You’ve got to hand it to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. When the town he governs makes news because of some ill-advised, poorly planned out or just plain boneheaded decision, the thought process in question is generally so spectacularly ill-conceived that the resulting public fallout reverberates from coast to coast.
His decision to bolster sagging population numbers here by importing huge numbers of registered sex offenders and other paroled violent felons, for example, resulted in the city named to any number of “best of” lists.
Out of 994 municipalities in the State of New York, the popular website MyLife ranked Niagara Falls as the most dangerous place in the state.
Bethlehem, Yonkers, Clarkstown, Poughkeepsie, Jamestown, Newburgh, Utica, Albany, Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester, Buffalo and New York City. None can hold a candle to Niagara Falls when it comes to a resident's chances at being a victim.
In 2013, the year the latest statistics are available, for every 100 people living in Niagara Falls, there were nearly seven crimes - 3,391 total crimes in that year- 584 violent crimes - for a city of 49,574.
Nice job Mayor Dyster!
His plan to repopulate the city by paying recent college graduates thousands of dollars to live and work here met with similar national scorn after it was discovered that you couldn’t pay people to live in Niagara Falls.
Now there’s Totes McGoats, a Satanic looking mascot personified by former heroin dealer and current Dyster city employee James Dolson. At just 48 years old, Dolson has a checkered past.
The alleged drug deals with a police informant occurred Dec. 10 and 12, 2013, Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said. Both sales were captured on audio tape, he told Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.
Dolson pleaded guilty in June 2014, shortly before being tapped by Dyster to play a children’s character, Totes McGoats, a horned goat headed personification of evil designed to convince Niagara Falls children that recycling is “the right thing to do.”
"Totes is a cute animal mascot, kind of scary, actually," Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, admitting to the Satanic spawn. "But having an animal mascot, we think, is one of the ways that you can reach out to kids and get their attention."
Brooke D’Angelo, the former campaign hitwoman who was rewarded with a patronage position in the administration, said the whole thing was her idea.
"Clearly, I'm a PR and marketing genius,” she said, after video of the monstrosity went viral on the internet. “"We had hoped for a good reaction, but this is otherworldly.”
Take a convicted heroin dealer, dress him up in a cheap Halloween costume, give him a Twitter account and allow the national media to turn Niagara Falls into a laughingstock once again.
Classic Dyster. And one of the reasons that, no matter how many hotels get built here, visitors returning home still tell their friends to stay on the Canadian side.