What’s New in the Falls, you ask?

22 Nov

Sometimes, when you figure that Erie County and/or the City of Buffalo are too dysfunctional for their own good, it’s fun to check in on our northern neighbors (no, not the Canadian ones), and see how things are going in the Cataract City. As always, we turn to the only real paper in that town. The Niagara Falls Reporter.

First off, we have a unique and cutting-edge marketing tool that the City of Niagara Falls is sending out. It’s on a CD-ROM. Wow. How 1994.

A new CD-ROM released as a marketing tool by the Anello administration last week reportedly cost more than $20,000 to produce, yet looks as though it was created by a high school student as part of a computer class project.

The mellifluous voice of city Events Coordinator Tom Darro narrates the mess, which would more accurately have been entitled “Welcome to Niagara Falls NY: A city under investigation.” The narration, a text of which needlessly appears on the screen, is read over background music that might well have served as the soundtrack for a 1970s porn movie.

It wouldn’t be so bad if tax money wasn’t being used to release it.

The library is still owed money promised to it by the City, and the City is trying to, in Justice Doyle’s words, “welsh” on its commitment. The Niagara Falls Reporter doesn’t like the City’s chances against the library.

Falls Mayor Anello is still under investigation by the FBI for an allegedly improper no-interest “loan” that “Smokin’ Joe” Anderson gave Anello. When Anello was elected, Anderson was given a no-bid contract to run the family fun park that’s located where the Wintergarden used to be. On top of that, a no-interest loan of that amount is considered income by the IRS, and Anello didn’t declare it as such. Ouch.

Anello is not simply a bad mayor, he’s a community-wide disaster. His tax increase and friends-and-family hiring policy, along with his mishandling of the library fiasco and charges of institutional racism at the city’s Department of Public Works, would have qualified him for the former title, but it is his status as a focus of the combined state and federal Official Corruption Task Force that places him squarely in the latter category.

The Reporter urges the Niagara Falls City Council to hold a no-confidence vote viz. Anello; asking him to step down, pending the ongoing investigation.

It wants some other changes, too. Changes that sound all-to-familiar to any beleaguered Erie County taxpayer.

It could come as early as next year, and will, unless Council has the fortitude to put the knife to the mayor’s bloated budget. Last week, Council picked a fine place to start, proposing the elimination of do-nothing, make-work jobs created by Anello over the past two years. Jobs with titles like golf director, events coordinator, tourism director, risk manager, parking director and grants writer were created specifically to provide high-paying jobs for the cadre of politically connected vagrants who helped Anello into office during the 2003 election cycle.

Not only would the elimination of these unnecessary offices save the city a ton of money, it would go a long way toward showing the citizenry and interested law enforcement personnel that Niagara Falls will no longer tolerate a government based on the politics of personal enrichment.

Along the same lines, Council might do well to consider legislation making it a firing offense for a city employee to be convicted of a crime such as assault, theft or drug-dealing, crimes for which a number of current municipal workers have entered guilty pleas.

And while they’re at it, would random drug testing of all city workers and officials be a bad idea? It’s a common practice in private industry.

The budget is further littered with detritus seemingly designed to create a slush fund, such as the $40,000 earmarked for the 13th Street Playground, a piece of property the city no longer owns. Line by line, the Council needs to go through the document and ruthlessly exorcise such waste.

A hiring freeze should be imposed immediately, and residency laws should be strictly enforced. In this vein, the Council might want to take a look at the residency of City Administrator Dan Bristol, who lives in Wilson.

One Response to “What’s New in the Falls, you ask?”


  1. Bhopal on the Niagara | Artvoice Daily - March 21, 2013

    […] up in Niagara Falls, they have a special way of appearing small-minded, petty, outrageous, and stupid. That is, of course, when […]

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