Dyster demeans Majority that voted against him; Four More Years of More of the Same

By  James Hufnagel

Tomorrow’s the big day.

Mayor Paul Dyster will raise his right hand and take the oath of office for the third time, the first mayor to do so in decades, even though a majority of voters on election day clearly preferred someone else take over leadership of the city of Niagara Falls.

Dyster’s meager 47.05% plurality, comprising less than 4500 votes in a city of 50,000, was actually lower than that of loser Mitt Romney, who finished with 48.4% of the 20http://southbuffalonews.com2 presidential vote.

Was challenger Glenn Choolokian promised some kind of quid pro quo for waging a quixotic write-in campaign that assuredly tilted the election in the incumbent mayor’s favor? No one knows for sure.

However, we have reason to assume.

Despite all outward appearances of a typically hard-fought Niagara Falls mayoral primary election, the two men, having served in city government on-and-off together for over two decades, get along just fine.

Witness the moments after the September 2, 2http://southbuffalonews.com05 debate at Abate school which featured Dyster and Choolokian seated to the left, John Accardo in the middle of the table and two other candidates to their left. As the session ended, Dyster and Choolokian rose from their seats and turned to each other. The Mayor playfully threw a fake body block to his opponent, who reciprocated with a shoulder feint, and both men shared a hearty belly laugh together. Not only was there not the slightest hint of animosity between the two, but they looked like two buddies at the bar sharing a good joke. Which they probably were, the joke being the upcoming election.

So between friends and family, political appointees and other assorted hangers-on, the directors, boards and volunteers who serve the numerous non-profits who depend on hand-outs from the city courtesy of the mayor, and the octogenarians who were cured of catarrh fifty years ago by his father, a retired physician, the mayor managed to cobble together sufficient support to keep his job.

Fact is, the man has a BA and a masters degree in political science. He knows the formula for building a constituency.

You’d think Dyster’s repudiation by a majority of voters, after eight years of seeing the man in action, would have given him pause and engendered some personal reflection on his performance, but as the comedian Steve Martin used to say, “Nah!”

A mere three days after the election, on November 6, an interview with Dyster was published in “City and State”, a New York City-based magazine and website closely followed by state politicos. There are two good reasons for Dyster to have granted the interview to City and State. For one thing, not a lot of Niagara Falls residents make a regular habit of reading City and State. Second, Dyster must have thought it necessary to explain to the state political establishment how it happened that he barely squeaked past a democratic primary challenge, then fell short of a majority in the general election as the result of an unlikely write-in campaign, despite eight years of his brilliant leadership.

“AFTER WINNING THIRD TERM, DYSTER DOUBLES DOWN ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,” trumpets the City and State headline in caps, going on to state, “Looking ahead, Dyster said he hopes to finish what he started in the economic revitalization in the city… For example, major projects like Mark Hamister’s Hyatt Place project, the planned WonderFalls development at a long-defunct mall and the $40 million train station…”

Of course, the average reader of City and State magazine in Albany, New York City or Schenectady hasn’t the slightest knowledge that Hamister is a mirage, Wonderfalls hasn’t progressed past the drawing board or the expensive, overbuilt, soon-to-be-underutilized train station is the enduring butt of jokes here.

When asked why so many, in fact, a majority, voted to reject his bid for a third term, Mayor Dyster offered that “Every decision you make, there’s going to be someone who doesn’t like it… You gradually build up people who on one issue you’ve upset them during your time in office and they’re now going to vote against you every opportunity that they get,” attributing his opposition to an “accumulation of grievances”.

So if you voted for someone other than Paul Dyster for mayor, according to him, you need to get over it and stop being such a whiner.


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