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In what amounted to the first campaign speech of the election season, Mayor Paul Dyster last week told an audience of around 300 campaign contributors, city employees and bums trying to get out of the cold what a great job he's been doing over the past three years.

It was 60 days ago Monday that Dyster announced he would seek re-election as mayor. We know it was 60 days ago because his campaign newsletter, the Niagara Gazette, has kept the story the front page of its website for all that time, and there's a notation telling you how many days ago it was published.

What is it, exactly, that Dyster's done? According to the Gazette he's "shared successes" and "looks ahead."

Dyster claimed that paving 40 roads, a feat the Gazette described as "a record for a single year" without providing one single iota of data to back it up, constituted a great success. The problem is that mayors Anello, Elia, Galie and Palillo all claimed they had set the paving record. To find out whether or not any of them were telling the truth is a virtually impossible task that involves things like the length and width of the various thoroughfares, the depth of the asphalt poured onto them and other technical things that no newspaper reporter is equipped to analyze.

He then boasted about the creation of 200 new jobs at Globe Specialty Metals, Ashland Advanced Materials and Green Tire Systems.

"We're racing to the head of the line to create the jobs of the future," Dyster said.

He neglected to mention that those jobs came as the result of effort on the part of the county Industrial Development Agency. He also failed to point out that the 200 jobs hardly made up for the 350 jobs lost by the closing of Teletech, the 300 lost when the ACS call center and Harris Computer moved to the Town of Niagara and 32 eliminated by St. Gobain just a couple weeks ago.

Dyster had better be racing. Because right now he's way off the pace insofar as the creation of private sector jobs is concerned, or even of keeping the ones we already have. City Council Chairman Sam Fruscione, who may or may not be one of several Democrats to challenge Dyster in the September primary, said he was turned off by the mayor's stump speech.

"I thought I was attending a campaign fundraiser -- that's my initial reaction," Fruscione said.

Except that, unlike most campaign fundraisers, the tab for this one was picked up entirely by the taxpayers of Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Feb. 1, 2011