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MAR 31 - APR 07, 2015

Anderson to Seek Reelection

By Frank Parlato

March 31, 2015

As a young man in the airforce
A man greatly beloved in his city.
Bob Anderson drops in at Capitol Cleaners.

After months of speculation over whether Niagara Falls Councilman Robert Anderson Jr., 73, would seek reelection to his fourth term on the city council, Anderson made up his mind.

He told the Reporter that he is not only running, but doing it because the people of this depressed and overtaxed city need someone they can reach easily.

Anderson has made his mark in constituent attention and service.

Of picking up the phone and getting to the root of the problem.

While Mayor Paul Dyster has earned a reputation as aloof and a man so rarified that he can hardly be expected to descend to a plane where he would deign to returns calls, Anderson is famous city wide for taking all callers and hearing them out.

He gives his constituents his cell phone number.

"I imagine I get more calls than the rest of the council and your mayor put together," Anderson said, "I at least always give them the respect and the time they deserve. And wherever I can I try to solve their problems. Many of the calls are from senior citizens. They have no one to help them. So I am there. Day and night. My phone never quits ringing."

Anderson is seeking his fourth term but he doesn't plan to campaign other than to put up signs on those homes that might like to show their support.

"I am not going to have any fund raisers and I am going to buy my own signs," Anderson said, and referring to fellow councilman Glenn Choolokian, who is running for mayor in the Democratic party primary against Dyster, Anderson said he supports Choolokian and is proud of the work he has done.

"If people come out and vote in the primary, Glenn Choolokian has a chance. All he does is fight for the taxpayers of this city and all he does is get slammed by the opposition. But he has thrown his hat in the ring and that's what it's all about."

Anderson has often expressed his disappointment in the way Mayor Dyster has "spent this city into oblivion" noting that the mayor blew though a hundred million in casino cash "with nothing to show."

"I tried to negotiate for some of the casino cash to be used for tax relief, to reduce taxes, so we would have the lowest taxes in America, but the mayor fought it. But if we had the lowest property taxes - that would be a true kind of economic development and everyone in the United States would know about our low taxes," Anderson said.

Mayor Dyster said state finance law 99 H-3 requires that casino cash only be used for economic development - which he, the mayor alone, decides - and the council is only there to approve.

Anderson voted against many of the mayor's "economic development" schemes.

"We want to reduce the taxes across the board. It would have been easy to do," Anderson said."Instead the state gives new businesses tax-free status. They come here and start up - or promise three jobs and their taxes are reduced to zero. But what about the people who have lived here for years. And pay high taxes, year after year. They get nothing. Nothing."

Anderson was one of three council members who voted to table the Hamister Hotel deal.

He later voted for the deal after requiring the state and the city to make certain changes in the contract guaranteeing local workers would build the hotel - if it ever gets built.

"I've never rubber stamped anything in my life. I'm not against Hamister. I know he failed at the Sabres hockey deal. But I just asked him to answer a few questions. All of a sudden we are not allowed to ask questions?"

In 2003, he ran and won election to the council. He was the top vote getter in the city.

He ran for re-election two more times, and again was the top vote getter both times.

In 2011, the Niagara Falls City Democratic Committee did not endorse Anderson because he would not pledge to campaign for Mayor Paul Dyster who was running for reelection that year.

"It was like being asked to join the Gestapo or Mussolini's forces," said Anderson at the time.

It didn't matter. Anderson was the top vote getter and got 3,000 more votes than Dyster anyway.

A bad mistake for Dyster and his team, since Anderson supported Glenn Choolokian and running as a team, Choolokian narrowly beat out the endorsed Democratic candidate Alicia Laible, and joined Anderson on the council.

Laible is running again this year.

The Niagara Falls Reporter reviewed records shown to us by Anderson that demonstrate he has donated more than $74,000 of his salary as a Councilman to local charities that serve the poor.

"I live on my pension," Anderson said. "I don't live rich. I like to give to the needy. That is why I do what I do. But no one can say Bob Anderson took this job to get rich."

Fourteen years ago, Anderson suffered a stroke leaving one arm somewhat immobile and with a limp in one of his legs.

He feels he can absolutely run again and serve the people for another four years.

Discounting he is too old he said, "It's not done until I hear the fat lady singing and I can still beat her dancing with one arm and one leg."





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Contact Info

©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