HAMILTON: “Holy Gawel,” Mike’s Not Running

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By: Ken Hamilton

Former City Councilman Michael Gawel has dropped out of the race for Niagara Falls City Council; but why?

It saddened me to hear that Gawel withdrew from the race. The double-edged sword of living in a small, albeit famous city is that if you have been deeply involved in the political and public-policy, you not only get known, but you also get to know a lot of people and stuff yourself. And I know and have known a lot of people in public policy, as well as long knowing Gawel.

One of those things that I do know is what makes a quality person in government and what doesn’t – and Gawel was one of the very few people who had thus far thrown his hat into the ring that was both actually qualified and ready to hit the ground running. Our little Niagara Falls is likely more so in more trouble now than ever it has been; and quite frankly, we need to have people who know and understand both finance and law. Gawel is a certified public accountant who has also practiced law.

Unlike most of us, Gawel has relatively no skeletons in his closet and it isn’t because he was or is an angel; it’s because anyone who knows him already also know that his skeletons are in the political display cases of pendants all over the city. But, unlike your doctor, dentist, mechanic, plumber, handyman and others that you let finger you in one end or the other, or you trust with your brakes, pipes and/or the sanctity of your home, we don’t know what their skeletons are, nor is it necessary for us to know: all that we want from them is for them to fix whatever ails us. When it comes to the aforementioned, all that we care about are their qualifications; so then, why do we care about the non-relevant things of the past when we elect a politician?  Lord only knows why devils like ourselves think that we can be good at electing angels; and we can’t –angels don’t run for public office, because they’re too smart for that crap.

But the question is, why did Gawel, a certified public accountant that we could have used on the council, drop out?

Two things happened, Gawel said, with the primary date being pushed up by New York City politicians: one was that upstate New Yorkers now had to go door to door under wintry, windy and rainy conditions to get people to stand at their doors, letting the heat out and the cold in, in order to sign a wet petition; meanwhile, coatless NYC politicians can take the elevators and walk out of the weather down the halls of buildings with hundreds of apartments in each, and perhaps thousands in the complexes. Furthermore, the change was made during — get this — TAX SEASON, the busiest time of the year for any accountant.

How then can a CPA — a profession well-needed in both the public and personal lives of upstaters – do both?

So then, as downstate lawmakers increase taxes on upstaters, the real unseen tax is an intellectual one that reduces the amount of brain-trust in upstate governance; which in turn causes lawmakers to make serious budgeting errors.

Let’s hope that next election we can find someone who is available who at least have an education in accounting for governmental entities and not-for profits.

Good luck Gawel, and good luck Niagara Falls.


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