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Mayor Paul Dyster's sycophants, the misinformed and the gullible, are walking around town muttering, "He paved so many streets, I guess we have to re-elect him."

Our standards for political leadership have fallen so low that the simple act of applying asphalt on a city road -- a simple, normal and expected function of governance in most cities -- becomes here the road to re-election.

The facts, however, are that some of the streets being paved have been accomplished through state and federal planning and money.

They just recently -- and finally -- rose to the top of the hopper for their funding turn.

Pine Avenue, Main Street, Packard Road, Pershing, Buffalo Avenue, 24th Street and other paving jobs done recently were federally funded jobs.

Apropos of the character of the man, Dyster is taking credit for it.

But why hasn't he taken responsibility for the Lewiston Road debacle, which he is directly responsible for?

Lewiston Road was supposed to be finished this year, and instead it's heading to a possible two-year delay, and almost certainly court.

Thanks to the council, led by Sam Fruscione, having the foresight to set aside money to do road repair work, Dyster, of course, can take some credit for paving -- or rather, patching -- some potholes in the city.

Which begs the question: Will Dyster assume the blame for some of these patched last year that are already coming undone?

One DPW worker said that many of the local paving jobs Dyster ordered were done with inferior paving material, in particular putting less tar and more stone in the paving mix, potentially allowing them to do more roads in this election year more quickly.

Council chairman Fruscione told the Reporter that a visual inspection by him and council member Robert Anderson revealed that this may be true.

"It is very porous," Fruscione said of Dyster's various pothole-patch jobs. "You can see the stones and, when it is porous like that, water gets under it and can lift the patch out, and you have the pothole again, only bigger."

This year, Fruscione and Anderson insisted that they use a better asphalt mix. Dyster claims to be a record-breaking paving mayor -- when, actually, he quite likely gave our streets the bum's rush, calculating that they only have to last until Election Day.

Go look for yourself.

Which raises another question: Would Dyster care to explain what happened to his campaign promise to have a "pothole hotline" in place from day one of his administration?

Most recently, Dyster announced plans to pave a long stretch of Buffalo Avenue this summer. It was big news in the local daily.

Dyster headed to the front of the publicity hag line. The fact is, this project is funded mainly by state and federal money that Dyster had nothing to do with securing.

Buffalo Avenue had risen this year to the top of a federal to-do list. It was placed on the list more than 10 years ago.

Still, the self-serving mayor, with the dexterity of a stage magician, did his sleight of hand and stood in front of the cameras to take credit for the project.

Taking credit for what he is not reminds us of one of Aesop's Fables.

An apple orchard and a cow pasture were side by side. The rains came and washed the apples and cow patties together into the river. As they floated downstream, the cow patties were heard to exclaim, "My, how we apples can swim."

The gullible and misinformed are already saying, "My, how that Dyster can swim."

Speaking of paving, we couldn't help but notice that the engineers for the Buffalo Avenue roadwork are Clough Harbour and Associates of Albany, N.Y.

We weren't surprised to see that, like so many other consultants and engineers that do business with Dyster's Niagara Falls, Clough Harbour has donated to Dyster's campaign -- and in the following generous amounts:

Niagara County Democratic Committee, $455, May 2007
Dyster, $100, July 2008
Dyster, $350, November 2007
Dyster, $150, April 2008
Dyster, $150, October 2007
Dyster, $500, September 2007

Look for their name to appear again this election season on Dyster's late-season campaign disclosures.

We said it repeatedly: While Dyster takes credit for everything, he does nothing, unless something is in it for him.

Mayor Dyster declined multiple requests for interviews for this story.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com April 5, 2011