Bid Rigging at Niagara Falls State Park; Granite Gate exposed

September 2, 2017 Mike Hudson 9

Bid Rigging at Niagara Falls State Park

Will Granite Gate be ignored?

[see our earlier story for more info on how to blow $50 million paving over a state park]

By Frank Parlato

A case of apparent bid rigging at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, seems to have gone largely unnoticed. It occurred as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $50 million Niagara Falls State Park Landscape Improvement plan.

The genesis was 2012-13. The place was Saratoga Springs, near Albany. The players are a husband and wife, a father and daughter, and the taxpayers of New York State. read more

Learn about your government, it’s fun: Gov. Cuomo blew through $50 million at Niagara Falls State Park – mostly on pavers

September 2, 2017 Reporter 9

By Frank Parlato

Ever wonder why the Niagara Falls State Park looks so bad these days?

A horridly overpaved spectacle of bad and ugly pavement?

He cared enough to spend $50 million of taxpayers money to try to ‘improve’ Niagara Falls State Park. That Gov. Andrew Cuomo failed abysmally, should not be held against him. What the hell did he know about park improvement? He was just getting his feet wet.

It occurred thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $50 million Niagara Falls State Park Landscape Improvements plan. It was an “improvement’ of historic proportions.

But give him a little slack. After all, it made great headlines. Spending all that money on a famous and historic park made everyone who read about it, but did not see the aftermath, think Gov. Cuomo was quite a spiffy gent bent on a road of good intentions. read more

Copy of Niagara Falls Draft Audit

September 1, 2017 Staff 15

Mayor Dyster, do-nothing Council to thank for City of Niagara Falls’ Looming Fiscal Nightmare

September 1, 2017 James Hufnagel 6
“The City’s adopted general fund budget for 2017 was approximately $93 million.” With casino revenue going away, it’s about to hit the fan, and we don’t mean this pie.

It hit us right between the eyes the instant we pulled it up on the computer.

The as yet-unreleased New York State Comptroller’s draft audit, or “Report of Examination – City of Niagara Falls Financial Condition” for the period from January, 2015 to late June of this year, admonishes at the bottom of each and every page, in bold capital letters:

“*DRAFT – NOT INTENDED FOR EXTERNAL DISTRIBUTION*”

“CONTAINS NON-FINAL, INTRA- AND/OR INTER-AGENCY MATERIALS THAT MAY BE EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW.” read more

Former Gazette Publisher runs for City Council

September 1, 2017 Staff 8

Why I’m running, where I stand

By Chris Voccio

On May 12th of this year I turned 50 and I retired from the newspaper industry, where I spent 30 years. Late that afternoon I also announced my candidacy for Niagara Falls City Council. That wasn’t originally part of the plan.

Retiring at 50 was a goal I set years ago as I began to embrace minimalism and simple living, reducing my expenses and building my savings. When I moved to Niagara Falls to turnaround the finances of the Niagara Gazette, I knew I would be retiring soon, and Niagara Falls’ low housing costs along with its great quality of life, especially for people who like the outdoors, made it a good prospect for my retirement. read more

Financial Pro Amber Hill States her case for Council

September 1, 2017 Staff 4

By Amber Hill-Donhauser

My name is Amber Hill-Donhauser, and I am running on the Democratic line for Niagara Falls City Council. I wish to take one of the three spots that are available in this election, preferably the position to be left open by a retiring council member.

I grew up in Niagara Falls between MontEagle Ridge Estates and Packard Court, and then moved to the Tuscarora Reservation at the age of 10. I graduated with an Advanced Regents Diploma from Niagara Wheatfield, where I participated in many sports and extracurricular activities. I attended Syracuse University and received my degree in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Policy, with a minor in Legal Studies and Native Studies, while also playing Division 1 lacrosse and holding a full-time Student Supervisor position with the Department of Public Safety on campus. I returned home to raise my daughter and reintegrate back into our community. read more

Council Candidate Pascoal Opposes Reassessment

September 1, 2017 Staff 5

By Robert Pascoal

There is a fundamental difference between policy and politics. Politics is when what you do is motivated by how you can better the members of your party. Policy is when you are motivated to improve the general good of people regardless of party. I’ve always believed in policy over politics. Policy that benefits all people.

