagara Falls a better place is disgraceful. He has shown this time and time again in his refusal to acknowledge the county IDA's multitude of projects in the city - not once has he mentioned their work in Niagara Falls - that he is incapable of working to bring business to the city.
He also hated the idea of sending any casino revenue to the Niagara Falls International Airport. This is the same airport that now has three new carriers and, because of such a high volume of passengers, must build an additional parking lot to accommodate the huge influx of travelers.
Dyster is wrong for Niagara Falls. While we have never agreed with the sentiment "as Niagara Falls goes, so goes the county", it is important to the county to have a city leader that has a minimal sense of what's needed to bring business in. Dyster lacks that critically important skill. He needs to figure it out or pack his bags - we cannot tolerate his incompetence any longer.