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GUEST VIEW By Sam Fruscione, Chairman, Niagara Falls City Council

This letter is in response to the Aug. 9 Niagara Gazette article written by David Houghton, chairman of the city Democratic Committee.

While Mr. Houghton's letter rambled and attempted to touch on a wide variety of subjects, I want to limit my response to his seventh paragraph, in which he wrote about Bob Anderson:

"Anderson's only claim to fame is, if a resident calls him, he'll answer the phone and try to help the person."

Not only is Mr. Houghton's claim childish, it's foolish and demonstrates how painfully uninformed he is. You would think the chairman of a political party would understand, and appreciate, that the most common complaint of voters is that they can't get their calls returned from their elected officials. An elected official who personally returns calls is truly appreciated by the voters. Perhaps it's Bob's attention to his constituents and his personal touch that has made him so popular with our residents. All of this has obviously escaped Dave Houghton.

Houghton and his committee showed just how out of touch and vindictive they are when they refused Bob Anderson -- a two-term councilman -- the Democratic endorsement. Bob has served with distinction for eight years on the Council; he is a retired Air Force veteran; he is the driving force behind the Hyde Park Veterans Memorial; Bob is a past president of the CSEA; he's a strong supporter of public safety who has worked to help our police fight crime; he's a team player who has supported the administration more than 90 percent of the time; he doesn't draw lines by age, gender, race or religion; and, yes, he does take pride in personally returning the many calls he receives from those who need help.

Why didn't Bob Anderson receive the Democratic endorsement? The simple fact is that Bob refuses to be a rubberstamp for any one person, any one party, or any one group. The city Democratic Committee saw Bob's honesty and integrity, and viewed it as a threat. Shame on them for denying Bob the endorsement of the political party he has worked for and belonged to all his life.

And shame on Mr. Houghton for not admitting his committee's error and making amends. Instead, he wrote a lengthy and disturbing article in the Aug. 9 Niagara Gazette. The article was disturbing in tone, words and imagery -- disturbing to such an extent that it should give pause to Falls voters.

Houghton used the following words and phrases, in this order, throughout his article: lies, vile, fight, lie, fighting, hatred, power-mongers, hate, assassination, attack, assassinate, assassination, "RACISM," racism, racism, racist, anti-woman, anti-Italian, "race card," hate mongers, attacks, assassination, "race card," hate! (quotes and exclamation point are Houghton's).

This is the tone that will uplift our city? This is going to move us forward? This is going to help find solutions to our many problems? I don't think so.

Houghton's first sentence was, "I am sorry to have to write this letter." I'm also sorry that you wrote the letter, Mr. Houghton, but having said that, you did a favor for the voters of our city by allowing them a look inside your heart, and by extension, into the very heart of the city Democratic Committee.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 16, 2011