It’s like déjà vu all over again… Same Retreads Survive Primary

In Niagara Falls

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 Kristen Grandinetti.

Who among us can figure out the sorceress-like spell she’s cast upon the Niagara Falls voter? Garnering some 1,457 votes in the Democratic primary Tuesday, finishing third after incumbent Andrew Touma (1,784) and newcomer Bill Kennedy, she still clinched a spot on November’s general election ballot.

Her record could not be worse. Aside from running an illegal bed and breakfast, turning her Facebook page into a forum for early childhood sex education, her crusade against cats and their owners and her habit of texting on her telephone during the public comment period at City Council meetings, the two time incumbent and grade school teacher has advanced no meaningful legislation during her too many years in office.

Both Lakea Perry, with 1,205 votes, and Amber Hill-Donhauser, with 1,275, came remarkably close to unseating Ms. Grandinetti despite a lack of party support.

In one of the great love stories of all time, Councilwoman Grandinetti once called Mike Hudson “ignorant.”

Mr. Kennedy ran a spirited campaign, telling the Niagara Falls Reporter, “I always said I had to get through the primary, then the Dems will have to help me, even against their will.”

“I’m not a yes man,” he added.

Ms. Grandinetti’s low level of support came as good news to Sam Archie, Chris Voccio and Robert Pascoal, who will represent the Republican Party in the November election. Former city councilwoman Candra Thomason finished out of the money.

“I just fear we may end up with some of the same people getting in again,” she told the Reporter. “I sent an email to the Republican candidates that won congratulating them and wishing them good luck in the general election.”

With three open seats on the Council, at least one new face will be a certainty. But with the power of incumbency and the support of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, it may be difficult for any of the newcomers to dislodge Mr. Touma or Ms. Grandinetti, she added.

On a brighter note, local attorney James Faso handily won on all lines in the primary and will almost certainly be our next city court judge, replacing Robert Merino, who will turn 70 this year, which is the mandatory judicial retirement age in New York State.

Mr. Faso comes from another prominent area family.  A Democrat, Mr. Faso was the winner on the Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Independence and Working Families Party lines.

Mr. Faso lives in Niagara Falls with his wife, Valerie, a teacher at Niagara Falls High School, and their two daughters. He has been around the legal system and politics all his life as the son of longtime of Town of Niagara Justice James J. Faso, Sr.

James Faso won all party lines for City Court judge

A graduate of Niagara University and the University of Toledo College of Law, Mr. Faso is a member of the Niagara County Bar Association and is also a member and general counsel for the Niagara County Police and Judges Association.

“Our community recognizes the importance of having members of the legal community serving in our court system that have the experience and maturity to handle the cases presented,” he said. “I am ready to do that work starting on day one.”

Those who voted for Ms. Grandinetti and Mr. Touma, who serve as rubber stamps for the mayor’s policies, apparently think everything is peachy in Niagara Falls, just as those who returned Mayor Dyster to office last year do.

In reality, it is the most crime ridden, highly taxed municipality in New York State, also boasting one of the highest levels of poverty, and the highest rate of unemployment.

“In a democracy the people get the government they deserve,” Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote.

Nowhere is this truer than Niagara Falls.

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