ARE YOU READY? Things are coming together for the big walk June 15th. I will personally be tuning into ABCs special. I would of loved to come be part of the show; however, because of prior commitments I promised to be in Niagara Falls, NY at the end of July. I am still excited and can’t wait. It is my hometown, and I get to tell people that talk about it down here that is my stomping ground were history will be made!
If you read the Niagara Falls Reporter you found out Johnny Destino is gearing up for a primary run against incumbent George Maziarz for the 62nd State Senate seat. I want to get this out of the way right now. This article is based off my opinion and not of Wake Up Niagara. Me personally I have to throw my endorsement to Johnny Destino. One thing Western New York needs is new leadership. Johnny Destino brings just that. He worked for my parents at Jacos Pizza in the kitchen area. I remember as a kid my parents brought up how people use to steal from them. When I asked my mom about Johnny she said he was the most honest and hardest worker she ever had.
Johnny left the area for a little bit to come down my way near Charlotte. Raleigh, North Carolina. However, he came back to Niagara Falls, NY! He had no reason to come back. He could of stayed here in North Carolina and had the life the way business has been booming here in North Carolina. When I met him in September while he was running for Mayor. I remember the evening like it was yesterday. We just got off from being on the Niagara Broadcast Network, and we met a group of people at The Como. I mentioned to him that I would be returning to the area after I finish my college education. Johnny said clear as crystal “it just isn’t the same there as it is being home.” From there I knew he really had the communities best interest at heart.
You can tell that if you pay attention the way he stands up to the status quo on the Niagara Falls School Board of Education. He understands the law and really what it means to change the community. George Maziarz had 18 years to do so. My major concern in for the Niagara Falls area. When the Seneca Casino was being discussed and payment issues were in the works. Mr. Maziarz was that man in the room negotiating that payment plan and how the money was going to be used. You can just look on how much your community is getting and draw your own conclusion on that issue. The city was stiffed, and from 1974 until the doors closed of the convention center in which spent roughly $84 million dollars to keep the doors open.
When Andrew Cuomo took office in 2011 he proposed a tax cap. Get that word CAP, not CUT. This gives every local municipality the ability to still raise the property tax 2% or no higher then inflation. George Maziarz supports that tax cap. I am sorry to burst everyone’s bubble. Niagara Falls, NY needs to have a tax rise like they need a hole in the head. No one will ever return to the area with begin the highest tax in the world. Trust me I see everyone that use to live there that currently resides here. They tell me the exact same story, and why the politicians don’t get that is beyond me.
As the campaign unfolds follow Johnny Destino. He is the man Western New York needs. He will not put up with the bull that has driven half the people out of the area. Plus he young and new to the political world. In which I support. People ask me if I return if I ever consider a run for office. I can honestly say I don’t know but I do know I am sick and tired of coming back and seeing an area that should be thriving down in the dumps. I am doing something about it now and throwing support behind every young person that wants to make a difference in that community and not get wrapped up in the same old politics in which destroyed that area. People like Johnny Destino, Matt Green, Dominic Daoust, and Carnell Burch are the people I support. I will pull a Carl Paladino if necessary and do anything I can to make sure they get into a office in which they can make a difference! You can start it by making sure Johnny Destino get elected!
Being a Niagara Falls, NY native I try to come back to the area about once or twice a year. I have a lot of ties to the community. My parents owned the pizza shop called Jacobs, and my grandfather was Jacob A. Palillo. However, like many I left the area for Charlotte, NC. You as the reader can probably venture the guess on why I left. It is unfortunate but Niagara Falls has fell on some very hard times. A lot of empty promises are made daily, and nothing can seem to get done. Meanwhile the young people keep leaving because of the dysfunction. I am one person though that always swims against the current. I try to keep my ear to the ground on a lot of issues. I am looking to return to Niagara Falls because I am optimistic with the right leadership the area can change!
It kills me every time to see a city so down in the dumps. Some people will read this and call me negative, I am sorry but it is the truth. When I look at the area I see so much potential if everyone could get out of there own agenda mindset. Every other week I read in the Gazette how either some one was shot, or the gangs that are busted. Do you think that is appealing to someone that may want move or visit an area? Also when headlines are the city is out of money what kind of message does that send? There is no prioritizing coming out of city hall. The city is currently ran on right now on the model of rush, excitement, and panic. Which in turns leads no real vision or thinking.
Take a look at the recent event of the Holiday Market. The concept is great, but no event can be a success with only 6 weeks of planning. An event like that takes a year, and should never be funded by tax dollars. Sponsorships from local businesses should be donating to make the event of what it is. With that you do not have to worry if the city will make a profit, because you will not be using taxpayer dollars. You’re doing the event as a benefit for city and giving the people something to do.