That leads me to the subject of reassessment. Is reassessment policy or politics? Some would have you believe expressing your opinion to City Council against reassessment is political. One councilmember referred to my opinion as “vengeful desires.” I disagree. Reassessment and how it is implemented is public policy because it affects everyone in the city. It affects property owners, business owners, and renters. read more

Council Candidate Thomason Opposes Reassessments

August 25, 2017 Staff 33
By Candra Thomason I want you all to ask yourself this question: “Do the homeowners of Niagara Falls want their property assessments to rise between 17 and 40 percent next year?” That is the vital question facing voters this fall. We can’t afford to make the same mistake we made when Dyster dropped this bombshell of citywide reassessments on the city less than a week after his 2015 re-election. Add that to having the highest crime rate in the State, lack of substantial economic development and this administration’s failure to provide us with the basic quality of life issues and these are just a few of the reasons I am running.

The two incumbents up for re-election this year are staunch supporters of Dyster’s plan to fix his increasingly upside-down budget on the backs of residents and business owners. You can very well imagine that if they hold the majority of votes on the council once again we can expect another post-election deception. read more

Reassessments are on the Table Again City Council Members Touma & Grandenetti Led the Charge to Reassess Us in 2016 And Now They Want Our Vote – Well We Say No!

August 18, 2017 Staff 75

By Committee to Stop the Reassessments & Continuous Tax Increases

The “hidden tax increase” called “reassessment” is back on the table for the residents and business owners of the most highly taxed City in the nation. In addition, to add insult to injury, it was recently announced that a reassessment would increase property taxes by at least $9 million a year at the current tax rate.

So here we go again, fighting a fight that we thought was over. However, this time we will show our objection to a reassessment at the election booth this September and again in November. We will pay close attention to where our City Council candidates stand on this very important issue, as they should fight for US; we should not have to keep fighting them. read more

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk or Discharged Dark Water

August 18, 2017 Staff 62

For Niagara Falls residents, Saturday, July 29, 2017 will be a date that will live in odifery.  That’s the day the Niagara Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant released untold gallons of sewage and sediment into the Niagara River, causing a disgusting black discharge that enveloped a Maid of the Mist boat, its dock, and the shoreline.  A fetid stench enveloped the area, killing the appetites of nearby tourists and generally making the case for a rotten day.

By the following Sunday morning, the dark water and its smell were gone, but the controversy lingers on, much like a foul odor.  On August 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate the incident.  They had almost immediately concluded that there was a clear violation of water quality standards. read more

Did Mayor Dyster’s “Friends and Family” policy cause Sewage Spill?

August 18, 2017 James Hufnagel 43

When Paul Dyster ran for the office of mayor of the city of Niagara Falls back in 2007, he promised an end to the traditional “friends and family” approach to running government. Over the succeeding years of his tenure at City Hall, however, it’s become clear that the campaign rhetoric that emanated from the man with two college degrees in political science, and the reality that ensued, are two entirely different things.

Indeed, Mayor Dyster has elevated political cronyism to new heights. For example, consider his appointments to the Niagara Falls Water Board, which is currently under intense scrutiny from a half dozen different regulatory and law enforcement entities over the blackish, smelly discharge into the Niagara River that nauseated passengers on the world-famous Maid of the Mist boat ride below the falls on a July Saturday in the middle of the busy tourist season. read more

Unemployment, Crime, Poverty, Taxes, Potholes, Credit Downgrades afflict City of Niagara Falls

August 18, 2017 James Hufnagel 73

Despite 160 Tourists for each and every Resident

Unemployment is a hardship, so much so that it comprises half of something called the Misery Index, a widely cited economic indicator (the other half is inflation).

Unemployment is connected with all kinds of community, family and individual dysfunction. It leads to increased alcohol consumption and drug abuse, spousal arguments, domestic violence and other health and legal problems. Unemployment is linked to depression, anxiety disorders, increased stress-related symptoms such as fatigue or headaches and prevalence of medical illnesses in general, as well as higher rates of crime and lower rates of volunteerism on the community level. read more