HAMILTON: Vote like you are the founder of Niagara Falls Inc.

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By: Ken Hamilton

Pretend that long ago, say around the year 1678, early in the month of December as a matter of fact, you had chopped your way through the woods and stumbled upon one of the most magnificent set of waterfalls in the world. Recognizing the economic potential of it, you had a vision of the resource-rich opportunities of it and how you – no one else but you — wanted it to develop it; so you bought and incorporated it. That, of course, made you the founder and the owner of Niagara Falls NY Incorporated.

Now, as a multi-divisional company, you have to hire a chief executive officer and a board of directors to run your industrial and touristy business.  Remember, you already have a vision of what you want it to become; but you are just a simple, but rich, explorer who knows how to chop through the woods and discover assets of great potential and you want to build your dream, whatever it is; but you don’t know exactly how to get things done. So then, what attributes would you look for in the candidates that could possibly build your dreams and make you prosperous?

Are you still with me?

Yes, good; so now remember – you already have the dream, and as a result you are not looking for an artist, cartoonist, or a weaver of words; nor are you looking for anyone based upon their height, weight, how much of someone else’s weight that they can lift, nor of race, color, creed, sex, gender, or of any other outward or inward personal quality – you are simply looking for their know-how in building your dream!

It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

Well, guess what; in this great “demo-crazy” of ours, every two-to-four years you are given the opportunity to be reminded that you are indeed the founder of new Niagara Falls NY, Incorporated; and without even having to chop through the woods, you do get the opportunity to name the successful candidate for the chief executive officer (the mayor) and his board of directors (city council members). They in turn will choose the administrative, technical and legal department heads that will build the dream of your company, Niagara Inc.

Now, of all of the candidates that the employment headhunters have sent you, which ones would you choose?

What would be my choice, you ask?

Well, let me say it this way. Dante Cipolletti once owned the building that housed the former Crown and Anchor Restaurant – now the Cameron Liquor Store on Pine Avenue and 29th Street. Dante’s business was a great place, good food, great service and good political conversation. One day I sat at the bar sipping a very tangy cola and maraschino cherry arguing with “Danny” about the amount of money that the mayor’s position should make in order to attract the kind of executive that we needed. I am told that I am pretty good at arguing, as was Danny; but after quite some time in both of us tersely making our cases, he finally handed me an unpalatable winning concession. He said, “You’re right Kenny. The mayor should make (back then) $70,000 a year …”

I smiled with success, and then almost accidentally swallowed my cherry as the near-irate, normally jovial barkeep gave me a grimacing smile and a backhanded takeaway by saying, “… but the person that you are looking for don’t live here!”

I have come to think that Danny actually won that argument, and I mean neither disrespect nor insult to any candidate. I seriously doubt if we have ever had a mayor, councilman, or any other elected official that in fact has had a meritorious record elsewhere in building the municipal dreams of any of us – and it isn’t their fault: we have a democracy system issue that can only get fixed when we ourselves are fixed. For you see, our “demo-crazy” only allows us to pick from those of us who have been to some degree a part of the very problems that we are trying to solve. For all of these years later, like the mighty roar of the waterfalls, Danny’s words have echoed in my head whenever I hear a candidate say, “I am a lifelong resident and I know how to fix things.”

But we are indeed the founders of the New Niagara Falls, Inc., and those who win the job of attempting to build our dream are entirely your choice – I just hope that the winners cause us all to win — for once! Please vote like it.


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