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Anonymous Fliers Have No Place in Campaign

By Editorial

Cowardly flyers were sent to Niagara Falls residents and these say more about the people who sent them than the person who was targeted.

Anonymous political forces who wish to topple the three-person majority of the Niagara Falls City Council are taking aim at the one member of the three who is up for re-election this year: Sam Fruscione.

Flyers targeting Fruscione have started to surface, one of them featuring grainy images that focus on souvenirs with so-called mob features sold at the council member’s Falls Street Emporium shop. Another anonymous message suggests the majority is against development like the proposed Hamister hotel project on Rainbow Blvd.

Fruscione, along with incumbents Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker and newcomer Andrew Touma are competing in an open Democratic primary Sept. 10 for the three seats up in November’s general election. The other two members of the majority, Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Bob Anderson, are not up this year.

The anonymous flyers fail to note the work of the three-member majority, including Fruscione, in taking an axe to Mayor Paul Dyster’s “disaster” budget last December in the face of the gaming impasse and saving residents an 8.3 percent property tax increase included in the mayor’s proposed spending plan.

That same majority also cut more than $3 million of USA Niagara Funding that helped the city maintain services and save jobs and also avoided what could have been an expensive spin-up of state funds by the New York Power Authority to balance the budget.

In the tight and precarious budget crisis facing the city at that time, the council majority blocked so-called “disaster” measures like a big tax increase and opted instead to cut spending and protect taxpayers against more raids on the public treasury, a decision that was eventually rewarded when the state reached agreement with the Seneca Nation and the city finally received the $89 million in casino revenue that had been held hostage in the impasse.

Now, the council majority, including Fruscione, is under attack in some quarters for holding out for a better deal on the proposed $25 million Hamister hotel project that the council was expected to rubber stamp July 8, paving the way for the sale of the 310 Rainbow Blvd. parcel for $100,000 when there is a professional appraisal that pegs the property’s market value at $1.53 million.

And there are other questions about the agreement presented to lawmakers that Fruscione, Choolokian, and Anderson believe need to be answered before they can go along with the plan, although Choolokian said last week “it is doable” if the administration, USA Niagara, and the council get together and work through any differences which have been extensively reported on by this newspaper.

The anonymous flyers are part of what is expected to be a nasty campaign to break up the council leadership and loosen the tight-fisted approach that has been employed by the majority during the city’s ongoing fiscal crisis. We certainly encourage debate, but not the one-sided, anonymous attempts represented by the cowardly flyers that fail to recognize the important fiscal issues confronting this city.

Let’s get it out there in the open for everyone to see, and if a candidate or political party has something to say, stand up and be accountable. Don’t hide behind anonymous messages in an attempt to fool voters into believing there is something important about writing on a T-shirt or the picture of a hotel that may or may not be built.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

AUG 13, 2013