Republican mayoral contender Jim Szwedo is onto a hot new idea that, if it catches on, could go a long way toward sparing city taxpayers the burden of picking up the entire tab for ridiculous ideas put forth by elected officials here.
“My opponents, and every other politician running for office, have begun to have fundraisers to finance their campaigns.
After all, money wins elections, and negative ads and mailers are expensive,” Szwedo told the Niagara Falls Reporter. “So at this time, I wish to announce we will be having our first fundraiser. Unlike my opponents, 50 percent of the proceeds collected and donated to my campaign will not go into my political coffers, but rather to local charities.”
Szwedo, who said he will post the time and date of his first fundraiser on his Facebook page later in the week, said that throughout his campaign, half of all money raised will go to charity.
City Councilman Robert Anderson, who doesn’t really have fundraisers, generally pays for his campaigns out of his own pocket. But over his 12 years in office, Anderson has donated all of his Council salary to charities, usually those having to do with children.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster keeps all the money he raises, around $100,000 in the last election cycle alone. And his $78,000 salary? And he’s got a home beer brewing supply store in Tonawanda.
But just think. What if Dyster was moved by Szwedo’s altruism to donate half of his campaign fund money to charity? He could help out with the penguin habitat at the Aquarium of Niagara, build a cricket field at Hyde Park or even have a giant likeness of Harriet Tubman, who likely never set foot in Niagara Falls, emblazoned on the side of City Hall.
He could give money to the Seminole Tribe of Florida to hold a rock concert by some second rate band on Old Falls St. or pay for an encore of his Holiday Market, the 37- day extravaganza he staged a couple of years ago that was so ahead of its’ time it reportedly lost $1 million.
Szwedo said he will keep his promise regardless of the amount of money he raises over the course of the campaign. “Whether I collect $1,000 or $50,000, and whether I win or lose, we will have begun to make a difference in the quality of life for the citizens of Niagara Falls,” he said. The candidate said further details of his plan will be forthcoming.
“Over the next week or so, we will be selecting three or four grassroots, not-for-profit organizations that make a positive impact on the quality of life in Niagara Falls,” he said. “We will then donate half of the campaign contributions over cost to them. All of these contributions will be monitored by a CPA, to ensure, as always, full accountability to all contributors and the citizens of Niagara Falls.”