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DEC 23, 2014 - JAN 07, 2015

Mad Dash for Council Chairmanship is Shaping Up

By Anna M. Howard

December 23, 2014

Who will be the next council chairman? L-R Kristen Grandinetti, Andrew Touma or Charles Walker?

Niagara Falls City Council Chairman Charles Walker, now in the first year of his fifth four-year term, is sitting on something that fellow council members Kristen Grandinetti and Andrew Touma are believed to covet: the chairman's seat.

Grandinetti, presently in the first year of her second council term, and Touma, now in the first year of his first term, have never served as council chairman.

Both current councilmen Bob Anderson and Glenn Choolokian have served in the past as chairman with Choolokian putting in his time in the big chair just last year.

Walker, the current chairman, has served as chairman in the past, previous to his current term.

In 2014 Walker snatched the chairman's gavel from Grandinetti's hand, in a last minute crafty ploy, as Grandinetti, the only female council member was been poised to ascend to the chairmanship.

Reliable sources within city government informed the Reporter at the time that Ms. Grandinetti was quite upset as to how Walker did an end-around her by gathering the supporting votes of Anderson and Choolokian in order to block her from the big seat.

Sources now tell us that council freshman Andrew Touma has written to his fellow council members respectfully asking for their support to make him chairman for 2015.

How does this sit with Kristen Grandinetti?

Will she stand idly by as the gavel, for the second consecutive year, is slipped from her hands? She is concluding her fifth year as a council member and has yet to sit as chairman.

Touma, in spite of only one year of service, and in light of one or two well-intended errors he may have made this year, has presented himself as one of the more vocal and involved council members.

In contrast Ms. Grandinetti has appeared to be more concerned with those things that have nothing to do with administering the city budget and guiding the city, such as, Planned Parenthood, women's rights, gender equality and the ilk. Admirable as he her work in those areas may be she brings nothing to the city government table by immersing herself in those social activist areas.

So, while she has five years on the job compared to Touma's one year, Touma has made more noise and raised more questions in 12 months than Grandinetti has in 60 months.

Just saying.

Add to this the fact that Ms. Grandinetti has damaged herself by consistently, some would say blindly, supporting the mayor in everything he recommends. In fact she is so supportive of Dyster that we scratched our collective head here at the Reporter and we can't think of a single issue or occasion where she took serious issue with Mayor Dyster.

Given that fact alone we believe that Touma, based on all the evidence at hand, would make the better choice for chairman.

Having said that the choice for chairman will be made by the five council members with, as odd as it seems, Anderson and Choolokian, being in the catbird seats, poised to make either Touma or Grandinetti the chairman for 2015…as long as Touma, Walker and Grandinetti remain split as to which of them gets to hold the gavel.

For all of 2014 Anderson and Choolokian have been at the consistent short end of the 3-2 voting block, but they now have the power to select the next chairman.

Politics is strange and what we now see with the selection of the 2015 council chairman is about as strange as it gets, but no one ever said politics – let alone Niagara Falls politics – wasn't odd and unpredictable.





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Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
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