Flock, we are in the home stretch of the election season. On November 5, we will elect a new mayor.
This will be the first time in 12 years that the Cataract City will have somebody new sitting in the mayor’s office, and that is of monumental note.
So, who should be mayor of Niagara Falls?
There are three candidates on our ballot, plus one individual attempting a write-in.
Each of these candidates brings certain strengths, along with innate flaws that all of us have. Indeed, this is the reality of government: it is run by real people attempting to do unreal things.
These candidates have answered their questions, taken their stances, and carved their niche in Niagara (you can read all about them here.)
A major point in the conversation right now is the City Budget. As has been the case at some point in almost every decade, Niagara Falls is at the bottom of the roller coaster. We’re not quite as bad as the 1976 brink of default crisis, but we’re close.
Of course, in 1976, the City Manager teamed up with area business leaders, movers, shakers, executives and residents to turn the budget around.
“You need to calm down: you’re being too loud”
Shockingly enough, it seems that when Niagara picks a fight, it always loses. A slew of lawsuits, failed developments and even a Nabisco breakfast in 1992 prove that much (there’s no web links for this: you’ll have to go through the library archive’s Local Government binders to cite all of this).
We win when we work with each other. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
To be fair, I’ve actually seen a lot more honey in this election cycle than usual. The candidates (for the most part) has been more focused on how they would like to fix things than just with pointing fingers. There’s still been some finger pointing, but it’s been sitting in the margins.
Mayor Mike or the One-Term Curse?
Whoever ends up being mayor will have their work cut out for them. Love him or hate him, Paul Dyster is tied with E. Dent Lackey (love him or hate him) for second-longest serving mayor of Niagara. Of course, after Lackey came Mayor Mike O’Laughlin: longest serving (four-term) mayor.
After Mayor Mike came the one-term curse. Palillo, Galie, Elia and Anello all served single terms in the revolving door that was the Nineties and Noughties. Mayor 2020 will need to work hard to follow O’Laughlin’s path, and not the one-term slide.
Also, credit where credit is due: downtown is looking much better than it did 10 years ago (although I miss the Wintergarden dearly). We still have a lot of issues, but I personally think we are heading in the right direction.
Projects take time. Progress takes time. There is no such thing as a quick fix, and anybody that tells you that is lying. We’ve tried that before: it failed every time. No more miracle projects. We need real, tangible ideas to put in the pipeline.
So, who should be Mayor of Niagara Falls?
I commend our candidates for running for what is quite possibly the most thankless position in the city. This shows courage in and of itself.
That’s why I’m not telling you who I’m choosing.
My opinion of who I think is the best candidate is irrelevant. I will be filling in that circle with a Sharpie pen on November 5th, and I hope that all of you will be doing the same. Do your own research, make choices that work for you and Niagara, and go vote!
Go out and vote on November 5: The future of the Falls depends on you!