February 27, 2012
David Houghton, chairman of the Niagara Falls Democratic Committee, finally jumped on board with this letter to the editor in yesterday's Buffalo News. Frankly, we don't have a problem with Houghton trying to capitalize politically on the flub, that's part of living in the political world.
What struck us is the amount of space Houghton devoted to reliving the story of Mark Scott, a former Niagara County Legislator who was convicted of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from businessmen looking for special favors from Niagara County government. Scott admitted that he took bribes for almost his entire nine year tenure as a legislator.
When U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara sentenced Scott to six months in federal prison, he called Scott one of the worst examples of political corruption in Western New York. The judge told Scott he would have been hit with a much harsher sentence if he had not served as an informant against other politicians for the FBI, State Police and Internal Revenue Service.
February 24, 2012
Niagara County Conservative Party Chairman Dan Weiss "Says Not So Fast" on Swanick Endorsement for Senate
“Until new legislative redistricting lines are approved by the Legislature and the Governor and withstand a court challenge, Mark Grisanti still represents part of Niagara County and still has the full support of the Niagara County Conservative Party.
“We would like to say we are shocked and dismayed that Erie County Chairman Ralph Lorgio has cut a side deal with ultra-liberal Steve Pigeon so Pigeon’s protégé Chuck Swanick can get the Conservative line, but the sad fact is the Lorigo abandoned Conservative principles long ago in exchange for patronage jobs and legal clients. He is an embarrassment to the party.
“We can understand that some Conservatives are upset about Mark Grisanti’s vote for gay marriage, but we need to look at the totality of his record. Chuck Swanick is a political opportunist and a fiscal nightmare who ran Erie County into the ground. He is exactly what we do not need. And his mentor Steve Pigeon is a cheap political hack that lacks any true conservative principles.
“I’m also appalled at the lack of understanding of political ramifications statewide for this move that could see a return to downstate liberal control of the Senate. This again proves Lorigo stands for nothing but his own personal gain.
“And let me make one more point. Should the current lines stand and Senator Grisanti’s seat is wholly contained in Erie County, I will send my Conservative committeemen into Erie County and support either an Opportunity to Ballot for Mark or an alternative conservative candidate. That is how disgusted I am with this Chuck Swanick/Steve Pigeon endorsement.”
So do we.
February 23, 2012
At the top of the list is people who take credit for something they didn't do or misrepresenting what they did do as something it's not. Like the segment last night on the news about people who lie about military service (see Stolen Valor), people in this day and age have taken the little white lie or offering partial truths to a new extreme. I'm not talking about a little embellishment on a resume, going a few miles over the speed limit, or calling in sick to work after a night on the town. I'm talking about flat out lying or misrepresenting the truth in order to make yourself out to be a hero.
Take for example Congresswoman Kathy Hochul. Since the LeRoy School District students started experiencing uncontrollable tics, Hochul has taken every opportunity available to get herself in front of the camera to portray herself as the savior for the people of LeRoy. As reports surfaced over the past couple of days of the EPA removing barrels of contamination from the Lehigh Railroad Derailment Superfund site in LeRoy, Hochul made sure the media hung on her every word as she took credit for the removal of the barrels, which are headed for a landfill in Michigan.
But before the barrels of contamination were rerouted to Michigan, they were slated to come to a landfill right here in Niagara County, and Kathy Hochul was leading that charge. Because she was so caught up in trying to take credit for getting the EPA to remove the waste, she didn't take the time to know where they were going - or did know and simply chose not to disclose it - she just knew that she'd look like a hero to the LeRoy community by having the contamination taken away.
The problem is, the waste was in fact slated to go to a site in Niagara County that is even closer to a school than it was when it was raising concerns in LeRoy. Now, we've subsequently learned that the material is not hazardous, but when Hochul was recklessly grandstanding about the materials being removed, she did not know this. You can blame it on inexperience or you can blame it on arrogance. Either way, her actions are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.
If Hochul is going to gain the trust of the people of Niagara County, which is a big if, she'd better learn to do her homework, and she'd better learn that one segment of the district is no more important than another. We're not going to be treated as second-class citizens by anyone. Otherwise, she's no better to us than belly button lint.
