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A Vote for Fruscione Important to City’s Future


Sam Fruscione (left) prepares to cut Mayor Paul Dyster’s tax hike. Kristen Grandinetti (center) looks away.

The Hamister Hysteria, a strange, psychological malady that seems to have affected everyone from the editorial boards of the daily newspapers to politicians such as Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Brian Higgins and Sen. Charles Schumer, may be about to claim its first real victim.

Hamister Hysteria, which is characterized by a completely irrational desire to throw millions of dollars in public tax money at a Buffalo nursing home operator named Mark Hamister, has been directed primarily at one man, City Councilman Sam Fruscione, who - not coincidentally - is running for re-election in today’s primary.

Fruscione hasn’t been critical of the Hamister deal so much as he simply questioned certain aspects of it, an unforgiveable sin in the eyes of those afflicted with Hamister Hysteria. They see Hamister, the developer who has proposed building a dinky and nondescript hotel on what may be the most valuable piece of city-owned property in the tourist district, a currently vacant lot known as Parcel 4, as a savior for all the city’s past developmental sins.

Hamister wants the city to give him the land, which has been appraised as being worth between $1.5 and $2 million, in return for $100,000, barely enough to allow Dyster to sponsor three concerts by washed-up rock acts at the Hard Rock Café.

He also wants $2.75 million from the state and a decade’s worth of tax breaks from the county.

Does Niagara Falls really need another heavily subsidized 100-room, low amenity hotel? Fruscione is one of the few who has even bothered to ask. As it is, the city’s tourist district is packed to the rafters with low-rent hotel rooms that sit largely vacant nine months out of the year.

And even if such a hotel could be successful, why would the developer of such a potential gold mine need to be given a piece of property for less than 10 percent of its lowest appraised value? Again, Fruscione has been one of the few to ask, and has been publicly crucified for doing so.

What the Hamister Hysteria really about is shifting the balance of power on the Niagara Falls City Council. Currently, Fruscione, along with Councilmen Bob Anderson and Glenn Choolokian who make up the council majority, provide at least a modicum of checks and balances on the Dyster Administration, a tax-and-spend-regime dedicated to the proposition that government is the answer to - rather than the cause of - most problems faced by society today.

Should Fruscione lose in today’s primary vote, a new majority could form, consisting of Councilman Charles Walker, Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and political neophyte Andy Touma. While Walker and Grandinetti have shown themselves to be nothing more than rubber stamps for even the most outlandish Dyster proposals, Touma is the cousin of Dyster campaign manager Craig Touma.

Dyster would have free reign to dump millions of gallons of radioactive fracking wastewater into the Niagara River, import even more parolees and sex offenders into the city to bolster population numbers, and spend even more money on pet projects like the train station that few will ever use.

The city needs Sam Fruscione to stay right where he is, asking tough and sometimes unpopular questions, and not taking no for an answer. For that reason alone, we here at the Niagara Falls Reporter urge you to cast your ballot for him today.

It's important.



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

SEP 10, 2013