HAMILTON: Tompkins, Kennedy are Targets of the Wrath of Dave

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By: Ken Hamilton

Dave Biekska is a gruff, rough and tumble sort of a guy who’s worked hard all of his life, wisely invested his money and is now facing his remaining sunset years in his 24th Street home, just off what is known as East Falls Street. But the former athlete, a retired factory worker and a retired automobile mechanic, owns both residential and commercial properties in the city, and only one of the properties are income producing. 

“Tompkins lied,”

Biekska bellowed over the telephone; he then began to tell why he thought so. Through the years, Biekska has threatened to leave the city more often than Rosie O’Donnell has threatened to leave the country if this or that president is elected. The rather vocal and sometimes pugilistic Biekska remains in good ol’ Niagara Falls, just a stone’s throw from the home in which he grew up.

 Though automobiles are still one of Biekska passions, his heart for the hard things in life like politics, public policy and business can be considered as mechanical as a water pump, that heart is still just one of his two hearts. 

 And, yes, as are many if not most taxpaying citizens of the city are, Biekska is as mad as hell at the three city councilmen who voted to impose more than an annual $2000 increase in what he – himself — has to pay to continue living in both the city and around the people that he loves.

 The 3 councilmen with whom Biekska is as mad as hell at are Councilmen Andrew Touma (Chmn) and William Kennedy II, both Democrats, and at recently reelected Republican Councilman Ken Tompkins, whom he calls a liar.

 When asked why he was angrier at Tompkins than at the other two, Biekska said that it was, “Because Kenny Tompkins, he went out during this whole period over here, before the election took place, people were asking him if he was going to vote for that fee, he said, “Absolutely not, absolutely not.”

 “He told everybody that,” Biekska continued. “and then what happened, the minute that he got elected, after he got all them votes, because the people were happy about what he was telling them … what did he do, he turned against the people and he voted for the garbage, ah, fee.”

 Biekska then related what he saw on the city council internet telecast, saying, “He waited until after the election, then he voted.” Continuing, he said, “And then, the people were there that watched him, he was scared; you should have seen the look on his face. But all the firemen were there, the police were there, and everybody else … he was scared, but he voted, he okayed the tax, the garbage fee. He went against everything he told the people.”

 Touma and Kennedy said nothing

Biekska answered, “Because … Touma and Kennedy didn’t say anything [about the FILOT] … to anybody about it. They were safe; they have 2 more years of election-free time. Where Kenny Tompkins was being elected this year. If he went out and told people that he was going to vote for that garbage fee, do you think that he would have got elected?”

 So then, why Biekska isn’t as mad at Touma and Kennedy because of what they didn’t do, as well as what Tompkins needs to do because of it, can be found in the Bible.

“Kenny Tompkins made promises,” Biekska said. As such, what Tompkins needs to do is in accordance with the website whatchristianswanttoknow.com and the Bible Book of Proverbs 6:2-3, which says, “… if you are… caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself … go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.”

 Sadly, that is what Tompkins need to do; but does the saying make for good political policy when do-nothing politicians like Legislator Owen Steed and others say and promises nothing, and then they deliver exactly what they promised? I fear that all of them will follow suit!

Biekska went on in explaining his differences in anger by saying that Touma, whom Biekska estimates both Touma’s wife’s and his annual income, with what he says are one health insurance buyout from the city and another from their dual-income board of education salaries, exceed $200,000. And of Kennedy, who’s likely making far less, he says that he should have been more sensitive to the poor citizens in Kennedy’s own neighborhood, neither said anything to anyone about the FILOT.  When asked if in two years would he vote for either, Biekska said exactly what Tompkins had previously said about voting for the FILOT, “Absolutely not, absolutely not.”

 Biekska had also cited the additional costs that the city council poverty and crime-increasing policies have imposed upon taxpayers that drive up residents’ insurance costs as well; and though he voted for “his friend” Glenn Choolokian, he’s hoping that the new Mayor Robert Restaino would make a difference.

 Biekska had little good to say about the city unions that were present in city council chambers on the night of the vote, citing the raises and stipends that they received, and about the absorption of the increases in the prices of health care that they get.  He was particularly clear on what he thought of the firefighters that pressured the council, especially Tompkins; in that most of them live out of town and won’t be harmed by the FILOT, but more so that they won’t be impacted by the tax increases on the taxes that they don’t even pay.

 The Heart of Dave

But when asked about the firefighters Toy Fund Drive, the soft side of Biekska’s heart was exposed. “The toy fund? Well, it’s a good thing … over here. I mean, there’s a lot of poor people… I see, firsthand, kids coming from the Niagara Street School … you can see … they’re poor, impoverished, their sneakers all worn and everything else. Yeah, you better believe [the toy fund is a good thing]. Spread a little joy.”

 Biekska is like that; it’s the policies that he hates and not the people. That’s why he is still here. Again, he’s done well in life and he can afford the extra burden of the FILOT. His current tenants’ rents now just barely cover rents and repairs, “… but I will bend over backwards for them …” he says. “They are old and they are good solid people.”  He went on to say that his heart is for all of the city, especially those who can’t afford the increases.

Biekska also cited Facebooker John Campbell and his efforts at both an online petition and one placed in the stores along Pine Avenue to get the city to repeal the FILOT. The online petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/the-citizens-of-niagara-falls-remove-garbage-user-fee.

Please send comments to Kenhamilton930@aol.com


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