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City Hall Monitor

By Laura Desmone

Happy Together; The council majority with City Party boss Alicia Laible. L-r Kristen Grandinetti, Andy Touma, Laible, Charles Walker.
Mayor Paul Dyster with loyalist Kristen Grandinetti.

We want to give thanks to our friends at the Niagara Pipeline website (www.niagaraspipelne.com) for clueing its readers in on what may be shaping up to be a falling out between Mayor Dyster and councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti.

At the close of 2013, Grandinetti was lined up to assume the big seat as city council chairman. But along came Charles Walker and he craftily slipped the chair out from under her. Walker did so by enlisting the support of Glenn Choolokian and Robert Anderson who had less in common with Grandinetti than Walker.

With Councilman Andy Touma, an ardent Catholic having less in common with Grandinetti, an ardent pro-life advocate, and with Anderson and Choolokian for added support, Grandinetti lost any hope of being chairwoman despite her past blind support of Mayor Dyster.

Once Walker out maneuvered Grandinetti, she had no choice but to publicly go along on an ego bruising ride that ended with Walker as 2014 chairman.

Grandinetti was slated however to get a consolation prize: Her brother would be named to the Water Board, a choice plum since her brother is an engineer and worked for a company that developed a fracking waste water treatment plant in McKean County, Pennsylvania.

So, while rumors swirled as to who had encouraged Walker to make his move on Kristen for chairwoman, sources say Walker was tacitly supported by Alicia Laible, the City Democratic Committee chairwoman, in return for his support for her picking both the new council secretary, her Democratic party assistant Ryan Undercoffer and her father for water board.

The council's choice of a water board appointee is seen as pivotal to maintain a majority on the water board that favors the treatment of frack waste water at the Buffalo Ave, treatment plant.

It is no secret that the pro fracking industry offers rewards to ethically challenged politicians far better than the anti fracking groups and that fortunes will be made by cooperative individuals in the right places.

Last week, the council (with Mayor Dyster's tacit approval) appointed Alicia Laible's father, Gary Laible to the Niagara Falls Water Board, after it has been whispered for weeks that Kristen Grandinetti had the Dyster pump primed to appoint her brother to that slot. Grandinetti's brother, Vincent J. Grandinetti, is an engineer and an expert on fracking water water treatment.

Gary Laible is a retired union chemist with the water board and is viewed as quite ready to be persuaded to support the Dyster's plan of treating frack waste water at the Buffalo Ave, facility..

The curious part is that Dyster, who is believed to be more than ready to recommend the treatment of frack water in the city treatment plant, the Grandinetti appointment of her brother who made his career as an engineer in the fracking industry seemed to make sense... and as a just consolation prize for Kristen not being named chairwoman.

But along came Alicia and Kristen's brother was passed over.

Sources within the city and county democratic committees have told the Reporter that the Grandinetti-Laible catfight has been brewing for more than a year. They say that both of these strong-willed women are competing for the same two things: 1) to be recognized as the most effective female politician in the city and 2) to be seen as Mayor Dyster's "favorite."

The contrast between the two ladies is stark: Grandinetti is twice the age of newcomer Laible and is known for being an outspoken and capable campaigner. Laible is young, bursting with ambition, and is considered by those who know her to be far from the soft-spoken young lady she portrays in public.

As a famous English playwright once wrote: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. It looks like one of these women is going to win and one is going to be scorned. We'll keep you updated as this plays out, because as that English playwright wrote: The play's the thing.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Feb 11, 2014