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OCT 15 - OCT 22, 2015

Bilson Excoriates Grozio for Trashy Tactics

LaSalle Officeholder Cheap-Shots Republicans, But Silent on Covanta Expansion

OCT 15, 2015

Rob Bilson
Mark Grozio and Dennis Virtuoso


 A resolution to lock the public out of the county Board of Elections was sub-mitted by legislative Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso and was sponsored by minority Democrats on the County Legislature. The bill has left local Republicans fuming at Virtuoso, and at least one Republican-backed candidate in Niagara Falls is blasting the rest of Virtuoso’s caucus as well.

Virtuoso’s legislation, which attacks former Niagara County GOP chief Henry Wojtaszek and current Falls Republican leader Vince Sandonato for passing through a gated area at the Board of Elections prior to ballots being counted, is apparently co-sponsored by the entire Democratic caucus—Legislators Jason A. Zona, Owen Steed, and Mark Grozio—all of whom hail from Niagara Falls.

Rob Bilson, who is challenging 3rd District Legislator Mark Grozio, called Grozio’s co-sponsorship of the Virtuoso legislation “a deep disappointment.”

“Grozio’s attacking Vince Sandonato, the guy who used to represent LaSalle in county government, he’s doing this while the Niagara Falls planning board is actively helping Covanta expand its incinerator to produce even more toxic smoke by burning New York City’s garbage,” Bilson griped.

Bilson has repeatedly criticized Grozio for turning a blind eye to the Covanta expansion.

Covanta is working to convert an inactive rail yard adjacent to their incinerator into a very busy rail yard, bringing in trainload after trainload of solid waste from New York City to be burned by a massive, smoke-belching incinerator on the western end of LaSalle. Currently, Covanta is authorized to burn 821,000 tons of garbage per year under state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations; the revised Covanta incinerator would add half a million tons, primarily originating in New York City, to that total every single year.

Grozio never brought resolutions to fight Covanta’s expansion or seek an extension of a DEC comment period on the project—steps the county has repeatedly taken in its long-time fight against expansion of the CWM toxic waste dump in the Town of Porter. This, despite the fact that former County Legislator Cheree Copelin’s defeat two years ago by Grozio was prompted, in part, by her inaction on Covanta—an issue Grozio then seized on to attack her.

In January, 2015 Covanta was granted an additional 11 months to increase the size of the incinerator facility after it failed to meet a timetable to do so. The planning board’s move was defended by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster’s economic development director, Thomas J. DeSantis.

“How does this legislation—that locks the public out of our Board of Elections and smears the reputations of a couple guys who did nothing more than go down to the County Courthouse to make sure votes got counted fairly—how does that help anyone living in LaSalle?” Bilson asked. “Mark Grozio is so busy playing politics in Lockport that he seems to forget he’s there to help people who live in LaSalle.”

Grozio has sponsored several resolutions attacking the County Legislature’s Republican majority, including calling for the admonishment of GOP Majority Leader Dick Updegrove of Lockport over his interpretation of a state statute awarding the county a share of casino revenues.

Most of Grozio’s resolutions, given their highly partisan nature, have failed, although to his credit, he did succeed in getting unanimous support from his fellow lawmakers to ask the state to give Niagara Falls a statue of famed turn-of-the-century electrical wizard Nikola Tesla.

“Mark Grozio just engaged in more partisan mudslinging, but didn’t do a thing to fight Covanta bringing trainloads of New York City’s garbage here to burn in our backyards,” Bilson told the Reporter. “It’s almost like he hates Republicans more than he likes his own constituents.”







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