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JULY 08 - JULY 16, 2014

Dyster Hastily Pulls Funding Resolution After Touma Puts $10K Cap on Blues Funding

By Mike Hudson

July 08, 2014

Councilman Andrew Touma, not a rubber stamp for Mayor Paul Dyster.


When Andrew Touma won last year's Democratic City Council primary, upsetting incumbent Sam Fruscione, a lot of people figured that Mayor Paul Dyster would pretty much have it his own way during his second term.

Touma is, after all, a cousin to Dyster's campaign manager Craig Touma, and blood is usually thicker than water, especially in Niagara Falls.

But in the little more than six months since he was sworn in, Touma has proven he is certainly not the rubber stamp expected by Dyster and his people and also not the immovable Dyster foe Fruscione was while in office.

At this week's City Council work session, held prior to the public council meeting, Touma said he would refuse to support Dyster's request for $40,000 to fund this year's Niagara Falls Blues Festival.

The reason, he said, was that the festival's organizer, Toby Rotella, had originally asked for only a quarter of that amount.

Dyster pulled the resolution after Touma made a motion to amend the $40,000 to $10,000.

"I think the $10,000 is fair," Touma said. "The organization asked for $10,000 originally. Then somehow it escalated to $40,000. I tend to listen to what someone first asks for and I don't intend to vote to give them more than $10,000."

Touma's fellow council members are split on the issue. Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker are prepared to give the mayor what he wants, $40,000, while Bob Anderson and Glenn Choolokian have balked to the point where they say they wouldn't even approve the $10,000.

All sources contacted by the Niagara Falls Reporter agreed that it was Dyster's idea to up the taxpayer funded contribution by a factor of four after Touma, Anderson and Choolokian shot down a request by the mayor to fund a $40,000 Hard Rock Café concert a few weeks ago.

If Dyster wanted to promote rock concerts and music festivals, he should have gotten into that business rather than running for public office and sucking the city's lifeblood like a leach in order to make his adolescent fantasies come true.

His shameful and embarrassing behavior in not only these relatively trivial matters but also the multimillion dollar new train station and phony Underground Railroad museum or interpretive center or whatever he happens to be calling it this week gives Niagara Falls a reputation for gullibility and fiscal stupidity that will take far longer than any alleged mob connections from the past to repair.





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