At 36 years old, Demetreus Nix, a registered Democrat, has decided to run for mayor. His reason is simple. Says Nix, “The resources that we need in District 4 and District 6 are lacking. The money that the mayor wants to use for the Centennial Park project is money that is meant for bettering the quality of life for those at a lower income. It’s easy for the mayor to pass our money because we don’t have a voice, so I’m running to be the voice for those people who have never had one.”
Nix is no stranger to hard work. As an entrepreneur, he wears many hats. Aside from running a dumpster company and being a contractor, he also founded the Entrepreneur School of Thought, located at 1110 19th Street. Says Nix, “Everyone wants to get rid of the garbage fee. I’m in the garbage business, I understand it. How are we going to fix our streets? I do black tops all the time. I understand these problems and how to fix them.” Continues Nix, “These old abandoned houses? I will personally go into every house that the city owns and decide which ones should be torn down and which ones should be saved. I can give a good assessment just by looking at them because this is what I’ve been doing for over ten years.”
It’s hard to argue Nix’s expertise in these areas. As someone who was a troubled youth and convicted felon at age 14, to making a complete 180 degree turn and becoming a youth advocate in his community – perhaps nobody is better suited to combat our poverty and steep increase in murders.
When asked about the fact that violent crime has been rampant during Mayor Restaino’s first three years in office, Nix replied, “The mayor is a judge who is used to using the police to crack down on everything, and lock people up – showing numbers, that he’s locking people up. I think technically he kind of pushed the crime up. He didn’t bring down crime or stop crime, all he did was put more people into a system that he’s used to.”
Nix continued, “Restaino hasn’t drawn any attention to the murders because he doesn’t care about it. Where he’s at, he doesn’t see the crime or hear the crime – he doesn’t care, he’s disconnected from the people. As long as he shows that he’s arresting people, it’s like he’s trying. But why doesn’t he give these people opportunities? That’s a better way to face crime.”
Nix does make several valid points. Our community is severely lacking in opportunities for underprivileged youth. Mayor Restaino has proposed using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which is meant for repairing infrastructure and funding programs for youth – to pay for his Centennial Park and event center project. On Monday night, an overwhelming majority of public opposition made their presence known at a city council meeting, protesting the mayor’s proposal to use CDBG funds.
Mayor Restaino may wish to debate Nix’s sentiments, but Restaino’s actions speak louder than words.
In April of 2021, a small group of grieving families, who lost their loved ones to violent crimes in our city, gathered outside of Mayor Restaino’s home. They held signs as they called out, asking for the mayor to come out and face them. They were seeking dialogue with the mayor and hoping for some closure, but the mayor did not make an appearance. According to several witnesses who were at the scene, instead of speaking to the family members, the mayor called the SWAT team.
[Facebook post from an eyewitness]
Several family members took to social media asking why there wasn’t any news coverage of this event, while condemning the mayor for calling the SWAT team on what was described as a peaceful protest. Instead of helping the victims’ families heal, the mayor’s actions only added to their trauma.
Continues Nix, “The mayor hasn’t done anything useful, he’s just a judge. Look at his whole character and all he does – he thinks he’s better than everybody and he’s a judge in his heart. He judges everyone because he thinks too highly of himself. He thinks he did the right thing by locking up an entire courtroom, most of whom were Black.”
Last month, Nix blew the whistle on contractor Rod Davis for his questionable business practices. While others whose lives were impacted by Davis came forward, Nix is the only one who now has to defend himself in court.
According to an investigation by the Niagara Gazette, Nix sent Davis a text message asking “Brother, where is my check?”
Davis replied “Don’t ever call my phone again. I am not your brother. Letting chief of police and mayor handle this now.”
Three days later, Nix was arrested for “unlawfully entering” a property managed by Davis.
Davis hired Nix to perform his contracting duties on that same property. Nix said he was in the house because he was renovating it. The mayor denied called the police.
Yet Davis’s text message to Nix seems to echo the 2021 incident involving the SWAT team outside Mayor Restaino’s house.
When asked about the mayor’s potential abuse of power, city councilman Donta Myles stated, “First of all, I’m totally against any elected official – including myself – abusing this type of authority. It’s not ethical. We have had a ridiculous amount of police officers at city council meetings as of late, called in by our mayor and his administration. It’s overkill, and it just so happened to start right after Nix spoke out at a city council meeting. I hope we are not calling in this amount of overtime for 3 to 6 officers, taking them off the streets and asking them to come in as a personal safeguard.”
So, is it true that Mayor Restaino has used our local police force as his personal army? Former councilman Bill Kennedy spoke to the Niagara Reporter, saying “The mayor is spending exponential amounts of taxpayers’ money, utilizing our police force to protect himself… but he’ll hold special meetings by the truckload to avoid criticism.”
Kennedy, a Democrat, continued, “I met with the mayor while he was running. He said ‘God willing we will work together,’ and I wanted to believe him. His version of working together is ‘do what I tell you and agree with everything I present.’ He has done nothing but use loopholes to abuse his power at the expense of the taxpayers, and avoid their opinions and feelings that don’t align with his will.” Kennedy said, “This administration is nothing but bread and circuses 2.0, looking for the next photo opportunity. The mayor suppresses the voice of the people by holding special meetings. Drawing attention to violent crime doesn’t paint a pretty picture during an election year, now does it?”
It’s clear that several community leaders, including Nix, Myles and Kennedy, are fed up with Mayor Restaino’s actions and inactions. “We need to make some noise in high numbers,” says Nix, “We need to break the Restaino dynasty. The Democratic committee is scared to lose power, and that’s why the mayor can get away with all of this. It’s time to end it.”