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Mayor Restaino’s Broken Campaign Promises & Failed Report Card

The following is a screenshot taken directly from the main webpage of Mayor Restaino’s 2019 campaign platform. These are his top three campaign promises:

For clarity, it reads:

  1. Development. We must focus on business development that can deliver employment with wages to empower families and help stabilize neighborhoods.
  2. Transparency. The citizens of Niagara Falls have had enough “spin” from this administration. It’s time for candor, clarity, openness, honesty and accountability from City government.
  3. Collaborative Government. Residents will no longer shoulder the burden of partisanship and petty politics.

Remember when Mayor Restaino gave himself an “A” rating during his now infamous camera grabbing meltdown on WGRZ? Let’s break down his 2019 platform and see how he’s actually performed during his time in office, according to what he’s promised us: 

Campaign Promise #1: Development 

Mayor Restaino considers his legacy pipe-dream Centennial Park as the “big development” that will “deliver employment with wages to empower families and help stabilize neighborhoods.” This statement is counter to the actual industry data: the event center will create an estimated 10 full time jobs and maybe 30-40 part time/seasonal jobs for only 150 days per year, all paid for by tax dollars. Sounds like a real winner.

Mayor Restaino immediately went viral as the laughing stock of Niagara Falls when he shoved WGRZ’s camera during a standard election night interview

Earlier this year, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary blasted Niagara Falls leadership on national television for blocking a “global data center” project that he tried to bring to our community. O’Leary told CNN, “I had a project in upstate New York behind the grid in Niagara Falls for electricity — a global data center we were building. Eventually, it got so bad with the politicians in the local region and the state policy, we moved it to Norway… and all the jobs. Norway has it now. Thousands of jobs coming out of that!”

Kevin O’Leary is a huge shark that would have brought insurmountable publicity to our hometown.

Restaino’s record shows that he’s killing jobs, not creating them, and he’s chased away development. Instead, Mayor Restaino has once again brought global shame to Niagara Falls… the exact opposite of what he promised us.

City Councilman Vincent Cauley, who is currently running for re-election, told the Reporter, “There’s this block fusion company, not US Bitcoin, that wants to partner with our city and they’ve done everything the right way. I want us to partner with them and show them that we care. They’ll tell their investors that Niagara Falls is open for business and the word will spread. They’ve been quietly operating since 2019 but we shut them down because we have this anti-data center mentality. The city doesn’t practice free enterprise.”

In regards to Development, Restaino gets an “F.”

Campaign Promise #2: Transparency

This one is truly laughable. Before we publish Mayor Restaino’s long-winded campaign promises about transparency, let’s take a look at his performance:

Learn more at:

The New York Coalition for Open Government is “a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to addressing transparency in government issues.” Recently, the coalition put Mayor Restaino on their “naughty list” due to his lack of transparency and refusal to respond to FOIA requests.

According to the Niagara Gazette, Paul Wolf, President of the New York Coalition for Open Government, said that “Restaino was on their naughty list for not allowing the public to speak during special meetings that the mayor calls, abusing the reason for calling special meetings, and when speaking at events like a block club meeting, he requests any questions asked to be sent to him in advance and approved before he can answer them.”

“He does it deliberately to exclude input from the public,” Wolf told the Gazette. “Those (special meetings) are supposed to be for an emergency or something that can’t wait until the next meeting, instead of every month where they’re approving millions without the public’s right to be heard.”

New York Coalition For Open Government placed Councilman Donta Myles on their “Nice List”

Councilman Donta Myles has gone on the record numerous times, alerting the public to Restaino’s lack of transparency regarding costs and spending for Centennial Park. “I’m positive this is a lot of money,” says Myles, “and people don’t have a clue about how much we are ALREADY SPENDING on this process.”

City Councilman Vincent Cauley told the Reporter, “Restaino has zero transparency. It’s anti-transparency, it’s opaqueness. I’m for the people but maybe there are other agendas. Maybe there’s something else in mind. I’ve asked questions regarding Centennial Park and the Digital Campus. My question is: Is there something shady going on and are there deals being made behind our backs and behind the scenes? We have to ask those questions.”

Councilman Cauley has been dealing directly with Mayor Restaino since December of last year. According to Cauley, “The reason that I vote ‘no’ on items is because even though money comes into the city, it doesn’t get to the city. That’s the shell game. We get the money, we get the funding… the state stuff and the federal stuff. Then through contracts, it just bleeds out. Through projects, initiatives, paid consultants, lawyer fees, etc. It all goes out and we still have nothing to show for it.”

Vincent Cauley certainly didn’t mince words as he continued, “Why can’t we get the money directly? It goes through their hands and they launder it. It’s being laundered through the Good Ol’ Boys club… they’re getting their cut instead of it getting to the city and the people who need and deserve it. Like the Black community.”

Like Donta Myles, Vincent Cauley is fed up with Mayor Restaino’s lack of transparency. Both Cauley and Myles have made repeated attempts to obtain the costs and budgets involved with the Centennial Park eminent domain lawsuit. Instead, they were told to FOIA the information. The bill for the lawsuit is anticipated to be massive, and it is being paid for by the taxpayers. 

City Councilman Vincent Cauley is running for re-election

Says Cauley, “I was the first one to bring the question up. They don’t want to give us the numbers. They’re hiding something. It’s shady what’s going on. Donta has been trying to get that information. They don’t want to be transparent. We can’t even meet with our own department heads without the mayor or the city administrator being there. That’s the mayor’s rule.”

