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By Mike Hudson

There's a grossly obese fellow named David Houghton running around town. He looks kind of like the actor in those "Leprechaun" movies except his hair is gray instead of red. His name is David Houghton, and he's the chairman of the city Democratic Committee.

He's also a real piece of trash. As in white trash.

The Niagara Gazette last week gave Houghton about 20 column inches in which he tried to convince people he's not a racist. He did this by attacking Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble and Niagara Falls City Councilman Bob Anderson, both of whom are black.

He is a racist, in other words, and a great personal friend of Mayor Paul Dyster.

He's also friends with a sometimes-batty old broad from Lewiston named Francine Del Monte. In fact, he lets her run meetings of the Niagara Falls Democratic Committee, even though she hasn't lived in Niagara Falls in many years.

Dyster, Del Monte and Houghton have created a political machine the likes of which has not been seen since the famous Beer Hall Putsch occurred in Munich back in 1923. Loyal party members are shunned, and people of color are purged.

Anderson has been a great friend of this paper. Even if he weren't, he's been a great friend of this country. A decorated and disabled Air Force veteran, he served for more than 20 years, retiring as chief master sergeant, the highest rank obtainable for an enlisted man.

When he left his country's service, he came to Niagara Falls and was elected president of the local Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), the largest union in New York state. On retiring from the school district and after suffering a stroke, he ran for City Council and won by one of the largest margins on record. When his term expired, he ran again, with similar results.

David Houghton, Paul Dyster and Francine Del Monte are not, collectively, fit to carry Bob Anderson's jock strap.

Renae Kimble is another Niagara Falls success story. Becoming involved in the Civil Rights movement as a teen, she put herself through college and received her juris doctorate degree. Recognizing that the city's black population was woefully under-represented in county government here, she brought a court case that led to the creation of a district in the city's North End.

That accomplished, she ran for the seat and won. That was 20 years ago, and the voters have returned her to that seat 10 times since. Renae has also been a great friend of this paper but, even if she weren't, she's been a great friend of this country.

Whom David Houghton is friends with -- aside from Dyster and Del Monte -- is another question. He's called both Anderson and Kimble "racist," which is pretty damn funny. People tell us he also has one of the greatest pornography collections ever assembled in Niagara Falls -- but, of course, we have no way of knowing whether that's true or not.

He screwed up on filing objections to the candidates he opposes in the coming election, and as a result, embroiled his pal Dyster in a four-way race just to get the Democratic nomination for mayor. Even if Dyster wins, he will lose, leading a badly fractured party into November's general election.

Houghton's vicious attacks against Kimble and Anderson guarantee that the only black vote Dyster will receive this fall is the one cast by his largely absent city administrator, Donna Owens, provided that she's not at her real residence out of state on Election Day.

Houghton cheered for Del Monte when she ran her spoiler campaign for the 138th State Assembly District last year on the cuckoo Working Families Party line, and the district was handed over to the Republicans for the first time in a decade.

And we know that Houghton has friends in high places over at the Niagara Gazette, the official organ for the Committee to Re-elect Paul Dyster. How else could he get his nasty and interminable poison-pen letters printed?

Poor Paul Dyster. Born with a silver foot in his mouth, the sad-sack has held elective office, both as a councilman and mayor, for most of the past 10 years. He's repeatedly voted for or initiated tax increases, created the city water board that now endangers our drinking water supply with radioactive chemical waste from fracking, attempted to pave over the bucolic Jayne Park on Cayuga Island, effectively shut down Lewiston Road and made the Robert Moses Parkway essential, and all but destroyed the city's Inspections Department in order to promote a political crony.

He'll tell you about the year he spent as a State Department intern, and by the time he gets done, you'll think he stared down the communist dictators and negotiated an arms agreement that once and for all made the world safe for democracy.

Dyster's the guy who was born on third base and grew up thinking he hit a triple. He's done a fine job of making himself unelectable, and he certainly doesn't need any help.

But he picked a wee little leprechaun named David Houghton to go to bat for him in the rough-and-tumble world of Niagara Falls politics.

He might just as well have picked Betty Boop.

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