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You couldn't even make this stuff up. Millions upon millions of local, state and federal tax dollars go into the creation of a development of luxury condos to serve the city's poorest population, generational welfare cases, ex-convicts and others whose contributions to the public good range from slim to none, in one of the city's most dangerous and blighted neighborhoods, and somebody forgot to install street lights.

Since the time of Jack the Ripper, street lights have been seen as essential to ensure public safety, particularly in blighted areas that used to be called slums until someone got the idea that calling them that might be offensive to the people who live in them.

Quicker than you can say "low-income housing," slums started to be referred to as low-income housing and one perfectly good adjective was replaced with three less-satisfactory modifiers that in no way reflect the true nature of life in the ghettos of Niagara Falls or any American city.

Like cockroaches, those elements of society that prey upon the weak and defenseless prefer to operate in the darkness, where black clothing is all that is needed to effectively camouflage ones' presence in the night.

According to Housing Authority Director Stephanie Cowart, it is the city's responsibility to provide lighting on what are, after all, city streets serving the residents of the HOPE VI housing project.

Now that Mayor Paul Dyster no longer needs the city's black population to vote for him in a re-election bid, he's not so sure. He says he think's it's the responsibility of one of the HOPE VI contractors to arrange for lighting.

"We're going to have to sit down and work this out," he said, in one of his typically non-committal utterances. Councilman Charles Walker said the safety of the benighted HOPE VI residents is absolutely the city's responsibility, and City Engineer Jeff Skurka chimed in that it might be possible to jury-rig some lighted carts or something to provide the needed illumination.

Lighted carts. To serve and protect the residents of one of the city's lowest-income, yet most expensive neighborhoods.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Dec. 6, 2011