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By Mike Hudson

The recent flurry of pro-Dyster articles written by the Niagara Gazette's man at City Hall, Mark Schill, er, Scheer has prompted many here to ask whether or not the reporter is angling for a job in the second administration should Dyster be re-elected. Scheer denies the allegations.

Scheer's most egregious story, "Dyster strikes back in mayoral race," was both comical and pathetic. It appeared on July 2, and in it Dyster is permitted to say that his Democratic Primary opponent, John Accardo, has accused him of trying "to push certain public officials out of office" and being "anti-business."

Actually, Accardo said neither of those things -- I did. The Accardo campaign has not, in fact, sent out a single mailer, and no newspaper, television or radio report can be found quoting him to that effect.

Dyster and Scheer seem to have Accardo confused with me, which seems kind of screwy, because John is quite a bit taller than I am.

But neither Dyster nor Scheer ever mentions the Niagara Falls Reporter or me personally in the article.

And I can tell you why. Three weeks ago, my business associate, Frank Parlato, received a phone call from Scheer asking for comment on a May 21 campaign mailer Dyster sent out. I told Frank that of course I'd sit down with my old friend Mark at any time or place he wanted. But there was one stipulation.

"Tell Mark I'll meet with you and him, but I want to record the meeting and have everything that everyone says be on the record," I said, adding that I particularly wanted to ask Scheer about the widespread rumors of him taking a City Hall job, and writing Dyster's speeches and campaign literature.

Much to my surprise, we never heard back from my former colleague. Actually, I wasn't surprised at all. I knew it would be a deal-breaker.

This left Scheer with a problem: How to write an article amplifying everything contained in Dyster's campaign mailing without interviewing the person who wrote the things Dyster was "striking back" at?

Easy. He simply removed every reference to the "Reporter" or "Mike Hudson" and replaced them with John Accardo's name. I felt kind of bad for John, getting blamed for stuff I said.

Scheer allowed Dyster to attack Accardo for 10 full paragraphs before the victim of the smear job was permitted a response. Dyster said Accardo was a "Democrat in name only" -- when, in fact, John was a member of the party while Dyster was still in high school. Accardo was accused of being a spoiler candidate in last year's race for the 138th District State Assembly seat -- when, in reality, he won the Democratic Primary.

A fantastical scenario was laid out in which state Sen. George Maziarz was secretly backing Accardo in order to ensure victory for Johnny Destino, who will be running in November's general election against the winner of the Democratic Primary. Not one scintilla of evidence is presented for this wacky hypothesis, though Scheer presents it as though it were the law of gravity.

Finally, Dyster "questioned" the fact that, in the past, Accardo has accepted campaign contributions from Howard Milstein, who owns property here and was recently named by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as head of the state Thruway Authority, as though there was anything wrong with that.

Milstein's company, Niagara Falls Redevelopment, did indeed donate to the Accardo campaign last year. Why not? And in 2007, the Dyster campaign accepted Milstein's money.

By the time Accardo had a chance to respond, in paragraph 11 of the 24-paragraph story, the questions ran along the lines of "When are you going to stop beating your wife?"

Scheer's articles have been attached to Dyster's official campaign mailings, and the mayor regularly posts Scheer's writings on his Facebook page to show the world what a great job he's been doing.

In an e-mail response to the question of his future job prospects, Scheer denied the rumors about his future employment prospects.

"Del Monte never offered me a job and neither has Dyster," he wrote. "I'm not angling for any government job."

Niagara Gazette reporters have traditionally gone into Democratic politics by helping Democrats get into elective office. Francine Del Monte is the role model there. After her Gazette stint, she became the chief of staff to former assemblyman Joe Pillittere, and later became the Assembly representative herself after he retired.

Since then, Valerie Pillo left the Gazette to work for Del Monte; Theresa Martinez left for a political appointment; and most recently, the kid Nick Mattera quit journalism for a job as a cheerleader for the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.

Scheer must find it galling that so many of his friends and former colleagues have parlayed their meaningless journalistic careers into cushy government jobs, while he is forced to continue working for peanuts at the Gazette.

Is Scheer jockeying for some political appointment at City Hall? I don't know. But if he's not already being paid for turning the once-proud Niagara Gazette into the official campaign newsletter for the Re-elect Paul Dyster Campaign, he's selling himself short.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com July 12, 2011