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MAY 12 - MAY 19, 2015

A House Divided Cannot Stand Not Even (or Especially) in Niagara Falls

By James 'Jim' Szwedo

May 12, 2015

James 'Jim' Szwedo

Time once again to deal with, as my opponent in this election says, my "many issues". I do this by dealing with what I believe are the important issues facing the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls. I do this without regard to whether or not the issue polls well, because as a private citizen running for public office, I believe you have a right to know where I stand before you elect me, rather than learning what I'm all about after it's too late.

So here we go again. Regardless of the financial issues or the good intentions of the politicians responsible for the formation of the Water Authority, the arrogance and disrespect with which it treats not only the citizens, but the also the administration of Niagara Falls, makes it an idea that we, the citizens, can no longer tolerate. The only way to reestablish accountability for the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls is to bring this Authority back to where it belongs, which is as a department of the city government. With all the reckless spending of the current administration, they will tell you this is something we cannot afford. What they are actually telling you is that this is something we don't really want to deal with.

It's that old accountability and responsibility thing. It's much simpler to blame each other, rather than fix the problems. Then, of course, there's that political hiring of high-priced appointees who don't care to live in the city of Niagara Falls, but do care about taking our money. But really, can you blame them? Would you want to live in a city that can't even provide basic services, like water and sewer, to its citizens? Perhaps if we stop spending money on things we don't need and can't afford, we can deal with the basic needs and rights of the citizens of Niagara Falls. Perhaps if our politicians could just stop listening to, and believing in, their own voices and egos, they would have a moment to listen to the needs of the citizens who elected them.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand". Words of wisdom for the ages. Something our country was built upon. The current administration not just survives, but thrives on division. The disconnect between the Water Authority and the city is just the tip of the iceberg. The disconnect extends between the Mayor and his department-heads, the department-heads and the supervisors, the supervisors and their workers. Let's not forget the total disconnect between the administration and the Council. And while we're at it, how about the disconnect between the Council members themselves?

One more time: "a house divided against itself cannot stand". If we are going to move ahead as a city, a new policy of alignment, rather than disconnect, has to occur. It must bring all services back to one house, one source of responsibility, and one source of accountability. Once that is established, the connection must extend to the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls. Their voices must guide the direction of the city. Their needs and wants for basic quality-of-life issues must be met. As residents, we have a right to a government that is responsive to its citizens, not to special interest groups.

Once this circle of alignment is complete, we will have a city no longer divided by political or outside interests, but rather, united with one goal in mind: making a better future for all its citizens and businesses, not just the chosen few.

As much as they (politicians) don't want us to believe it, good government is responsive to the needs of its citizens, and acts to ensure a better future for all. What we have built in Niagara Falls is a government concerned with only their own needs and egos, at the expense of its citizens. We, the citizens, have the power for change; it exists in your voice and vote. Do not let them (politicians) make you believe that your vote does not matter. In the end, it's all that matters. If we want a future controlled by our voices, rather than one controlled by their (politicians) wants and egos, we must be willing to share in the responsibility. We must vote to be heard. Once heard, we must work together, citizens and administration, to ensure a better future for all. Remember, true change cannot occur without the citizens. We must each take responsibility for our own future.

Niagara Falls was blessed with great natural beauty and wealth. Niagara Falls was blessed with great strength and diversity in the citizens that built it. Niagara Falls was blessed with great perseverance by the citizens who refused to give up. And finally, Niagara Falls will be blessed with a great future, guided by the citizens who will work together to achieve it.

As always, your voice, your choice, your future.





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