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By Mike Hudson

This week's Democratic Party Primary boils down to a choice between two men, incumbent Mayor Paul Dyster and Niagara Falls insurance executive, former city councilman and the candidate who last year rid us of the scourge that was Francine Del Monte, John Accardo.

Two other men, Carnell Burch and Herbert Lewis, are also in the fray, and both are good men. But their combined lack of experience at the executive level gives us pause. After all, it was but four years ago that we elected Dyster, who had no executive experience whatsoever, and it's turned out to be a disaster for anyone interested in the betterment of this city.

Clearly, there is only one choice on Tuesday, and that choice is John Accardo.

Accardo combines political savvy with real-world business experience on a level far above any of the other candidates, including Dyster. And while the mayor's campaign has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions coming from Buffalo, Albany, New York City and as far away as California, Accardo has done a shoe-leather run financed almost entirely by city residents fed up by the inertia of the past four years.

Dyster's record may best be measured by the numbers. As in the number of businesses that have closed, the 5,000 men and women collecting unemployment, or the approximately 30,000 Niagara Falls residents living on food stamps, welfare or some other form of government subsidy.

Accardo makes no apologies about his pro-business stance and, unlike the mayor, he has been a fixture on the business scene here for many years. He knows what it takes to make a go of it in tough times and has the toughness and acumen to get it done.

Contrast this with the current policy of City Hall, where entrepreneurs are routinely told why they cannot do what they're willing to invest their own hard-earned dollars into doing. While Dyster seems to think that government is the solution to every problem, Accardo is smart enough to know that government can be and often is a major stumbling block in the creation of new businesses, new jobs and new wealth.

John Accardo knows how to create jobs. He's done it. His Accardo Agency, located for years on Pine Avenue in the center of the city's business district, long has been a success. He works hard, often keeping the office open into the evening hours for the convenience of his clients. Dyster's sole claim to entrepreneurial success is a hobby home-brewing supply store that is open just 36 hours a week and is located on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda. Asked why he didn't open his little store in the city he professes to love, he said that it "just didn't make any sense" to try and do business in Niagara Falls.

The choice is clear, and it is yours.

One other race has assumed an importance not normally given in a primary. Bob Anderson has been a city councilman here for the past eight years. He's run twice, and come out as the top vote-getter in each of those elections. He gives 100 percent of the annual stipend paid to all city council members to various charities in Niagara Falls and often has served as the lone voice of reason on the largely dysfunctional council.

He rose to the rank of master sergeant in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and later became president of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) here when he worked for the school district following his military retirement.

But when the time came for the city Democratic Committee to make its endorsements for council candidates, they rejected Anderson. David Houghton, Dyster's pick for city Democratic chairman, an unemployed telephone solicitor who was recently evicted from his $400-a-month apartment, was miffed because Anderson refused to take a loyalty oath supporting the mayor.

For that alone, Anderson deserves your enthusiastic vote. He's running on every line, so he'll be kind of hard to miss.

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