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A proposal by the Liberatore Management Group and backed by unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino would place a state Division of Parole reporting office in a residential neighborhood near Sixth Street at Walnut Avenue on land formerly owned by the Niagara Falls City School District, sources in Albany confirmed over the weekend.

While the New York Office of General Services request for proposals specifically states that "Qualified sites cannot be located near residential areas, schools, churches, day care and child care facilities nor places where children gather," local parole officers are said to be lobbying hard for the Walnut Avenue facility.

Frankly, it's a lousy idea. Niagara Falls has long been used by the state officials for the warehousing of human detritus, from generational welfare recipients being bused in from the Bronx to live in city housing projects to dangerous Class II and III sexual predators housed until recently in a shabby boarding house less than 1,000 feet from Niagara Street Elementary School.

A parole office located in an already endangered city neighborhood, serving convicted murderers, rapists, bank robbers and dope fiends is exactly what's not needed.

If the state must have a parole office in Niagara Falls, let it be located in a more suitable area. The north Main Street neighborhood, near the city's new courthouse and police station complex, is home to a number of buildings that meet the state's requirement for 10,000 square feet of space, and location there would further the Dyster administration agenda of turning the area into a one-stop shop for social services and criminal justice here.

And officials at all levels of government need to stop thinking of our city as a place suitable only for those who aren't wanted in other places, for development by only taxpayer-funded, not-for-profit agencies and the benefit of only those who are a part of the big government bureaucracy that has brought this city and this region to its knees over the past 40 years.

The nauseating patronage system that constitutes government here has created an elite ruling class, one made up of elected officials, paid bureaucrats and the special interests that contribute to political campaigns. The rest of us stand, noses pressed against the windows, wondering why we got left out.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Jan. 18, 2011