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Dyster Claims He Was "Ambushed" By Kane at Radio Studio

By Mike Hudson

John Kane stands up for his people

Generally used to a fawning local media that regards him almost as a deity, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster thought all would be peaches and cream for him last week as he took a victory lap following announcement of the state’s settlement with the Seneca Nation of Indians.

The city will receive $89 million in past due casino revenue, a portion of the money that was withheld by the Senecas because of a dispute with the state.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life and, I’m sure, for the city of Niagara Falls,” Dyster gushed at a local newspaper reporter.

But when he tried to extend his back patting tour beyond the physical boundaries of Niagara Falls, Dyster ran into a bit of opposition and criticism.

And when that opposition and criticism threatened to rain on his parade, the mayor turned tail and ran like a little girl.

Dyster appeared on John Zach’s Friday morning WEBN radio talk show alongside Native American activist and broadcaster John Kane to discuss the settlement. (Full disclosure – I’ve appeared on Kane’s “Let’s Talk Native” radio show on wwkb1520 a couple of times and we got along fine.)

After Dyster got through talking about how great the deal was for everyone concerned, Kane commented on some of the harsh rhetoric used by politicians during the negotiating process.

“There were some pretty venomous conversations played out in public, both by the governor and by the mayor here,” Kane said. “There should be an apology both from the governor and, frankly I think that Paul Dyster owes the Seneca people an apology.”

Dyster quickly became agitated and reacted angrily.

“If this keeps up I’m leaving. OK? This isn’t why I came here this morning. You know, you must be the one guy in Western New York who’s not happy with what’s happened here. Right? This is… It’s outrageous. Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Kane did his best to keep the dialogue going.

“You don’t think it’s outrageous you were threatening to pull fire support from the Senecas?” Kane asked.

“I never said that,” Dyster spat, tearing off his headphones and storming out of the studio.

Zach, who has been a radio broadcaster in Buffalo for more than a half century, was clearly stunned. He quickly broke to a commercial and went to try and reason with Dyster in the hallway.

But the mayor would have none of it, skedaddling back to the safety of Niagara Falls, his loving wife Becky, and trusty sidekick, City Administrator Donna Owens. 

Dyster did, in fact, say that fire protection for the Seneca Niagara Casino might be endangered should casino revenues continue to be withheld from the city in a 2012 interview, but when questioned he explained that he was simply talking about “worst case scenarios.”

Later, Dyster seemed to compare himself to Niagara Falls pioneer John Stedman, telling sympathetic media outlets he’d been “ambushed” by Kane, who is a member of the Mohawk Nation and lives on the Seneca Cattaraugus reservation.

Stedman was of course ambushed by a mixed band of Seneca and Mohawk warriors on Sept. 14, 1763, in what later became known as the Devil’s Hole Massacre. Like Dyster, Stedman ran from the scene of the fight, leaving the 25 men under his command that day to die at the hands of the superior Native American force.



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

JUN 18, 2013