The problems of Niagara Falls, NY just didn’t lead to an overnight thing. It started declining when Mayor Lackey came in and tore down half of the downtown area. The story of Love Canal makes me sick. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out not to build an entire community on a toxic wasted dump. However, city officials in those days saw it as cash grab. When the factories started to leave no one ever said what could we do to make you stay so the jobs can stay? They said the industry that will take over is tourism. An industry we can never come together on because everyone is bashing their heads on and going in seven different directions. An industry that we know is needed.
In the course of this when the jobs started leaving so did the people. This forced the city to raise taxes because of the with the people and jobs leaving it was less on the tax roll. It was like a domino effect and currently is. The market of the housing fell, and a lot of people are just walking away from their houses it is so bad. Over half the people are on some form of welfare and cannot afford to turn left. The crime rules the street of the city.
Meanwhile we keep giving are assets away and are too afraid to stand up and say enough is enough. In 1997 a billionaire developer came in and bought up 144 acres of prime land and promised the world to the residents of the City of Niagara Falls. 15 years later that land still remains open from that date is bought. They do pay taxes but it doesn’t show for if development was on that property. My argument is your worth all that much and you can’t build one thing to help Niagara Falls, NY?
Also the residents pay the most in power and electric when the company is right in your own backyard, and why is that you pay the most? All because the city contracted it out. Once you give something away like the water board, library etc. You lose your control. Once you have a contract you are stuck until renegotiation time if there is one.
I can’t blame it all on city officials for the way it has been done. A lot has to do with the lack of respect from the leaders of Albany. When the Seneca’s came in to build a casino. Albany came in and took the portion that was owed to the city. I always say that New York City has been built on Niagara Falls, NY dime. Most of Albany representatives are from New York City, so where do you think their interest is?
There has been some slow progress being made in the city and surrounding areas? However, there is still a lot to be done. I am one the believes that government needs to be cleaned out in the City of Niagara Falls. We need to invest in some new leaders that know what the city needs and have the drive to get it done. These people are Matt Green, Johnny Destino, Carnell Burch, Alicia Laible, Dominic Daoust, and Seth Piccirillo.
Niagara Falls, NY has everything at it finger tips, there should be no reason why it should be the shape it is in. You have the history, beauty, and food to die for. You just need to lose the current direction you are headed. You need to invest in some new blood that has the vision that Niagara Falls, NY needs!
Wikipedia says leadership is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Currently I am reading a book by Rudy Giuliani called Leadership. It is an amazing book on how he made decisions that made him a great leader.
I think we can all agree that he did turn New York City around. Every time I am back home in the city I can’t seem to think of Niagara Falls needing a Rudy Giuliani. If you remember, or read history books. South Bronx was in a situation that Niagara Falls is currently in. In was run downed. Crime was rising. Old building and houses were tagged in spray paint. Everyone has lost hope and doesn’t care anymore.
It is unfortunate because the leaders across the board have not given the city the hope in which they can believe can turn the city around. I am not talking about just the elected officials, I am talking about EVERYONE. The union heads, development director, mayor, council, city administrator, budget director etc. A lot of missteps and constant pointing the finger has caused the downfall of what we see today in the city.
Through this constant back and fourth there is no real light on the issues at hand. Being a person that is from Niagara Falls, and now looking in I feel I can comment on this problem. Here are the problems I say face Niagara Falls at the current moment:
I read that a few years ago a company called The Great Wolf Lodge came to try and put up a hotel. The perfect idea for a hotel. It was a family style hotel. It had arcades, in door water parks, restaurants etc. A great idea for Niagara Falls, NY. It would of brought in jobs and places for people to stay. Could you imagine having that hotel now while the Wallenda walk is going on? However, why was it shot down? Because of the permit process and the fact the land they wanted to build on they couldn’t build on. Where was the leadership to come interject to help them find another piece of property to help them build on? They were absent and now that hotel is across the river.
The bullet points I just mentioned need to be on the top of the list. It needs to happen NOW. If you can spend 4 years of attacking those issues, I guarantee you will see a transformation in that city you have never seen before. People will come in to do business, your family and friends will come back and live, and the city will look new again. It will never happen though until we can grasp onto these issues and realize it and take control of it. If political infighting keeps going on you will keeps missing the issue. The city will crumble even more and it will be to late.
I live in Charlotte, NC. It wasn’t built in a day. It took hard work, and people coming together on the knowledge of knowing what needs to be done to make it to what it are. Now half the people that use to live in Niagara Falls, NY live here. I run into them all the time. They say they would love to come back, but the issues I mentioned they mention. They don’t want to come back to struggle.
It will never happen if Niagara Falls can’t get that leadership and build up future leaders that show potential. Even if you keep the current leadership, they need to realize that the political infighting needs to stop.
“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being like; leadership is defined by results not attributes.”- Peter Drucker
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower