While Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster concerns himself with building a cricket field, providing improved habitat for captive penguins and spending $262,000 to dedicate a park to a woman who never set foot in the city, more and more people are noticing the sad decline of this once bustling metropolis under his regime.
WGRZ Channel 2 this week began airing a five-part series about the decline of Niagara Falls, asking tough questions about the deplorable conditions residents are forced to endure and wondering frankly whether or not the city is so far gone to even be saved.
While these topics have been the bread and butter for the Niagara Falls Reporter since Dyster was first elected to the city Council in 2000, other media in the region have been loath to criticize or even question the mayor and his actions.
For his part, Dyster fired back Saturday night with a series of Twitter tweets that, among other things, called WGRZ “racist.” Providing a link to a site called RacismInAmerica that depicts white people waving Confederate and Nazi flags, Dyster wrote;
“WGRZ: Is this your audience for a hit job on Niagara Falls NY? If so, you’re doing great.”
“The new racism in America: Can’t attack the people so attack the place they live,” he wrote shortly afterward. “Let the bloggers take it from there.”
Unfortunately for Dyster, they did. On the Facebook pages dedicated to public affairs in Niagara Falls, reaction was swift and often brutal.
“How to lose an election in 140 characters or less,” wrote Mike Stella, referring to the character count limit of Twitter tweets.
“Maybe be had a few beers. Lol,” Tina Cosentino Flynn quipped.
“When you have no other defense, the race card is the best defense for Paul Dyster,” wrote Matthew Newman.
Anthony Sarratori wrote praising the WGRZ expose.
“I’m glad WGRZ put six anchors on this. Dyster can’t solve any critical issues. He throws money away to enhance his political agenda. Still I’m wondering. Is there a place where we can sign up to play cricket? When’s the next game? Does anyone know how to play the game?”
Referring to critics as racist is one step above calling them child molesters, but Dyster’s “they’ve got to live somewhere” policy towards child molesters and other registered sexual predators precludes his playing of that particular card.
Still, his remarks offended Joanna Jo Romano.
“He could never contend with the truth, he goes ballistic,” she wrote. “He knows he’s left this city in decay but he doesn’t want to own up to it ever. He’s never wrong, ever, and now he’s using the race card on us.”
Colleen Low Larkin accused the mayor himself of racism.
“The racism comment is deflection,” she wrote. “The real racism comes from him ignoring blight.”
With the primary election rapidly approaching, the political impact of WGRZ’s investigative report did not go unnoticed.
“WGRZ just gift wrapped the election,” wrote Gregg Larkin. “Who is going to open the box?”
Can Dyster survive his reelection bid without the aid of a press corps dedicated to primping and puffing up his photo ops while ignoring the wretched conditions of the city he allegedly governs?
Maybe we’re going to find out.