February 22, 2012
February 21, 2012
February 20, 2012
This past Sunday's column took a host of cheap shots at the Wallenda walk in Niagara Falls. It took Donny boy to point out that Niagara Falls needs much more than Wallenda's walk. Really, Don? You mean this one walk isn't going to turnaround decades of decay and corruption. Brilliant, simply brilliant!!! So to every town or city across the Country that puts on spectacular event to bring attention, interest and some economic activity to your community, you shouldn't do it because that one event won't solve all of your problems. Thanks, Don.
The real issue is that Don and a host of other green nerds have a problem with this event as in their bird brains this somehow cheapens the falls. If they really cared about this, they would demand that State Parks take out all of the parking and other structures in the Falls, return the park to pristine and push all commercial interest back into the City. But these guys never call out State Parks.
So instead, they climb on their soapbox and try to make a claim that one guy on one day walking across the Falls on a tightrope is the end of natural beauty as we know it. Paul Dyster actually holds this view but has had to hold his tongue. He hates the idea but knows that the public is vastly in support. He also hates the fact that George Maziarz and John Ceretto are the main reasons this is happening. So he gives lukewarm support, while making sure everyone knows he wouldn't support such events in the future. Thanks for that Paul.
Guys like Esmonde talk about supporting the Falls but they don't believe it. They support people like loser Assemblyman Sean Ryan who wants to close Niagara Falls International Airport when it's finally starting to bring results. This proves again they want all the economic and commercial benefit generated by Niagara Falls to reside in Buffalo.
In the end, Esmonde and his ilk don't live in the real world where you need to hustle to make a buck and things just don't happen. They want to sit in their ivory towers and opine on the way things should be and criticize those who don't share their worldview. But Don is really smart in this regard -- his nonsensical worldview has made him a nice living.
February 16, 2012
I have two solid reasons for that. First, when it comes to one's actions, past performance is indeed an indicator of future results. The antagonist in all of this, Eric White, according to the Buffalo News, did a year in jail for beating up his girlfriend. That closes the case for me.
And in what fucking world does a guy who smacks around a woman still earn the title of "prominent Seneca businessman"? Prominent? This guy should have been ostracized to the point where his moniker should be "disgraced Seneca businessman".
Now, I should be able to close my case right there. But let's go one step further. When you are losing the court of public opinion and need to change the narrative quickly, what should you do? Well, you consult the "Al Sharpton Book of How to Change the Narrative" and accuse someone of dropping the mack daddy of all no no words....an N-bomb.
And what did Eric White's supporters do two days later? Accuse Grisanti of using that slur against a guard. Really? There's nothing on the audio that proves that, but the dutiful scribes in the local media still reported it. The person hurling this charge wants to be the next Seneca Nation President so he probably gains some points on the Reservation by being a vocal defender of White. I guess that's politics.
All sarcasm aside, I feel bad about how much this nonsense has probably hurt Seneca relations with the rest of the community in Western New York. I've had more people say to me that it's time to get rid of the Seneca casinos and follow Governor Cuomo's lead. I'm not sure that's a good idea, but sentiment is hot right now.
Furthermore, painting all Senecas with a broad brush is simply wrong. In the end, one lunk-head whose ethnicity is incidental made a stupid move that led to a melee. That's all this should be. But it's become much more and the repercussions from Niagara Falls to Albany will be felt for some time.
February 15, 2012
That being said, the Republicans clearly have a problem. Because none of the potential nominees have been able to ingratiate him or herself to Republicans, we've seen most of them, at some point over the past few months, lead the polls among GOP voters.
From the beginning of the campaign for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney has been the chosen one. But the flip-flopping of leaders among GOPers reinforces the fact that Romney just doesn't have what Conservative voters are looking for in a nominee. I'm not talking died-in-the-wool, hardcore Conservatives, I'm talking moderate Republicans who believe in less government intervention in our lives.
Personally, I've never cared for Romney, and I am the epitome of the Republican voter who has oscillated between virtually every GOP candidate at some point during the cycle (with the exception of Paul, who's just a nutbag). I was with Cain, I was with Newt, I was with Perry, I was with Santorum, and I was with Huntsman. The one guy I've never been with is Romney. He doesn't do it for me. Clearly I'm not alone.
