First and foremost I would like to thank you for your coverage of my desire to bring the Lewiston Police consolidation to a vote. I have enjoyed your coverage of recent happenings in the Niagara Falls and Lewiston area.
I admit I was a little hesitant to discuss the situation with you because off your uncanny way of depicting individuals in your sights.
But first a little about myself.
Long ago, I started work in a chemical plant. At that time we were the lowest paid and safety was non existent. Near and non ventilation.
I worked up in every position in the union and when I left I was the 2nd highest paid and, as president of the union, I personally ordered an employee to shut down a process for safety reasons.
The plant manager fired the employee.
As union president, I spearheaded a grievance, took it all the way to arbitration and won the case, with the employee getting hired back, with one year's salary and a safe and secure process being instituted thereafter.
It was the largest settlement obtained for our union.
Before leaving Minnesota to move here, I was involved in a development battle. The local politicians wanted condos on the river; taxpayers wanted a hotel.
The city postponed the decision until the hotel backers lost their financing.
On the night I delivered petitions at a council meeting not to sign a contract with the developers, I specified that, if they did allow condos, it would be wise to start construction in the least desirable spot on the riverfront and then proceed to the most desirable spot for fear that the developers would do the opposite and leave after taking the choicest parcels.
They took the deal,
At that point I sold my building and moved to Lewiston. One year later, I learned that the developer could not build and left losing a million dollars in fees plans etc. but the city was spared an unsightly half developed project.
Enough of the past.
To win this Lewiston police consolidation effort I need facts and, although the Lewiston police have made statements and questioned my agenda - intimating that I am distorting the facts to gain petitioners - I need to take the high road.
I started this petition to consolidate the Lewiston Police Dept not because of some hate for police but because of simple dollars and cents.
I am disappointed in Chief Chris Salada's questioning my agenda. My agenda is to keep taxes at a minimum and this is the first of many ways to start it.
We need to consolidate more: such as town and village water departments or, for that matter, the village and the town!
The water bill here for two restaurants is $14,000. If I water my lawn it is $400 a month.
They over charge us for water and use it as a slush fund.
There is a lot more to be done.
In the short term, I intend on filing freedom of information letters to get police expenses.
One thing I do know is that, if it the referendum to consolidate the police department passes, the village will save $286,000 right off the bat.
The main reason I am petitioning personally is on account of what happened at a public hearing in 2011 in the village. The trustees were to vote on dropping the force and not paying the town.
I was disappointed when the Lewiston Police force showed up and stood in a semi circle around taxpayers possibly intimidating any who were in favor of not paying.
I was one of the few who did speak out.
I later found out the law states the village does not have to pay extra for police coverage and police are nevertheless obligated to give police services as they do throughout the town.
I spoke to a village trustee about not paying the extra fees and he stated he would not be in favor for fear the police would not answer calls.
I also personally take offence to Chief Salada implying I am distorting the facts when I am getting petition signers. I used the CPA's statement on a budget shortage and tell people of a possible town tax.
I was surprised that a lot of individuals hardly wanted the budget facts. In fact I just mention consolidation of the Town Police and they are ready to sign the petition.
As far as rumors that most of the signatures are false or are mostly coming from Sanborn, these are also false. Signatures are coming from every area in the town: The Escarpment, River walk, Sanborn ,Colonial Village, Hewitt Dr., Ransomville, the Circle, Mountview area etc.
I also wish to lay to rest rumors that the police are saying that we want to drop police coverage. We are asking for like coverage from the county.
Also of note: Town Supervisor Dennis Brochey and Finance Director Paul Kloosterman approached me at town hall and questioned my statements to gain petitioners. I showed them statements regarding a budget deficit Brochey had made.
I also told him I used to be a union official and maybe we should negotiate, lay off the part time officers, and when full time officers retire fill the position with the Sheriff's Department and have a gradual turnover, although savings may take a little longer.
In closing I want taxpayers to have a say.
The police intimidated us in 2011 and now we cannot petition?
How about our civil rights?