Archive | June 2012

Lay Off Our Cookies George

Fondly, I remember a kindergarten game that we used to play during recess called “Cookie Jar.” We would stand around in a circle and chant “who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” The teacher would shout out a name, the student would respond, “Who me?”

“Yes you” the rest of the class would answer.

“Couldn’t be,” the alleged student would deny.

“Then who?” an inquiring group of four and five year olds would ask. At which point the alleged student would have the opportunity to accuse another classmate and the whole scenario would begin again.

I am quite sure that Senator George Maziarz has played this game before when he was in kindergarten. While King George has moved on from his kindergarten years, he has retained something from those early years, and I’m not talking about his physical stature or emotional intelligence. I’m talking about the theft of cookies, our cookies.

Back off Boy George!

Next year, King George will begin representing an entirely new Senatorial district, which will now include the entire City of Niagara Falls. And given the basics of the representative democracy that we live in, he has an obligation to represent all of his constituents to the best of his ability. So why, one may ask, does King George intend to pilfer Niagara Falls’ casino funds?

Here are the facts: over the past couple months, Maziarz has issued Freedom of Information Requests to the City of Niagara Falls seeking itemized statements regarding how the City has spent its Casino funds in the past. Maziarz has also publicly called Dyster’s usage of the Casino funds wasteful and with no strategy.

So why, some ask, is Maziarz creating such a local stir regarding Mayor Dyster’s usage of these funds? In fact, Maziarz is making a calculated effort to build public support against the City of Niagara Falls having control of its own Casino funds. His goal is to sweep the casino funds away from the City of Niagara Falls and into the control of the Niagara County Legislature. This is the Legislature that he has led for nearly the last decade!

The Legislature at one time did receive a substantial amount of casino funds until Senator Antoine Thompson and Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte passed legislation to return the County’s share of casino funds back to the City of Niagara Falls. Of course, the Niagara County Legislature was not too thrilled with losing this source of funds that they used for pork projects. Below is a list of how they used their casino funds over the last few years:

-   Spent approximately $300,000.00 on attorney’s fees against the New York State Power Authority for a frivolous lawsuit. That lawsuit was eventually dismissed a few months later after a Supreme Court judge determined that the Niagara County Legislature had no legal claim against NYPA. However, the law firm, Webster Szanyi, LLP, a large campaign contributor to King George still accepted every cent of its $300,000.00 fee.

-   The Casino funds were also used to bolster the coffers of local fairs and festivals like the Peach Festival. The Peach Festival, like most other festivals, are run annually to earn money for local charities. So why, one would ask, would we want to throw thousands of Casino dollars at countless festivals? Was there even a possibility that the Peach Festival would not be held if the thousands of dollars of Casino Funds were not awarded?

-   Millions of dollars were also sent to Memorial Medical Center in Niagara Falls. You will never hear our reporters utter a negative word about NFMMC. This hospital provides brilliant care to many of Niagara’s residents and visitors. It also is a large employer within our County. But with that said, there is no reason why the President of a low-income and inner city hospital deserves an annual salary of $625,000.00 per year.

So the real question is, do we trust that King George has our best interests in mind? Or will he simply steal the cookies from the cookie jar and blame it on someone else?

Destino formally announces his candidacy – “King George” Maziarz cries foul

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King of Queens

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, School Board member and attorney Johnny Destino officially announced his candidacy for the New York State Senate. With his announcement also began a political saga that could only be compared to Johnson vs. Goldwater, Nixon vs. Kennedy, McCain of 2000 vs McCain of 2008… well, maybe not, but it will be epic for a local election.

Destino opted to announce his candidacy in the Niagara Falls Reporter. He was welcomed with a pro-Maziarz article in the same paper whereby the politician known as “King” George referred to Destino as being naïve.  

King George, on page two of the paper, complained that he is the victim of a concerted effort by Carl ‘Mad as Hell’ Paladino and Steve Pigeon to dethrone him. Maziarz is quoted “when I see a candidate naïve enough to allow Steve Pigeon into his camp, I feel kind of sorry for him.” He continued, Pigeon’s been implicated in a large percentage of the political scandals to take place in both Erie County and Albany in recent years, and his negative numbers are through the roof.”

Despite Maziarz harsh statements against Pigeon, it was Maziarz who teamed up with Pigeon in 2009 when their coup allowed the Republicans to take control of the State Senate. In fact, the Reporter actually published a picture of Pigeon and Maziarz whispering sweet nothings to each other in a Senate session closely after the 2009 coup. Pigeon was even interviewed in the article and stated that “George Maziarz and I worked together on any number of races for more than ten years. It is a matter of public record that we worked together on the coup that put Republicans in Albany in power in the State Senate. I was one of his closest allies.”

If Maziarz has been employing these aggressive campaign tactics, with the help of Pigeon, against his political foes, then why is he crying foul now when the same tactics are being employed against him? The whole scenario is congruent with one of my favorite movies, The Christmas Story. In that movie, the school yard bully, Scott Farkas, tormented the weaker non-aggressive kids in the neighborhood. In the end, the bullied Ralphie finally stands up for himself and beats the living snot out of the bully. The bully is left, with a bloody nose, crying, alone in the snow. King George is Scott Farkas. Now, after bullying all political competitors for nearly the last two decades, King George is wallowing that his old political tricks have been turned on him.

Surely, the tears being shed by George are not typical of a King. Rather, George’s bellyaching and complaining are more befitting of a Queen. SO, henceforth, he will be dubbed as “Queen George”.

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