Just yesterday, four national polls released show Santorum either leading or tied with Romney among GOP voters. From virtual obscurity, Santorum is overtaken Romney. While I would love to hypothesize that it has something to do with Santorum's conservative philosophies, the reality is that Santorum's surge has as much to do with GOP voter's lack of satisfaction with what Romney brings to the table.
In the end, I'll vote for the GOP candidate that gets the nomination against Obama, because Obama does not deserve another term. If that's Romney, so be it. But Romney, once considered a shoe-in for the GOP nomination, clearly has a significant disconnect with Republican voters, especially conservative Republicans. Whether or not he can bridge that gap remains to be seen.
February 14, 2012
Pentagon May Oust Troops Involuntarily to Meet Reductions in Obama Plan...
Government 'still getting bigger'...
Obama proposes pay hike for federal workers...
February 13, 2012
In case you missed it, the Niagara Falls Republican Committee, in cooperation with Laborers Local 91, decided to put together a grand sendoff for John Gross, who is about to head off to federal prison for 33 months after pleading guilty to failing to report more than $240,000 on his income taxes, and mail fraud and bid rigging involving work that Gross illegally obtained and performed for two Niagara County businesses.
I could care less what Local 91 does - they're not an entity that portrays themselves of the moral compass of the community, like GOP does. Local 91 doesn't have to recruit and elect individuals who are held to a greater standard than the rest of the community, like the GOP does. Local 91 doesn't have a responsibility in shaping the government in Niagara Falls, as the GOP does. They can honor anyone they want, and no one would say a word. The Niagara Falls, GOP, however, should have known better.
The justification by Niagara Falls GOP Chairman Bob Krause to honor an individual convicted of multiple felonies is almost as pathetic as the decision itself. Krause, in attempting to downplay the horrible decision stated, "He's not an ax murderer". Really? That's the standard in Niagara Falls when deciding who to throw a going-away-to-prison party for?
We all know that the Niagara Falls GOP is a pretty impotent organization. I understand that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is a significant handicap, but it seems that the NF GOP intentionally goes out of its way to use that handicap as an excuse for failure. If that committee is to ever become relevant, it must change its leadership and bring on people who understand not only the need for attracting and electing viable candidates, but understand honor, integrity and right from wrong.
February 10, 2012
We readily said yes.
Niagara Times has been the best independent voice for commentary in Western New York on everything from Niagara County politics to Buffalo Sabres hockey. It's also been one of the best sources for original news, often breaking local stories before the elite media at One News Plaza in Buffalo.
Frankly, we're proud to be a part of it.
And we're looking forward to communing with you, Dear Readers. After all, Niagara Times isn't about us. It's about this community - and making this community the place it's capable of becoming.
See you around the virtual water cooler.
February 9, 2012
I think this is an outrage and proves again that Catholics are the one group you can still pick on and the media will let you get away with it because they loathe the Catholic Church. But with everyone choosing sides on this, how is it possible that we have no idea where Reps. Hochul and Higgins stand on this issue?
Has it not yet dawned on the cub reporters and the Union Sun & Journal to pick up the phone and actually ask Hochul a difficult question? Is Mark Scheer at the Gazette so busy writing inane City Beats that he is unaware of the firestorm brewing on this? And of course, Stan Lipsey at the News has a man crush on Higgins which always explains a lot.
C'mon guys. Ask the simple question and report the answer. I'll even write it for you: Reps. Hochul and Higgins do you support the Obama Administration's policy that requires Catholic institutions to go against their believes and provide coverage that is in direct contradiction to their religious doctrine? I look forward to the answer.
For many of us, Niagara Times has been a must read every morning for the latest in news, rumor and analysis of all that impacts Niagara County and our state and region. But clearly posting every day for years by Hobbes has finally proven too much. Hence, an expanded list of bloggers.
I would figure the greatest part of a change of this nature would be that you may see different posts on this blog on the same topic which take different sides of the issue. I view that as a positive step because anything that is thoughtful and creates a conversation is a good thing.
So, welcome aboard and let's get at it.