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By Mike Hudson

Lewiston, as we all know, is a charming and progressive community situated along a wide and uncharacteristically calm stretch of the Lower Niagara River. Fine restaurants are legion, as are historically and architecturally important residences and commercial buildings that stand today as testimony to the community pride and sense of historical preservation of the Lewistonians themselves.

Likewise, the village has a proud tradition of progressivism, dating back even before the Antebellum era, when Josiah Tryon transported countless numbers of former slaves who had fled the Southern plantations for the hope of freedom in Canada. The Underground Railroad's Lewiston "station master" made an untold number of river crossings in a small rowboat he kept, delivering his precious cargo to the Canadian shore.

Yes, Lewiston is seen by most of us not fortunate enough to live there as a bucolic place, one whose many attractions allow residents to enjoy the good life, far enough removed from any of the urban blight and bad roads that typify neighboring Niagara Falls to seem almost like a different country altogether.

But Lewiston does have problems, particularly with vermin. Worse than maggots, rats and skunks combined, Lewiston has the not-too-bright Ed Lilly and his dumber-than-dirt accomplice, Lenny Palumbo, the two responsible for a series of racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist tracts that get scattered around the village like garbage every couple of months.

Between them, Lilly and Palumbo have cost taxpayers in the Lewiston-Porter School District hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years on nuisance lawsuits meant to subvert the very idea of representative democracy. In addition, Palumbo has compiled an extensive police record. Their infantile tracts are simply the latest manifestation of the sort of hatred they spewed when they were members of the Lew-Port Board of Education, positions they have since been relieved of.

Lilly and Palumbo are also cowards. They publish their tracts anonymously, refusing to accept responsibility for the vile and sickening viewpoints contained in them. Like the white-hooded riders of the Ku Klux Klan, they use of the cover of darkness to do their dirty work, creating a mess for homeowners by tossing the hateful printed matter on front lawns and driveways from the window of a speeding car.

Their gutlessness was highlighted on Dec. 1 of last year when a woman on Chicora Road in the Town of Lewiston told police that two men in a 2010 blue Toyota Camry attempted to litter her property with the filthy rag at approximately 8:40 p.m. Incensed, she took off after them in her own vehicle.

When she caught up with them as they stopped at another residence, she rolled down the passenger window of her car and attempted to return that paper and tell them never to darken her door again. The spineless oaf in the driver's seat punched the gas and fled the scene, but not before the woman managed to jot down the license number.

When the Lewiston Police ran the plate, it came back as being registered to Ed Lilly, whose performance in front of the woman might well give new meaning to the term "Lilly Livered."

The hate sheets are printed at Buffalo Newspress, which is not associated with the Buffalo News, and which also prints the Niagara Falls Reporter.

I had a long e-mail correspondence with Lilly a couple of months ago concerning the tracts, which have targeted me personally. He wouldn't say he was involved and he wouldn't say he wasn't, but he did finger Palumbo, telling me that he and his boy "don't always see eye to eye." After that the correspondence degenerated into him telling me what a great writer I am and how he'd like to meet me for lunch and would buy my books if I would sign them for him personally.

The whole thing got so icky I broke off the correspondence.

Palumbo has also written to me on several occasions via e-mail. For all the bad things he has to say about the Lew-Port School District and the teachers who work there I doubt there are too many Lewiston fourth graders who couldn't beat him in a spelling bee or who have such a poor command of common grammar.

My understanding is that he doesn't work much, lives off an inheritance from his parents and that his wife got sick of being with such a loser and walked out on him.

This column marks the fourth time I've named Lilly and Palumbo as being responsible for the loathsome tracts, and they've never demanded a retraction. And they didn't demand a retraction when Henry Sloma named them in the Buffalo News, either.

Saturday, Lilly announced that he would run for school board up there once again. Why a person who hates teachers and doesn't believe in public education would want to serve on the school board is a secret kept squirreled away in the squirrelly brain of Lilly himself.

His unblinking support of the racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and sexist tracts should alone disqualify him from holding public office. He has, after all, repeatedly said the content of the vile hate sheets is "the truth."

Combined with his cowardice, and his miserable and costly 12-year record on the Lew-Port Board of Education previously, Lilly should remain a pariah, an outcast to be shunned by all right-thinking Lewistonians for whom his election would be an unmitigated disaster.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com April 20, 2010