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Democrat Laible Wrests Control of City Dems

Alicia Laible is a Dyster supporter

Johnny Destino ran against Dyster.

Alicia Laible, failed Niagara Falls City Council candidate and devout ally of Mayor Paul Dyster, has wrested the reigns of city Democrats away from longtime party member Rick Williams and attorney Johnny Destino in what some view as a last ditch effort to save the Dyster administration's chances of retaking control of the council.

We reported last week that Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster made the decision to install Williams and Destino as co-chairs after former City Chairman Nick D'Aloise tendered his resignation. It appears that once the city committee realized that they weren't going to be able to deny incumbent Councilman Sam Fruscione the party endorsement, Laible, who was first vice chair, invoked Roberts Rules of Order and seized upon the fact that she was next in line of succession to D'Aloise.

She took back, at least temporarily, control to, as some observers suggest, protect the mayor's need to endorse candidates for council who will vote as he directs.

According to sources, committee members loyal to Dyster are intent on throwing their support to three candidates that they hope will topple the council majority of Fruscione, Bob Anderson, and Chairman Glenn Choolokian.

It's interesting to note that such game playing two years ago by Dyster Democrats on the city committee led to Laible's defeat and Choolokian's victory. The brain trust decided to forego endorsing Anderson for re-election despite the fact that he was a citywide favorite (and perennial top vote getter).

Anderson's appearance on the Republican, Independent and Conservative lines gave Choolokian the votes he needed to narrowly put him over the top of Laible. He won by slightly more than 200 votes.

As it stands now, the City Democratic Committee is poised to endorse incumbents Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker, and newcomer Andy Touma over Fruscione. Also in the mix is Joe Swartz, the 23 year-old candidate who has been critical of incumbent Grandinetti for improperly taking a family health insurance plan opt-out payment instead of the single plan rate and is continuing to pay back the overage with taxpayer money.

The biggest difference between 2011 and 2013 for the city Democrats to consider is the fact that city Republicans will have three of their own candidates in the mix. It's conceivable that Dyster's support on the council could get worse before the year is out. If either Grandinetti or Walker fails to make it through the primary, Dyster loses a key ally and will begin the second half of his second term as a lamer duck than he already is.



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

JUN 11, 2013