Were the 2015 Democratic mayoral primary limited to participation only by the residents of 72nd Street who are now looking grimly forward to spending a third winter without running water, incumbent Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster would already be cleaning out his office.
On 72nd Street, all of the signs point to a landslide in favor of the challenger, city Councilman Glenn Choolokian. Literally.
It started a couple of months ago, when “For Sale” signs sprouted up on lawns throughout the area. After going from February to April with no running water, the thoughtful homeowners added “Water Seasonal” to the signs.
The water mains on 72nd Street froze last winter and the winter before as a result of a 2010 street repaving project that left them uninsulated and too close to the surface. For around $300,000, less than half the cost of Dyster’s Hard Rock Café concert series, the problem could have been taken care of when the repaving project was ongoing.
But the city Water Board, an entity Dyster largely created while he was a city councilman, refused to pay for having the work done properly.
Last week, new signs began appearing alongside the “For Sale: Water Seasonal” placards. There are Choolokian’s standard campaign signs, but also a number of homemade wooden jobs in the shape of a water spigot.
They read, simply; “Mayor Glenn Choolokian.”
Funny stuff. But for Dyster and the city, as well as the 72nd Street residents themselves, the end result may be no laughing matter.
After Dyster last week told reporters that the water main problem may not be addressed in time to prevent a three-peat of the past two winters’ freeze up, some residents became fed up to the point where a class action lawsuit against the city is being contemplated.
It could cost the city millions.
Dyster’s intransigence and inability to provide a vital and basic service that residents of every city in the country have a right to expect – running water – characterize an administration that can be increasingly summed up in a single word.
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