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Mayor Paul Dyster's hand-picked chairman of the city Democratic Committee, David Houghton, was recently fired from his job as a telephone salesman and evicted from his Zito Drive apartment.

Dyster, who hires only the "best and the brightest," was not asked to comment for last week's Niagara Gazette story on Houghton, lest the stink of yet another abject failure attach itself to him too closely.

Until recently, Houghton had been a telephone salesman for Par Med Pharmaceuticals, 4220 Hyde Park Boulevard, where he eked out a meager living shilling pills over the phone. After it was discovered that he was spending more time making calls on behalf of the Democrats than he was pushing pills, he was shown the door, sources close to the situation told the Niagara Falls Reporter.

His sudden unemployment caused him to fall behind on his $400-a-month rent, and his landlord took him to court.

In years gone by, a deadbeat like Houghton would have been shuttled off to debtor's prison, but in our enlightened age the agony of being the city's Democratic chairman will have to suffice.

Houghton was the genius who allowed Lewiston resident and fellow unemployed person Francine Del Monte decide which candidates would get the committee's endorsement. Together, they thought it would be funny to deny endorsements to every black candidate running for the mayor's job and two open City Council seats.

They went so far as to deny Councilman Bob Anderson, an eight-year incumbent who happens to be black, an endorsement. It wasn't because he was black, they said, but because he refused to sign a loyalty oath to campaign on behalf of Dyster.

Houghton was also the guy who screwed up the filing of objections against nominating petitions submitted by Anderson, mayoral candidates John Accardo, Carnell Burch and Herbert Lewis, and others, embroiling his boss Dyster in a four-way primary that's sure to be ugly.

Probably all the stress and strain surrounding getting fired from his job and thrown out of his apartment got the better of him.

Forgive us for asking, but how did a guy with a subsistence-level job and a $400-a-month apartment get to be the chairman of the Democratic Committee?

Oh yes. Paul Dyster. The same guy who brought us a city engineer, Ali Marzban, who was unlicensed to practice engineering anywhere in the United States. And Roger Melchior, the fire chief who turned out to be a chronically unemployed racist drifter with serious health problems. And Peter Kay, the economic development czar whose $100,000 annual salary developed his economy alone.

We're certain that David Houghton will triumph in the wake of his setback. Dyster's a loyal guy and will likely let the chairman crash on his couch for a couple of weeks. And we hear Burger King is hiring.
Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 23, 2011