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JUNE 9 - JUNE 17, 2015

On the Road Again, with Campaign Trail Tales

By James Szwedo

JUNE 9, 2015

James "Jim" Szwedo had this message about the reaction he is getting from the people of this city based on a series of articles he has written for this newspaper: "People really are hearing you. They are reading your paper, and they are listening. As always, thanks for allowing me this opportunity, to share this experience with you and the citizens."

The best part of running for office has finally begun: that is, talking to the citizens, listening to their problems, and asking them to allow me to help them by signing my petitions, so that together, our voices will finally be heard.

What saddens me is learning that the citizens have been waiting 4, 5, and even 6 years to have their concerns addressed, if they would ever be addressed at all. The good news, my fellow citizens, is that most of these problems are easily fixed, if we had a government that just listened and acted, rather than one that pays outside interests to study the problems and then reacts as they grow worse.

This, my friends, is something that we would immediately change. We need to fix the small problems quickly and correctly, so that we don’t have to do them twice. It seems in Niagara Falls that, over the last several years, we always find money to do the jobs over, but never the money to do the jobs right the first time. This is consistent, it seems, through all aspects of work performed, whether it be in roads, water, or infrastructure.

Perhaps hiring an engineer with actual experience in roads and aging infrastructure could help to address those problems. Maybe the Mayor should hire another Buffalo firm to study that.

Another thing that bothers me is, how come, when we enter into contracts with developers and businesses, we never seem to have recourse when they don’t live up to their end of the deal? (Real estate contracts, Hamister deal, grants for businesses, tax incentives, etc.)

Could it be the City Law Department? But wait, I’ve been told we have at least one very talented and capable attorney working for the city. I guess it’s too bad he’s been instructed to hand out the work to outside-favored law firms, rather than to do the work within his Department.

While I’m going down this road, let’s talk about the City Police Department, which was sold out by a Mayor who didn’t have the courage to stand up for the men and women who, every day, put themselves in harm’s way to protect the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls.

I have to stop this train of thought right now, because it seems that everything this Mayor has done was to benefit outside interests at the expense of the citizens he swore to represent. People tell me they’ve been waiting over a year to get a meeting with the Mayor. Please, learn one thing: this is not how it should be! We need to demand more. Good government includes the people, not excludes them. Problems don’t become issues if we don’t ignore them. And citizens don’t become angry if we would just listen and involve them.


How can we justify a Mayor who chooses to run his business outside of the city that he represents? How can we justify a Mayor that holds major fundraisers in Erie County, rather than having the courtesy to choose businesses in the city that he represents? And finally, how can we justify a Mayor that only begins to address the needs of his citizens once every four years?

I’m walking, I’m talking, but most importantly, I’m listening. I am not making you promises. I am not paying someone to make phone calls to you and tell you what to do. I’m knocking on your door, I’m looking you in the eye, and I’m feeling your pain. But most of all, I’m telling you to expect more. To demand more than just empty promises and candy once every four years.

Together, and only together, can we change things. All I can promise you is a voice in the future of Niagara Falls, and that I will always put the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls ahead of outside interests. I don’t have a magic wand, powerful and rich political backers, or outside interests I owe allegiance to. It’s just me, listening to you.

This is about your voice, and your future.





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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina