HAMILTON: This Week’s Good, Bad and Ugly!

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By: Ken Hamilton

THE GOOD
After writing in several newspapers for more than 35-years, there likely hasn’t been many people more critical of our city government than I have been – but if I have to give Mayor Robert Restaino anything thus far, it is his selection of Anthony Restaino as city administrator. There’s never been a person to have taken that job that has been more experienced and qualified at it than is Anthony. He’s had it before, so he knows its pitfalls and knows any mistakes he may have made in the past.
Additionally, working from two separated offices, he’s run the county department of social services for many years, whose budget this year exceeds $30-million. Only the former city managers, not the administrators, have previously managed such budgets. There he had some 20 or more bosses, now he has but one – which should take a load off him.
The social services job had to have been much more challenging than the city job, despite our people and budgetary problems. I dealt with Anthony when I came to him “loaded for bear” when I was the consultant for the landlord’s association. By the end of the meeting, and his explanations of the myriad of convoluted laws, rules and regulations that he had to stoically follow, I felt so very sorry for him. But he sallied forth and did the impossible.

All the best, Anthony. You have my support.

THIS WEEKS GOOD, BAD AND UGLY!
 
THE BAD
The Road to Andalusia takes you either through or near-to towns with names like Gantt, River Falls, Red Level, Opp, Brantley, and Searight, and so many other places. It turns out that the area is home to Niagarans of many colors. Some of the names are even family names; and yes, those families’ roots are often somewhere near US-29 – Pigeon Creek, in my family’s case.  But it’s Andalusia where my mind now rests.

It was a tragic week for folks like us, whose family and friends hail from there. Like the candles on a cake whose guest of honor has taken too long to enter the room, they flicker out too soon.

And so, it is with the loss of both the dear Louise Lascelle — that very nice real estate lady who just passed away, and with Wilbur Hunt, a dear and affable fellow who was quick to smile, and who just lost his life to a fire in his home here in Niagara Falls.

But while both considered their Niagara houses to be their residences, if the Andalusian-born white Louise was anything like the Gantt-born black Wilbur — their births just 13-years apart and the distances of their birthplaces a mere 14-minute drive, then their spirits are now sitting side-by-side at that fountain where Wilbur said that as a child he was unable to sit at all.
Times change. The bad and sad part is that they are no longer physically with us. But that mixed blessing is in that we can imagine Niagarans whom hail from so far away and yet so near to each other – though once were artificially separated — being able to gather at an intermediary home before reaching the ultimate one; and it makes me happy to imagine it as the memories of each fall upon my mind like the sprinkles of the fountain’s waters dancing upon the pool beneath.

THIS WEEKS GOOD, BAD AND UGLY!

 
THE UGLY
Is someone out of their mind? You are doggone right if the rumors are true.
Is Shirley Hamilton, the woman who is primarily and most directly responsible for the closing and demolition of the Niagara Community Center, and who nearly landed the budget of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency’s Niagara Airport Development Corp budget “wheels-up” into the runway and the tower, now being considered to join her buddy, former Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble on the Niagara Falls Water Board?

Whoever is considering this had better ask the wage roll employees at the Niagara Power Plant the questions that the plant management cannot answer – as if her record outside of that organization actually, well, “holds water.”

Listen, don’t let the words NAACP intimidate you. If the organization had teeth, then why are the neighborhoods that they are supposed to be serving in such poor condition?

When I was chapter president of the Niagara Falls NAACP, I did, at least, single-handedly get some 40 or more jobs for black kids at the then-Niagara Splash Water Park before I left the organization due to the ineptness of those in Buffalo and at the state level.
Historically, while the water is good, the city’s water board has been polluted by politics as dark as the charcoal-colored crap that spews into the gorge near the falls.
Politicians generally place people with records like Shirley’s on boards that they want to be destroyed, not on boards that they want improved.
And that’s the “ugly” of it; and that would be a crime!

**attorney advertising**

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