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ANALYSIS By Frank Parlato Jr.

In the past few weeks, registered Democrats have been receiving in their mailboxes oversized postcards on cardboard stock -- political mailers, they're called.

Most of these have content attacking mayoral candidate John Accardo.

They were paid for by the Niagara Falls City Democratic Party Committee, run by and for the benefit of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.

Only those who support Dyster are endorsed by this committee. Only those who run against Dyster are attacked by this committee. Only those who run against Dyster have their nominating petitions challenged by this committee -- even if it means serving legal papers on the steps of a Catholic church, as Dyster did to Accardo last month.

This committee is led by gang of five : Dyster; his wife, Rebecca; former assemblywoman Francine Del Monte; Dyster campaign manager Craig Touma; and Dyster campaign aide and titular chairman of the committee David Houghton.

This committee allegedly represents the official Democratic Party in Niagara Falls.

The multiple mailers against Democrat Accardo cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are filled with innuendo and provable lies.

They are similar to mailers sent out four years ago attacking Lewis "Babe" Rotella. One depicted Rotella in a pothole, another at a pig trough.

Dyster claimed at the time he knew nothing about it. He was running for mayor, he said, to "change politics as usual." Yet Rotella was his only opponent in the Democratic Primary in 2007.

No one else stood to gain by the mailers attacking Rotella.

Now that Dyster is mayor, his negative campaigning need not be anonymous. It can be done by the official party, and Dyster can claim the committee is acting independently.

This shows he is above politics -- as he claims.

Also arriving are mailers intended to be entirely positive and inspirational, in Dyster's favor, sent in his own name.

A neat little plan: Negative mailers attacking Dyster's opponent are mailed by the Niagara Falls City Democratic Party Committee. Positive mailers come from Dyster himself.

Dyster's latest positive mailer has his picture on one side and only seven words: "We always believed things could be better.."

Really? Is that what "we" truly "always believed"?

Are streets better? Is crime lower? Is private development better? Are jobs more plentiful? Taxes lower?

Do you believe the city is better now than before Dyster was elected?

Are Dyster's out-of-town hires -- hired at $100,000-per-year because they are superior to us dumb locals -- making the place better?

If not, then who is this "we"?

Perhaps "we" refers to his Buffalo campaign contributors, who have done a lot better, getting unprecedented work from the Dyster administration -- dubious and expensive studies and legal work that rarely accomplish anything -- and who, in turn, have been unusually generous in gifting Dyster with campaign donations.

How do you think tens of millions of casino money vanished without a trace -- with nothing accomplished? Millions wasted in studies, grants and legal work for nothing -- always winding up in the hands of campaign contributors, always costing more than it should (as the Reporter has repeatedly exposed, naming names.)

That money could have helped revamp the city.

It is a scandal dwarfing anything former mayor Vince Anello, now serving time in federal prison, ever did.

Who would have thought that a Niagara Falls mayor would have more campaign contributors living outside Niagara Falls than people who live here? How could that be good for this city?

"Naturally, every politician solicits campaign donations. Your hope is that the people who donate won't expect special favors from you, but (will donate) to get good government," Dyster told the Reporter in January.

However, it can't be a coincidence that campaign contributors from Buffalo consistently emerge with work from the Dyster administration.

While Accardo, the subject of Dyster's vicious attacks, has all his campaign contributions coming from people of this city in modest amounts of $25 and $50, Dyster, whose mailers cost about $5,000 each, is rounding up scores of $1,000 donations from people who live and own businesses outside of Niagara Falls.

You don't believe it? Then go to the New York State Board of Elections website, look under financial disclosures, and look at the names and addresses of Dyster's campaign donors.

Then ask yourself: Why are so many owners, partners and top employees of design, architectural and engineering companies and law firms from Buffalo donating $1,000 or more to Dyster's campaign? Are they really that interested in good government in Niagara Falls?

Wait, I think I know their answer: "We always believed things could be better."

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 16, 2011