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Fruscione Back in the Race!

New billboards seen in Niagara Falls
Sam Fruscione is back in the race...

It is official: Sam Fruscione is in the race for Niagara Falls City Council to win (see his op-ed on page 11). He is now actively campaigning.

Fruscione is on the ballot on the Conservative and Independence party lines. The race is a seven- way race for three seats on the council.

For a time, it was unclear if Fruscione would make an effort to win the election after suffering defeat in the Democratic primary.

Outdoor billboards are appearing this week in several locations featuring the text: "Please join (Councilman) Bob Anderson in supporting Sam Fruscione and Russ Vesci," and a photograph of the three men.

Vesci is a Republican candidate for council.

Fruscione, who is completing his second four-year term on the council, came in fourth out of four contenders in the Democratic Primary, amid an almost daily pummeling by the local mainstream media who, by virtue of their news coverage, were intent on showing that Fruscione, in seeking to question the Hamister hotel deal, was a man apart from the three other candidates running - incumbents Kristen Grandinetti, and Charles Walker, and Andrew Touma who all supported the Hamister project.

Fruscione is also, clearly, a man apart from Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.

For example, in 2012, Dyster proposed a budget raising taxes 8.3 percent for homes and 5 percent for businesses while cutting 27 jobs from the city’s workforce. Fruscione, along with councilmen Glenn Choolokian and Robert Anderson, who have been dubbed the council majority, were able to cut Dyster’s proposed budget down to a zero tax increase and restore all city jobs.

The major cut Fruscione made in Dyster’s proposed 2012 budget was a $3.1 million cut in city aid to USA Niagara, a state agency that had been taking, in addition to its normal state funding, about 18 percent of the city’s state aid.

USA Niagara creates development plans and gives public money to private developers to encourage their development plans in the downtown corridor of the city. To keep USA Niagara funded with city money, Dyster was prepared to raise taxes and lay off city workers in his quest to use government funding to rebuild a city.

Fruscione was unwilling to raise taxes or lay off individuals to fund a state agency.

Fruscione also fought to stop, after more than $750,000 in city funding, subsidizing the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC), pointing out that not-for-profits should fund themselves and not be reliant on public money.

Dyster sought to fund the NACC with $30,000 in annual subsidies and he and his wife and their private home brewing supply store participate in the NACC’s annual Art of Beer fund raising event.

Fruscione not only opposed public money supporting a beer festival but called Dyster’s role in the beer fundraiser a conflict.

Many of the NACC members spoke against and actively campaigned against Fruscione.

Therein is the difference between Fruscione and the mayor.

All three of the Democratic primary winners- Touma, Grandinetti, and Walker are seen as ardent Dyster supporters.

In the primary the Democratic voters made a clear choice: they wanted an unobstructed Mayor Paul Dyster.

It remains to be seen whether or not the general public which includes the less ardent Democrats, Republicans and independent voters feel as strongly as Democratic primary voters that the plans of Mayor Paul Dyster do not need checks and balances - such as those that have been provided by Sam Fruscione.

In any event Fruscione is back in the race.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 15, 2013