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PARLATO: Further Evidence Seth is Dyster’s Boy as Grandinetti Endorses Piccirillo

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By: Frank Parlato


Former Niagara Falls councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti has endorsed Seth Piccirillo for mayor of Niagara Falls. 

“Seth Piccirillo for Mayor. The right man for the job. Committed, honest, and inclusive. Everyone matters. Every voice heard,” Grandinetti wrote on Facebook on January 10.

Grandinetti has been a Seth supporter for months, if not years.

She wrote last October, “I stand behind you 100% Seth Piccirillo.”

Back in Jan. 2013, the  Reporter predicted that Seth was being groomed to succeed Dyster for mayor and was the choice of Dyster’s closest ally, Councilmember Grandinetti.

The Reporter wrote, “Sources say that Piccirillo is seen by Dyster and Grandinetti as a go– to man, and potentially their choice to be the next mayor of Niagara Falls.”

But what does Grandinetti’s endorsement mean for Seth?

Since announcing he is running for mayor – against the immensely popular Robert Restaino – Seth has done as much as he can to distance himself from his boss, Mayor Dyster, claiming he is totally independent. Grandinetti’s endorsement is a sign that Seth is indeed the choice of the old Dyster team.

One of the ways voters can judge a candidate is based on those who endorse him. Let’s look at some of Grandinetti’s achievements over the years.


Grandinetti, an elementary school teacher in Niagara Falls, is hand selected by Dyster to run for council.

She told the Niagara Gazette, nearly 10 years ago, when first campaigning, “I feel that the tide is about to turn in our city, and I want to be on the team that brings about the rebirth.”

Grandinetti pointed out that no women served on the City Council.

“It’s time to restore some balance to the council and give women a voice again,” she said.

After she was elected, her main effort in securing the rebirth that never happened was to blindly follow Dyster’s lead.  As for giving women a voice, Dyster told her how to vote and she obeyed him.


She was the leading supporter of Dyster’s Holiday Market, voting to spend $500,000 of public money with Idaho huckster Mark Rivers to develop a row of shacks with vendors in it and virtually no customers.

In the end, Rivers pocketed the money. Vendors went unpaid. The whole thing was a disaster. At one point in selling the boondoggle, Grandinetti said she was “over the moon” about the project.


Niagara Falls city employees who have health insurance from another job can get a cash payment if they opt-out of the city’s health insurance plan. Grandinetti had health insurance coverage through the Niagara Falls School District. 

The Reporter broke the story of how Grandinetti had been overpaid $6,186 for her health insurance opt-out because she was listed as married when she was actually single.  

She was required to pay the money back.

“I was very surprised when I found out about it,” Grandinetti said at the time, “I’m upset and concerned that people would think I would do something like this purposely.”



She ran for reelection, touting her membership in the Catholic Church and wisely so since Niagara Falls has a large number of conservative Roman Catholic voters.

Just five days after her reelection, however, Grandinetti posted a photograph of an Episcopalian Church in Buffalo.

“My new spiritual home,” Grandinetti wrote on Facebook. “Though it saddened me to leave the Catholic Church after more than 50 years, I am now a member of a church who loves and welcomes all. I am a proud Episcopalian. This is the Church of the Good Shepherd. And love it… female priest… double love it… she is married” to a woman.

She added: “Too much politics from the pulpit at my old church.”

How she would have fared had she announced before the election [instead of after] that she was leaving the Catholic Church is unknown.


While State and Federal law require that a job applicant’s gender, race, ethnicity, or age may not be considered in hiring, Grandinetti seemed unaware of the law.

She, along with other council members were sued for age discrimination regarding firing council secretary Kevin J. Ormsby.  In late January, she voted to put 24-year-old Ryan Undercoffer into the council secretary position, after firing Ormsby, 61. She told the media she preferred a “young fresh face.”

Based largely on her comment, the New York State Division of Human Rights ruled in Ormsby’s favor in his age discrimination complaint. The judge awarded Ormsby an undisclosed sum.


Since the summer of 2011, Grandinetti hosted an annual, all-you-can eat, alcohol and dance party called “Rockin’ For Choice” to raise money for Planned Parenthood.

Many voters were disgusted by photographs of people feasting, getting drunk and dancing in celebration of abortion.  The band performing was the Tune Babes which some found offensive since many consider a fetus an unborn baby.


She posted on Facebook a video of a group of six-year-old girls using the word f*ck as some sort of protest about the way grown women are treated in America, generating another wave of criticism and controversy.

“I’m pretty f*cking powerful,” one child says. “And ready for success.”

“Women are being paid 20 percent less for the exact same f*cking work,” another little girl said.

Grandinetti’s obsessive and compulsive Facebook oversharing made her a citywide laughingstock.



The School Board of Niagara Falls, since the 1980’s, have been conservative and voted to stress abstinence rather than hand out condoms to children.

Grandinetti assessed that the school district’s program was failing students.  She wanted to have Planned Parenthood supply instructors to teach sex education classes. The district declined Grandinetti’s offer.

Grandinetti posted on Facebook, “It troubles me on a daily basis that our School District is so careless as to ignore the data, and continue to refuse COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED to our students. …   They are …  having oral and anal sex to avoid pregnancy, and spreading disease at alarming rates.

“… Agree to educate our children so they can be safe and healthy and avoid unwanted pregnancy. I am tired of my students having to pay the price for our ignorance. It is borderline criminal.”

When the School Board read that their kindergarten teacher was publicly calling them, “borderline criminals” they considered firing Grandinetti.

