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APR 28 - MAY 05, 2015

City Democratic Committee Rubber
Stamps Dyster and His Council Candidates

By Anna Howard

April 28, 2015

The three person pro Dyster Council majority of (l) Kristen Grandinetti, (center) Andy Touma and (right) Charles Walker soon hope to add to its numbers Alicia Laible (center). This presupposes that Dyster wins reelection as mayor which is seen as a large question mark. The party political establishment wants Dyster for he is generous to special interests such as themselves. But it remains to be seen whether the people not connected to politics want four more years like the preceeding eight they have had.
Alicia Laible is endorsed.
Gordy Stewart, put there by Dyster endorses Dyster and his pro-Dsyter slate.
Ezra Scott announces Wednesday is endorsed on Thursday.

The Niagara Falls City Democratic Committee met in a bar - the Stadium Grill - last week and unanimously endorsed Mayor Paul Dyster for a third term, with committee chairman, Gordy Stewart III saying, “You simply cannot deny the fact that there is more development in this city occurring under the leadership of our mayor than literally in my entire lifetime.”

In addition to the Dyster endorsement the committee blessed Alicia Laible and Ezra Scott, Jr. for council, Mark Violante and Danielle Restaino for city judge, and county legislative incumbents Dennis Virtuoso, Owen Steed, Mark Grozio and Jason Zona.

Although many people contend that the words political and unethical are arguably the same word, what happened at the bar with the Democratic endorsements is essentially par for the tortured course of city politics: it’s always painfully political but not necessarily unethical.

As for Mayor Dyster there was no way he wasn’t going to be endorsed since he has always had firm control over the city committee and he comes to the race equipped with a bushel of campaign cash from Buffalo special interests.

The Buffalo interests want to make sure Dyster stays in office because he’s good for business. He makes it rain for his corporate supporters, generating consulting contracts and construction projects, whether the city needs it or not.

Glenn Choolokian, the Democratic challenger to Dyster’s third term, never had a chance of being endorsed and he knew it.

He wasn't even called for an interview.

Democrats indeed.

With regard to the council, the committee had zero interest in helping Robert Anderson win a third term since Anderson (in spite of supporting the Hamister deal) isn’t part of the Dyster circle. The Hamister deal was then, this is now, and the mayor wants five compliant 2016 council members.

Democratic council candidate Rick Smith, from the moment he announced, positioned himself as his own man, not as a Dyster puppet. He was a dead Democrat walking as far as the committee was concerned.

Alicia Laible has been a favorite of Paul Dyster ever since he introduced her to Niagara Falls voters four years ago as he got the committee then to endorse her unsuccessful run for council.

After losing that race, Dyster anointed her as the city Democratic Party Chairman and she recently passed the committee chairman’s gavel to Gordy Stewart III in order to make a run for council.

Dyster is determined to place the young Ms. Laible on the council. The mayor is still smarting over his favorite female council candidate’s whisker thin loss to Glenn Choolokian four years ago.

Political newbie Ezra Scott, Jr. is the wild card that came from nowhere to snag the council endorsement. He literally announced his candidacy one day and received the party endorsement the next.

How did that happen?

We understand that Ezra, an employee of the city school system, was encouraged to enter the contest by councilwoman, and teacher, Kristen Grandinetti.

We’re fascinated by this turn of events inasmuch as Grandinetti’s vocal Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politics may significantly impact Mr. Scott’s campaign plans. The Scott family is well respected and well represented both professionally and religiously in the local community. 

Dyster has cast his bread upon the 2015 council election waters in the hopes of producing what he has coveted since 2008: an impenetrable council voting block.

Imagine the spendthrift mayor finally out of control in his administrative habits but totally in control of the council, racing through casino cash, raising taxes, hiring more consultants, employing more lawyers, and gifting favored employees and businesses with more pay and grants. 

In the city judge race there are two seats open and three candidates. The committee endorsed incumbent city court judge Mark Violante and then endorsed Danielle Restaino over David Boniello.

We couldn’t help but notice that Danielle’s father is Robert Restaino, a onetime potential mayor candidate who might have given Paul Dyster the race of his life had he entered the contest.

In case anyone is keeping score the mayor is currently considering the hiring of Johnny Destino (until recently a would-be mayor contender) as the city’s management information services director.

People have accused Paul Dyster of many things but one thing he’s never been accused of is lacking the ability to shape-shift politically with the best - or perhaps the worst - of them. 





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