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DEC 10 - DEC 17, 2015

Only in NT - Column is one year old! Thank you, Reporter!

By Sweeney Payne

DEC 10, 2015

Shawn Nickerson

Here we go again! Art Pappas is still serving the remainder of his appointed term, which made him the incumbent for the election where he finally was elected Mayor beginning January 1.  At the December 1 Common Council workshop Pappas submitted a letter appointing Shawn Nickerson to a six-year term as North Tonawanda City Court Judge, starting December 30, 2015 and ending December 30, 2021.

Nickerson, who graduated from law school in 1991, began his political career by being named assistant city attorney in 2000. He was handpicked by that not-so-grand old party to move up to City Attorney in 2005.

Our “august body,” the Common Council now has to appoint an acting City Attorney to complete the term voters elected Nickerson to, in order to make the appointee an incumbent at election time.

Are you seeing the pattern here?

Something in City Hall smells rotten with all the early retirements from elected office in the last dozen years leading to political appointees becoming incumbents when they faced the voters for the first time. Where is that Attorney General or Common Cause-New York on all of this political fun-and-games in NT?

Pappas claimed “several others” expressed an interest in the city Court Judge position. Who?

Nickerson replaces former City Attorney turned executive assistant to Mayor Lawrence Soos, appointed City Court Judge by Mayor Soos at the end of his term in 2009, Jeffrey Mis.

No surprise that Nickerson is recommending Katherine Alexander, who graduated from law school and was named assistant City Attorney primarily because she had served an internship with Senator Maziarz. You’d need to be blind, deaf and just plain stupid to not realize Maziarz and Wojtaszek still hold those puppet strings in NT!

It’s time for NT residents to mobilize voters for future elections! The dirty tricks and machinations those currently in office participated in during the 2015 campaign period should be reason enough for a third party to be established and developed before the next election!

The Democratic party could resurrect itself, but it didn’t do a good job in 2015. If it cannot recreate itself as a viable party effectively representing residents, the only other choice is for a new party.

We are celebrating our first anniversary of the “Only in NT” column. The Niagara Falls Reporter printed our first column in the December 16-23, 2014 edition. We have been proud to give voice to the countless residents whose voices have been stifled over the last decade.

We are doing in this column what many of you have tried unsuccessfully to do in recent years—asking for explanations of things our elected representatives don’t completely explain to us—if they bother to tell us anything at all. They aren’t answering us directly, either, but we have observed some minor changes based on points we have made. Political appointees do comment directly at times, but we didn’t elect members of City boards or LCDC to represent us.

A first priority for our “new” eight people in a room in 2016, which will no doubt include Alexander, should be giving residents back the Niagara River waterfront. Stop focusing on bringing in outsiders to use and damage our Gratwick-Riverside Park and work on giving us back the entire waterfront from the Town of Wheatfield border to Wheatfield Street!

Include Tonawanda Island as waterfront usage for residents. Put industry in other areas of NT away from the waterfront, especially parts already polluted by former industrial occupants.

Article VI, Sec. 6.001 (d) of the City Charter reads, "No action shall be maintained for damages or injuries to the person sustained in consequence of the existence of snow or ice upon any sidewalk, crosswalk, or street, nor for damages or injury to person or property alleged to have been caused or sustained by reason of any defects in, want of repair of, or obstruction of any of the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, crosswalks or public places of the city unless written notice thereof relating to the particular place, was actually given to the common council and there was a failure or neglect to cause such snow or ice to be removed, or the place otherwise made reasonably safe or repaired within a reasonable time after the receipt of such notice."

Especially occupants of properties in the downtown area should pay attention to this clause and notify the Common Council as soon as safety hazards arise this winter from snow and ice not removed promptly by NT. All residents should immediately report potholes and worsening of streets, including the ones they "repaired" this year.






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