Though Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster managed to eke out a 47 percent “victory” in the recent mayoral election thanks to spoiler Glenn Choolokian’s write in campaign, his popularity is arguably at the lowest ebb of his political career.
So much so that the overwhelming response to state Sen. Rob Ortt’s plan to triple the amount the city receives in slot machine revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino was opposed by an overwhelming majority of commentators on the Facebook pages dedicated to Niagara Falls on the logic that it would just give Dyster three times as much money to squander!
“There is no question that this proposal will only help those with their hands in taxpayer’s pockets,” said Bob Ballentine. “Dyster’s history with the casino credit card is pretty evident.”
Dave Kopczynski agreed.
“Dyster and the council will just waste it,” he wrote.
Joanna Jo Romano congratulated Ortt for a brilliant plan, but cautioned him against throwing the additional revenue down the same black hole as the nearly $200 million the city has actually received.
“Bravo Senator Ortt!” Romano wrote. “If and when we receive this money, there has to be stipulations on the spending. You can't allow Paul (Dyster) and the self-servers to squander it. They are selfish and incompetent individuals who have no consideration for the tax base. They should have never gotten away with that spending. That was one of the worst blows to our city next to Lackey's rule.”
Alisa J. Pucci agreed.
“One thing that worries me is if Sen. Ortt gets us the increase, where will it be squandered?” Pucci asked. “We won't see it. Not if it lands in the hands of the mayor and Council.”
Robert Ventry also argued for stricter controls on how the money is spent. Like many here, he can’t believe that Dyster managed to squander nearly $200 million and have nothing to show for it.
“I believe if this does happen, we would need more controls in place to detail on how and what it could be spent on,” Ventry wrote. “We had the perfect opportunity to rebuild our city, and that opportunity looks like it's going down the drain.”
David Cuomo said that the fault was that of the Senecas or the state. He expressed amazement at the thinking of Niagara Falls voters.
“The citizens of Niagara Falls just reelected this administration back into office and are now going ask for a renegotiation because the funds are being mismanaged?” Cuomo asked. “They should have thought about that before they put the same group of people back into office.
“The only ones to blame for the mismanagement of casino funds Is Paul Dyster and his city cronies, who care more about lining their own pockets than taking care of the people of Niagara Falls,” he continued. “The reason the casino is the largest employer in the city is because Dyster has done nothing to bring a living wage jobs to the people of Niagara Falls.”
It’s kind of ironic really, Dyster gets reelected and the Niagara Falls Reporter is more popular than ever. It’s probably not too far off to say that these next four years might be pretty interesting.