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The decline of the city Democratic Committee, which began the day Paul Dyster took office, reached its nadir last week when Lewiston resident and notorious sore loser Francine Del Monte presided over a meeting at which candidates for City Council were interviewed.

Del Monte, you'll recall, was beaten badly in last year's Democratic Primary by John Accardo after having served without distinction in the state Assembly for a decade. She continued to campaign on the lunatic fringe Working Families Party line and managed to siphon enough votes away from Accardo to hand Republican John Ceretto the seat.

OK, so she was a lousy Assembly representative, she ran against the Democratic Party in the last election and she's not a resident of Niagara Falls. So why on earth would city Democrats allow her to run their meeting?

The upshot of the whole thing was that Councilman Bob Anderson -- who has served with distinction for the past eight years here -- did not get an endorsement. No surprise there. Anderson has been sharply critical of Del Monte's handling of a number of issues over the years, particularly the botched negotiations with the Seneca Nation of Indians that led to the opening of the casino here.

Instead, two Del Monte-approved automatons by the names of Alicia Liable and Don Zambotti were endorsed by the committee. Others passed over included longtime community activist Candace Corsaro and former city councilman Glenn Choolokian, who gave up his seat to run for mayor in 2003.

Clearly, Del Monte picked the most inexperienced outsiders from the pack of potential candidates because she wants to be able to control them in the same way that she does the Democratic Committee.

Dyster's role in this abomination should not be overlooked. After taking office in 2008, he began to systematically dismantle the committee, replacing longtime leaders with those best known for their apple-polishing abilities. This was done in a fit a pique over the fact that the committee had chosen Babe Rotella as the endorsed candidate in the 2007 election.

Anderson served 22 years in the Air Force, was the president of the CSEA while working for the city school district following his military retirement, and has donated every penny of his City Council pay to local charities.

His snubbing at the hands of Del Monte and the committee is a slap in the face of African Americans, veterans, union members and anyone interested in good government here in Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com May 10, 2011