She used Facebook to apologize.  She wrote, “I would like to take this opportunity to extend an apology to the Niagara Falls city school district for using language that was rather heavy-handed to get my point across. It was completely inappropriate to refer to them as criminal.”


The multicolored Rainbow Pride flag, originally called the Gay Pride flag, was officially hoisted by Mayor Dyster at Niagara Falls City Hall in a special ceremony on May 29.

Grandinetti was the force behind the hoisting.   

“Awesomesauce!!!” she wrote of the event on Facebook.


She voted in favor of a Dyster’s parking meter plan that would give away parking revenue to a private company in return for a pittance paid to the city.

Grandinetti said she found the proposal “very confusing” but voted for it anyway. The rest of the council declined to approve it.


Planned Parenthood came under fire after a secretly recorded video conversation with the organization’s medical director went viral.  The video shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research, eating salad, sipping wine and talking casually and graphically about harvesting fetal tissue.

“I’d say a lot of people want [fetus] liver,” Nucatola says between forkfuls of salad. “And for that reason, most providers …  know where they’re putting their forceps. … the procedure is [to crush] the calvarium, the head is basically the biggest part. Most of the other stuff can come out intact.”

At another point, she throws out a price range – “$30 to $100 depending on the facility, and what’s involved” – for [fetus] specimens.

The outcry was huge against Planned Parenthood but Grandinetti rushed to their defense, posting on Facebook repeatedly.

 “If you are someone who is quick to believe the worst at least take a moment and hear the truth,” she wrote explaining the value of selling fetuses instead of merely throwing them away.


So many and varied were the councilwoman’s embarrassing Facebook blunders that, during the 2015 reelection campaign, Mayor Dyster ordered her to stay off social media for months leading up to his reelection.



Grandinetti sponsored a resolution honoring outgoing Buffalo Planned Parenthood director Karen Nelson.  The Reporter criticized her for obsessing on issues that had nothing to do with turning the city around.

“This paper has cataloged the many ways the administration has wasted the taxpayer casino funds: out of control public projects, high city hall salaries, outrageous overtime, consultants for every possible reason, lawyer fees through the proverbial roof, repeat loans and grants to favored businesses, trash totes at $2.3 million and – purchased for what was supposed to be decreased trash costs for city residents which instead increased costs and so on.”

Grandinetti responded, “I’m saddened by the fact that this publication feels I can only focus on one thing at once. I’m saddened by the fact that because I want to honor someone …  I am once again being called out on the carpet.”

Grandinetti withdrew her resolution so as to not “dishonor Ms. Nelson’s good name.”


Former Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello came before the council to speak.  He was interrupted by the laughter of Councilwoman Grandinetti.

Anello asked what was so funny?

 “I wasn’t laughing at you, I was laughing at my friend in the audience,” Grandinetti replied.

When asked if she shouldn’t pay attention to speakers, Grandinetti, barely able to restrain her giggling, declined to respond.


After seven years, Grandinetti had never sponsored a single law that passed. She finally came up with a doozy. She proposed to amend a city ordinance that would make feeding a stray cat a criminal offense.

“No cat shall be fed, sheltered, maintained or harbored that is not domesticated,” Grandinetti’s proposed law stated. “No person shall harbor, maintain or feed any unlicensed or stray cat.”

Under her proposed legislation, cats would no longer be permitted to “interfere with garbage receptacles,” or to “defecate, urinate or dig” on any property not belonging to the cat owner.

Grandinetti’s ordinance went so far as to provide fines and threaten jail time for people who fed cats or allowed their cats to leave their property.

She became the target of disdain by cat lovers across the country, following an article about it in the Reporter.

Her more sensible council colleagues decided against the cat ordinance.


Grandinetti was found to be operating an illegal bed and breakfast in her Orchard Parkway home. Only after it made headlines in the Reporter did she take steps to comply with city law.

She posted a defense claiming she was being picked on.

“Everybody can sleep tonight and look for something else to torment me about,” she wrote. “I filled out the Bed and Breakfast paperwork with code enforcement… Because of my position I am subject to SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT.”



Grandinetti often appeared bored during council meetings and spent her time texting friends and posting on Facebook.

After a lengthy city council presentation, she was overheard saying, “I wanted to jab a pencil through my head.”

Her texting and posting on Facebook got so bad that Councilman Kenny Thompkins sponsored a resolution to ban the use of cell phones at council meetings.

Grandinetti admitted she used multiple devices during meetings, including her cell phone.  “I am a woman. I can multi-task,” she said.


Grandinetti advised local filmmaker Ken Cosentino to leave the city if he didn’t like the way Mayor Dyster was running it.

“If you don’t like where you are, MOVE, You are not a tree,” Grandinetti posted on Facebook.

Dozens of people fired back at her with disgust. She was quickly turned into a meme circulating the Internet.


Grandinetti was running for reelection, hoping to win a third term.

After eight years in office, it was evident that people were questioning her competence and integrity.

She lashed back on Facebook, writing, “I am saddened by the amount of people who believe the nonsense they read. I don’t not appreciate being called a thief. I do not appreciate being accused of illegal activity…. I love this city and would not hurt it or any of you.”


She lost her bid for a third term. In a field of six candidates, she came in dead last. She was the only woman, but somehow her woman’s voice was not desired in this city.

Someday perhaps, when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children are free to utter the f-word in the Protestant church of their choice, when the sale of dead human fetuses raises no more of an eyebrow than the sale of fish fillets or corn in a can and when American soldiers march into battle beneath the passive pastels of the Rainbow flag, Grandinetti’s work will be done.

Meantime she is endorsing the candidate that best reflect her ideals to turn the tide in our city – Seth Piccirillo.  

Vote accordingly.


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