Niagara Falls Schools Superintendent Carmen Granto and Niagara Memorial Medical Center President Joseph Ruffolo are a couple of pretty savvy guys. Each has risen to the top of his profession, and both take the administration of the institutions they preside over very seriously.
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Both men are public servants and, as such, recognize that they live in a world governed by politics. Which is why, last week, they issued a joint statement highly critical of a proposal by state Assemblywoman Francine Del Monte concerning the distribution of the local share of revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino.
Del Monte's proposal was crassly political. She is introducing legislation, doomed from the outset, that would hand upwards of $10 million over to Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello and the tattered Democratic Party here next January. The proposal is also thuddingly reactionary, coming, as it did, weeks after state Sen. George Maziarz offered his own plan for the casino cash.
Under the Maziarz plan, around $3.5 million would automatically be funneled into the school district, the hospital, the Niagara Falls International Airport and the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. The rest would be given directly to the city.
The Del Monte proposal pays lip service to schools, the hospital, the airport and tourism, but cedes ultimate authority for distribution of the money to Anello, who would quite likely use it to put even more unqualified Democratic Party hacks and family members on the city's payroll.
Frankly, we can't understand why Maziarz and Del Monte are arguing over the city's share of the casino money. The state's raking in three times as much and there's been zero discussion among our elected representatives in Albany about how that money may be brought home to benefit the woefully neglected Niagara Frontier.
But, given the current discussion, we believe the Del Monte proposal to be a joke. Maziarz, in a news release sent out two weeks ago, said that any legislation that would give Anello 100 percent control over the local share of the casino proceeds would be "dead on arrival" in the state Senate.
Carmen Granto and Joseph Ruffolo know a cheap election-year ploy when they see one. So do we. Francine Del Monte probably didn't have to do it, but she did it, and it's not much to her credit.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Oct. 5 2004|