So according to Mayor Restaino’s colleagues and the New York Coalition for Open Government, his performance regarding transparency has been absolutely atrocious. Suffice to say, most voters agree that Mayor Restaino has been the least transparent mayor in Niagara Falls history. His misuse of special meetings is an abuse of power meant to ban taxpayers from voicing their opinions and weighing in on his personal agendas. He refuses to release the costs and data for his eminent domain lawsuit (which is puzzling and alarming). He even suppressed the results of a public survey that residents filled out regarding Centennial Park, which was conducted by his sycophant Cliff Scott, Jr., arguably at Mayor Restaino’s urging. Some sources have said that the survey was only suppressed after Mayor Restaino realized only 2 out of 40 locals who took the survey supported his Centennial Park project.

Prior to Mayor Restaino taking office, city councilmembers used to be able to assist citizens directly and in an official capacity when city services didn’t occur. Mayor Restaino changed that. Now all citizen requests must go through the city administrator, Robert Restaino’s brother Anthony Restaino (the non-resident City Administrator). This allows the Restainos to pick and choose who they assist and who they ignore. With the Restaino brothers at the helm, checks and balances have broken down, and taxpayers can no longer rely on our city council to handle complaints.

Basically, if you’re not supportive of the mayor, in all likelihood you will not receive basic services.

Now let’s take a look at Mayor Restaino’s campaign promises. Here they are, in their entirety, as written by Restaino himself:

“I believe there is a real need to restore the public’s trust in and respect for city government. The public wants to believe that the decisions made at City Hall are not based on a secret agenda that reflect a particular special interest, but, rather, the decision being proposed is in the best interest of the entire community.

“Just look at the recent history of the current administration in the presentation of the garbage tote program or more recently, the garbage user fee. In both instances, there was a failure to be clear and straightforward with the public. Either through ignorance or fear, City Hall did not provide full disclosure to the public, which lead to mistrust and a disregard for the concerns of residents.

“Do you feel that the recent proposal to enact a garbage user fee was developed with the opportunity for department heads to voice an opposing point of view? Was there an opportunity for public input prior to the policy being put in front of the City Council? I believe the organizational culture currently prevailing within City Hall is characterized by denial and self-deception.

“In order to have true transparency, City Hall needs a mayor who is not afraid to engage in a free flow of information with the City Council, department heads, city employees and, especially, the residents of the city.

“Critical to true transparency and a good civic relationship are clarity and straightforward communication about what’s really going on in City Hall. How was it that last fall the NYS Comptroller designated Niagara Falls as one of only three NYS cities to receive his highest crisis designation of “significant fiscal stress” and yet members of this administration tell us that we are enjoying great progress and wonderful success?

“Being honest and accountable are indispensable to transparency. Our city needs a mayor who is prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead, willing to have open conversations with the public and ready to confront situations that may come with some personal cost.

“I understand this experience and have endured and overcome the consequences. As mayor, I am prepared to meet the fiscal challenges that confront the City, but not alone or with a group of insiders.

“Restoring the public’s trust and respect for city government will not be easy. It will take an honest, candid conversation with government officials, public employees, business people, labor leaders and city residents. It will take listening to new ideas, re-evaluating current systems and accepting constructive critique. It will take opening communication with all levels of government and with our Native American neighbors. We can do this we can get Niagara Falls back on track. If we can do this we will truly achieve transparency in City Hall.”

No, this isn’t satire. Mayor Restaino actually wrote all of this himself and listed “Transparency” as his number two campaign promise. As our city’s resident bully, he has literally done the exact opposite of everything he has promised to do.

Regarding Transparency, if it were possible to give Mayor Restaino a rating worse than an F, that’s what he’d be getting. Instead he gets a cold, hard “F.”

Campaign Promise #3: Collaborative Government

Mayor Restaino promised that “Residents will no longer shoulder the burden of partisanship and petty politics.” His website says that he promises to “Put petty politics aside.”

This is another instance where our mayor has totally abandoned his campaign platform, electing instead to do the complete opposite of his promise. The New York Times once called Mayor Restaino a “petty tyrant” so it should be no surprise to anyone that he has become the king of petty politics. Earlier this week, Restaino’s Republican opponent Carl Cain exposed Restaino’s use of petty politics.

Mayoral candidate Carl Cain isn’t afraid of Restaino’s petty threats

Cain told the Gazette that Mayor Restaino called a friend of his into his office and showed him private documents from Cain’s personnel file from 30 years of service as a police officer. “This was no vendetta, he assured my friend, but, rather, a political maneuver,” said Cain.

Cain went on to say that Restaino instructed his friend to relay the message back to Cain, saying that this “was not personal” but “political.” To make matters worse, Cain also told the Gazette that Restaino’s appointed Police Superintendent Faso “called another ‘friend’ who’s an NFPD officer into his office to have him ‘deliver a chilling message’ about why it would be wise for Cain to stay out of the mayoral race.”

If that isn’t petty politics, then I don’t know what is? This type of misbehavior is reminiscent of the smear campaign that the PAC controlled by longtime Restaino ally Nick Forster ran against Restaino’s primary opponent, Glenn Choolokian. In that incident, Choolokian’s private personnel data was also leaked publicly during the smear campaign, having been posted on Facebook by one of Restaino’s family members. Of course, Mayor Restaino has denied any involvement in all wrongdoings.

When it comes to Collaborative Government and petty politics, Restaino definitely gets an “F.”

How anyone could vote for a disbenched judge who has completely dumped his campaign platform in the trash is totally beyond belief. His website also stated that he promised to create safer neighborhoods, yet the violent crime and murder rate is up by about 1,000% and he has yet to address that.

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