On Monday, Aug. 8, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster appeared on the Tom Darro WJJL radio call-in talk show. Dyster was not at his best.
He made excuses for not fighting harder to get the casino money, saying he is using his superb knowledge of negotiating to play his cards correctly.
He declined to comment on the death of the poor man on his bike who fell into an open catch basin on 17th Street -- saying it was a legal matter and he had to remain quiet.
An angry caller asked him why he was unconcerned about the high number of sexual predators living in the city. Dyster once famously said that they "have to live somewhere."
Niagara Falls has more than 450 registered sex offenders, the highest per capita rate in the state. Sex offenders are one reason the city inched past the 50,000 benchmark for small cities in the U.S. Census -- with 50,150 people in 2010.
On Darro's show, Dyster danced around the subject, ultimately blaming it on the state, but it is a fact he supported former state assemblywoman Francine Del Monte, who sponsored a liberal law in Albany to help make it easier for registered sex offenders to get attractive housing in Niagara Falls.
Darro bailed Dyster out several times during the show when a call became uncomfortable. And Darro never asked any hardball questions about economic development, rising crime, the horrible conditions of the city streets, the Nik Wallenda wire walk, which Dyster opposes, or Dyster's dirty-tricks campaign against John Accardo.
The final caller was a woman who never identified herself, but sounded an awful lot like Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti.
She told the mayor he was wonderful, he should "keep his chin up," and said the downtown was full of live music and entertainment like never before.
I wonder if she was counting as "live music" the spontaneous booing he got at the last two Hard Rock concerts on Old Falls Street?
The catcalls and booing when the mayor appeared onstage were almost symphonic in grandeur.
By the way, the billion-dollar Hard Rock Cafe Corp. gets exclusive concessions for these free outdoor concerts, while the suckers who pay taxes in Niagara Falls fund it. No one bothered to ask Dyster why the Hard Rock can't pay for its own concerts.
But Dyster had reason to complain. After all, he secured taxpayer money for these poorly attended concerts, for which he gets to pick the acts. Then he goes backstage to share adult beverages with the has-beens, introduces the acts -- sometimes in a state of obvious intoxication himself by then -- then enjoys the concert, drink in hand, in the VIP tent.
After the mayor got more than $600,000 of the taxpayers' hard-earned money to put on these fun-for-him and profitable-for-the-Hard Rock Cafe concerts, the people booed him.
It reminds me a little of poor O.J. Simpson, who complained about everyone making big bucks off his murder case, as everyone booed and hated him.
"And I'm the guy who did all the work," Simpson said.
One negative note was sounded on Darro when the mayor referred to a local publication that has been relentlessly attacking him.
He did not name names, but I am reasonably confident he was not referring to the Niagara Gazette.
Dyster will return to Darro's show on Monday, Sept. 12, the day before the Primary. That will be in effect a one-hour advertisement for his re-election.
Therefore, I would like to call upon Darro to do something brave and honest: Invite the other three candidates to appear on the show as well. It is only fair to let voters hear all four voices on the day before the Primary.
The Reporter will announce Darro's decision in this space.
I'll wager the other three Democratic Primary candidates -- John Accardo, Carnell Burch and Norton Douglas -- will agree to appear, if invited.
I will wager further, if Darro tells Dyster that he is to appear on the show with his opponents, Dyster will refuse to appear.
As to the Nik Wallenda tightrope walk, you have to be amused.
First Dyster was dead-set against it -- perhaps because Republicans state Sen. George Maziarz and state Assemblyman John Ceretto sponsored it.
"We're concerned about (copycats); we're also concerned about our first responders, who would have to go and rescue people," Dyster told the Los Angeles Times.
Dyster worked hard to kill the event that promises to bring more people to Niagara Falls -- at no cost to the city -- than all the taxpayer-funded Hard Rock concerts put together.
Dyster's objections were carried in many of the more than 500 news stories worldwide reporting the proposed Wallenda walk.
These Wallenda stories brought Niagara Falls a lot of great publicity. Wallenda reminded the world there's something mighty here that a man might challenge. That's what caught the world's attention -- not only the daredevil, but what he would dare. Millions of readers thereby were reminded that Niagara Falls itself might be worth seeing.
Dyster was the only voice from any elected official opposing it on either side of the river.
After Wallenda came to town recently, with a near-battalion of national pressmen trailing him to cover this daredevil event of worldwide interest, now all but a done deal, Dyster suddenly went silent. Is he no longer opposed?
Next -- mark my words -- in keeping with the character of the man, he soon will be taking credit for the entire event.
Many readers were shocked and angered to learn that Dyster had his process server hand John Accardo a subpoena -- in an unsuccessful attempt to kick Accardo off the ballot -- right on the steps of St. Joseph's Church.
One surprised reader said, "Where, anywhere, is this type of behavior deemed appropriate? In what world is this classy? In what world does this make people want to vote for you?"
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Aug. 16, 2011|