By Matt Cole
This 138 year old city of ours – who’s name is quite literally known in all corners of the Earth – has hosted Presidents, Kings & Queens, legendary celebrities, and built engineering wonders that have changed our world.
Yet, somehow, the same city has been plagued with corruption, filth, crime, and blight for 50 years. And, every single administration in at least the last 30 years has left it worse off than that they found it. Every single one.
It is a statement of fact that the current administration inherited a city literally on the very brink of bankruptcy, that was losing millions of dollars a year, could not get any more banks to issue it loans, and had New York State strongly considering (a last resort of) stepping in and taking over the city’s finances.
All of that was handed to the current administration.
It is also a statement of fact that almost immediately upon inheriting a half century old boondoggle, if not ticking time-bomb, the current administration had the international bridges – that are the city’s lifeblood- closed on them for nearly 2 years.
Yet, somehow, in-spite of being handed a complete disaster & then having every obstacle in the world throw at them, by people who want to see them fail (so that those people can profit from that failure), the current administration has delivered:
- the first budget surplus ($5 million) in decades
- got us taken us off NYS’s list of distresses cities
- got banks willing to loan us money again
- brokered a deal to renovate/reopen the iconic 100 year old Hotel Niagara, via a proven local developer
- brokered a deal with a national restaurant franchise to open a much needed location in downtown Niagara Falls
- begun legal processes to take unused undeveloped land back from corporate slumlords in the most high profile areas of our city (which people have demanded for years and never had the courage to do).
With our vote, the residents of the city did not tell Mayor Restaino to play nice, we did not tell him to be kind and gentle. With our vote, we told him to do anything you have to do in order to save this city… the city my family has lived in since the 1800s.
If that means, in doing so, he hurts somebody’s feelings once in a while then, so be it.
If that means, in doing so, he gets angry once in a while, then God bless him for it… because I’m angry too .
I’m angry at the big corporations, and billionaires, and slumlords who have -for over 30 years- gotten rich off of the demise of a once great city. Who have profited off of the blood, sweat, and tears of more than 5 generations of its residents. The corporate overlords and absentee slumlords who have kept their foot on the throats of our families, while at the same time stealing our wallets.
Bob Restaino is an imperfect instrument, to be sure…. So am I, and so are you.
But, his grandparents, and parents helped build this city alongside mine and yours.
And, his grandchildren will grow up in this city, alongside mine and yours….
If that means he might get upset when an out of town reporter comes in from Buffalo -under the false pretenses of being friendly- in order to then trash the city our grandfathers built, and ignore our current efforts to save it…
Then God bless him for it.
Insofar as my vote is concerned, that’s exactly what I hired him to do.
We didn’t say ‘Bob play nice’.
We didn’t say ‘Bob be gentle.’
We said ‘do whatever you have to do to protect, defend, and save our once great city.’
President John F Kennedy, who visited Niagara Falls, quoted Edmund Burke as saying “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing”.