|(L-R): Kristen Grandinetti, Andy
Touma and Charles Walker|
|Ryan Undercoffer replaces Ormsby|
Niagara Falls Council member Kristen Grandinetti was widely expected to be named as the council chairman for 2104 at the reorganization meeting Wednesday (Jan. 1).
But sources say that Charles Walker, a 16-year veteran of the council, has lined up the votes of council members Glenn Choolokian and Bob Anderson and will become the new chairman.
Walker is said to have the support of Choolokian, Anderson – and newcomer Andrew Touma, along with his own vote.
Touma, a school teacher, and Catholic lay leader, was the top vote getter in the last council race. While it has little to do with city governance, Touma is said to be troubled over Grandinetti's strong pro-choice political stance.
The 2013 campaign mailers of “team Walker-Grandinetti-Touma” paid for by the Niagara County Democrats, promoted the Walker-Touma-Grandinetti ticket as “hard working, respectful and independent” and promised a “fresh start” for Niagara Falls if elected.
Behind the scenes, sources say, Walker and Grandinetti are now at odds with each other.
Interestingly, Choolokian and Anderson asked Walker to retain council secretary Kevin Ormsby. Walker said he was told/ordered by the city Democratic Committee that Ormsby had to go and that he had to vote to hire Ryan Undercoffer as the new council secretary.
The City Democratic Committee is led by Mayor Paul Dyster, with Alicia Laible and Ida Massaro doing the day-to-day work.
Undercoffer is a former aide to Louise Slaughter and published a thesis "Socialism for the Natural Lawyer," where he endorses socialism as intrinsically desirable, and capitalism as intrinsically repugnant.
Meantime, sources say, Walker will obey the city committee and hire their socialist secretary, but defy the committee in not supporting Grandinetti for chairwoman.
Of course, things could change anytime.
Choolokian, Anderson and Walker could align and create a new council majority.
Or Choolokian could nominate Anderson for chairman.
With Anderson nominated, Walker and Touma – allies in their opposition to Grandinetti as chairman - will probably vote for Walker. But they will have only two votes.
What does Grandinetti do then? Would she support Walker or Anderson?