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MAR 17 - MAR 24, 2015

Mayoral Candidate Szwedo Makes Candid Remarks During Appearance on Former Mayor Anello's Radio Show

By Anna M. Howard

March 17, 2015

Republican candidate for Mayor of Niagara Falls, James "Jim" Szwedo.

Jim Szwedo, Republican Party candidate for mayor, appeared on the Vince Anello show March 12, and if the strength of his radio appearance is any indicator of the strength of his candidacy the political neophyte just may be able to make his way to the mayor's office in November.

But before he tries to take down the winner of the Democratic primary he'll have to get past former Democrat, and current Republican mayoral candidate, John Accardo who similarly covets Dyster's office on the first floor of city hall.

Historically, the Republican Party - from notable national races down to town hall contests - intensely dislikes to engage in primaries. Until several weeks ago Accardo appeared to have the Republican line for Niagara Falls mayor all to himself...until wildcard Szwedo entered the race.

If anyone thought Szwedo was going to be a primary pushover for the politically experienced Accardo, Szwedo's radio appearance with Vince Anello should have put an end to any such notion.

Szwedo took phone calls, held his own in banter with Anello and laid out a campaign platform that was easy to relate to in its populist call for increased participation in government by city residents.

"Come down to my headquarters at 2512 Niagara Street when it opens and don't bring a campaign check, bring your ideas on how to make the city better, I want to hear from you," the fledgling politico stated.

Plain spoken and sincere? Is such a thing truly possible in a candidate?

Consider this. About three quarters of the way through the show Szwedo, in between Anello's recounting of his days as mayor, managed to lay his campaign platform bare for all to hear. Such forthrightness is rare if not unheard of in local politics.

And while this straight forward talk may come to bite Jim Szwedo in the end (no pun intended) what he said is worth citing here both for its rarity of utterance and the dramatic change in city government it offers to the voter.

Szwedo said, in part, that he will:

Remove city administrator Donna Owens from her job due to lack of performance...

Roll back the high pay of city department heads that have benefited so heavily under Dyster...

Put an end to the Dyster habit of naming "acting" department heads which drives up the cost of government...

Immediately negotiate a new contract with "the professionals at the SPCA and stop the talk of a costly city operated animal shelter we can't afford"...

Stop the practice of handing out pay stipends for work that should be already be getting done as a matter of routine...

Require department heads to work as needed as part of their having taken a department head position...

Will hire a city engineer and end the expensive drama that has surrounded the city engineer position since Dyster assumed office...

Put an end to the mysterious "Buffalo Connection" to city government...

Say what you will but saying Candidate Szwedo isn't being forthright as to where he wants to take city government would be neither fair nor accurate after listening to him on the radio.

In an era where candidates for office - from the nation's capital to the local town hall - routinely couch their words while making vague promises - Jim Szwedo already stands out.

Whether his up front approach will play with the voters as a strength or appear as political naiveté by a well-intended but mistaken candidate remains to be seen.





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