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HAMILTON: Councilman Ezra Scott Waiting for Right Time to Announce Mayoral Bid

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By: Ken Hamilton

There’s a very nice-sounding and old Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times,” and these are certainly interesting times.

The indominable Obama-like City Councilman Ezra Scott has apparently decided to publicly remain coy about his all but imminent run for mayor of Niagara Falls NY. It is the quietest that he has been since he decided to run for council four years ago; and certainly quieter than a candidate should be at this point in the game, with an early petitioning date approaching like a New York City taxicab.

In a text message to me, Scott wrote, “You know that I have much love and respect for you. But before I do any interviews my preference is to first make my formal announcement. After my announcement I will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have. Thank you for being understanding.”

Such words, in addition to two other actions, strongly suggest that Scott will indeed be a candidate for mayor. Those two actions are that, as previously reported, he has asked his committee for an endorsement; and two, the entry into the city council race of his colleague, friend and fellow Peace Keeper Donta Myles, who is an African American as is Scott.

Scott’s city council candidate campaign slogan was, “A connected community is a protected community,” and given the entry of Myles into the city council race, it would mean that if Scott isn’t a candidate then the belief is that it would be a disconnection for many voters to select both African-Americans at the same time, even if not for the same seat.

As far as academics go, Scott certainly has the qualifications to run. 

Additionally, unlike both of the announced Democratic mayoral candidates, Community Development Department Head Seth Piccirillo and former judge/current school board member Robert Restaino, Scott has city council experience. 

But Piccirillo has run city departments and understands the machinations of being inside city hall; and Restaino’s experiences on the board of education and other community boards have prepared him with skills necessary to deal with the city council — possibly even Myles — if elected.

As did President Barack Obama, Scott has already proven that anything can happen — it would appear the Mayor Paul Dyster’s election was won on the coattails of Scott, rather than Scott winning on the-then 2-term mayor’s. 

Scott is likely evaluating all potential outcomes which  must be evaluated; that is, if his connected community is to remain protected. And like both Italians, Piccirillo and Restaino, Scott isn’t a one-community candidate. Whoever will win will win by winning LaSalle as well.

But in a 3-way race among these popular candidates, each must also win fair shares of African-American votes as well. But then what happens to the city’s 10,987 African-Americans, 22% of the city’s population, if Scott runs for mayor and Myles run for council, and they both lose? Would that make the bumbling County Legislator Owen Steed the go-to black political icon of the city?  Heavens forbid! 

What happens if either Myles loses city council or Scott loses the mayoral race, but one of them does indeed win? Are African-Americans any better off than before; much less the city?

I will make no endorsements in this mayoral primary race. Like Socrates, sorry guys, the voters will have to drink the hemlock from their own cups. But what I can say that with Niagara Falls being far worse off now than ever it has been, the old Chinese saying holds: Niagarans do indeed live in interesting times.


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