Yo, Vincenzo. I hope you apologized to Jimmy Stewart last week. He was ready to dive into the deep end for you, and you repaid him by handing him a lead weight in the form of the golf course giveaway.
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Stewart flip-flopped on his promised vote, ultimately siding with you and giving the golf course to a bunch of bums who should've been run out of town in the first place. In return, you told him, he'd have all your support in the election.
Now everyone in town can see what your vow is worth.
The local daily called Glenn Choolokian's victory over Stewart last Tuesday a surprise upset.
Readers of the Reporter knew better. Way back in May we predicted that the race would mark the first referendum on the Anello administration.
And guess what? You lost.
Don't get me wrong.
I wanted Jimmy to win. He's a nice guy and has a genuine interest in the city.
We counseled him, in fact. He'd complain to us about you and we'd say, "Jim, just give Anello hell."
But he didn't. If he had, he probably would've won.
Stewart went in with the whole might of the Vince Anello-Tony Mondi-Frank Soda Democratic machine behind him. Which is to say he might as well have had no help at all.
The lifelong Democrats who largely staff this paper have come to the troubling conclusion that, in Niagara County, there isn't any Democratic Party.
It's my understanding that Frank and Tony have given up on trying to seek party office again.
You're out there on your own now, Vincenzo.
You must've seen the handwriting on the wall. Or at least in the windows of the Pine Avenue businesses that have managed to stay open despite your intrepid leadership.
"Choolokian," the signs read.
The people who put those signs out weren't impressed by your "master plan."
In fact, they weren't even impressed when Irene Elia presented it a year before you were elected.
Gov. George Pataki and USA Niagara Development CEO Charles Gargano are likewise unimpressed. Deciding that you couldn't be bothered to be in town on the day they came to dedicate the conference center was so petty, stupid and childish it deserves a special mention.
In fact, they should put a Hall of Fame of the Stupid in that conference center, just so you could be the first inductee.
But maybe I'm being too harsh.
Since becoming mayor, you've done a lot for your family, and that should be applauded.
Likewise, your efforts on behalf of some of your well-heeled friends show your appreciation for those gifts that keep on giving.
Now, in the wake of this little setback, you ought to give Jimmy Stewart a job too. After all, he fell on his sword for you, Vincenzo.
Not bloody likely, is it?
No, it's my guess that, in your delusional world, you won't see this as a setback at all. You'll cut and run on Stewart in much the same way you've cut and run on many supporters before him.
It'll be interesting to see, though, come January, what the dynamic of the City Council will have become. Glenn Choolokian ran against you for mayor last year, George Lodick's a Republican, Candra Thomason has publicly charged you with harassment, Babe Rotella or Charles Walker might run against you in the next election and Bob Anderson's been around long enough to know exactly which way the wind does blow.
I know you're not worried, Vincenzo. You're like that "Mad" Magazine guy, Alfred E. Neuman, "What? Me worry?"
And there's really no reason for you to worry. You're going to be in office until January 2008, come hell or high water.
People's memories will blur and, one day, you'll be looked back on by the people of Niagara Falls with the same nostalgia as Jake Palillo, Jimmy Galie and Irene Elia.
"Oh yeah, I remember," they'll say. "What a jerk."
You'll be the invisible man walking into Lou's Pete's Market House to get a sandwich for lunch.
You'll write letters to the editor in pathetic attempts to "set the record straight" concerning your years in office. You'll take to walking down one of the city's longer thoroughfares, buttonholing everyone you meet and telling them how much you could have accomplished were it not for all the negativity.
Until then, Vincenzo, I'll be around. Give me a call sometime.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Sept. 21 2004|