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When Mayor Paul Dyster isn't congratulating himself on a project he originally opposed but that was made possible by the county Industrial Development Agency, he's hard at work signing letters written by his campaign handlers.

Two weeks ago, he sent out a letter warning voters not to fall for a "smear campaign" started by "a handful of powerful and wealthy people." The letter also provided a link to a website called Niagara Fights Back, where upright citizens can report attempts to smear Dyster.

Those visiting the website will see that Dyster himself is quite effective at smear campaigns. About half the content is devoted to slandering John Accardo, Dyster's main opponent in the upcoming Democratic primary.

It's all rather comical.

"They'll say my administration is under investigation," Dyster warns. "That's a lie. The FBI has taken the extraordinary step of stating publicly there is no investigation."

You've got to hand it to him, because no one ever said his administration was under investigation by the FBI. He and Code Enforcement Director Dennis Virtuoso just made it up.

Actually, the Dyster administration is being investigated by the state Department of Labor for withholding information relating to the wages, benefits and work hours of Regional Environmental Demolition (RED), the city's main demolition contractor (see related story).

"They'll say I've tried to push certain elected officials out of office. Another lie," Dyster's letter continues. Here's he's talking about Bob Anderson, city councilman extraordinaire, who -- after serving eight years as one of the most popular and effective councilmen in the city's history -- was snubbed for endorsement by Dyster's hand-picked Democratic Committee.

Anderson said the deal-breaker was his refusal to pledge he would work for Dyster's re-election, both in the September primary and in November's general election.

Finally, the mayor -- who pushed for a height restriction of 80 feet on any new buildings downtown, made Main Street off-limits to auto dealerships and who actually argued against the IDA providing tax incentives for a developer who wanted to resurrect two moribund Buffalo Avenue hotels -- claims to be pro-business.

"They'll say I'm anti-business," Dyster wrote. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

A long line of people who have done business in Niagara Falls -- or tried to -- think otherwise.

Those must be the wealthy and powerful people Dyster referred to in his letter. Because the wealthy and powerful people who live and work in Buffalo, Clarence, Amherst and Williamsville are donating to the mayor's re-election, judging by his campaign finance reports.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com June 14, 2011