CHOOLOKIAN MUST RESIGN
One of my readily admitted blunders in my recent life was the fact that I voted for Glenn Choolokian. I honestly believed he would be an independent voice and though he had little experience and a questionable past I figured he was better than the alternative.
I have since decided that if I could go back in time, I would go back to November 4th and punch myself in the face for ever considering such a man. I even looked into renting a time machine off of Craigslist. I found many interesting services (some offered over on 19th and LaSalle), but no time machine. My disappointment was furthered when I read this Sunday’s edition of the Gazette. Needless to say, I am quite outraged from some of the positions our elected officials have with regards to the Administration’s plan to lure college graduates to the Falls. (See: Elmwood North? http://niagara-gazette.com/local/x1011134274/Elmwood-north)
First and foremost, our City is dying. We have a population under 50,000 people and it continues to fall. We have no jobs to offer and thus there is no tax base to pay for the vital services that we need.
Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo is promoting a new program that will encourage 20 newly graduated college students to live in downtown Niagara Falls. By moving to the Falls, these former students will receive a stipend that will pay their student loans for two years. Is it the best case scenario? Absolutely not! Nobody wants to pay people to come live here. But guess what: nobody is coming to live here anyway! We need to try something new. Maybe this will help revitalize downtown…and maybe it won’t. I applaud Mr. Piccirillo for trying this new plan and facing the fire it has caused. Clearly Niagara Falls needs to think of new ways to encourage development.
But in the Gazette article, Councilman Glenn Choolokian took this as an opportunity to smear the Dyster administration. Choolokian was quoted, “Every time this administration does something it forgets about the people that are here.” He went on: “We’ve got to start some place more conservative, worry about the people here and bring revenue in.”
Am I missing something? Wouldn’t relocating 20 young professionals who graduated college already bring revenue in? I really hope the Choolokian is smart enough to understand this principal, but I will try to explain it: First, someone with a college degree moves into downtown Niagara Falls. He or she can be called a “professional”. The professional will then have to find work somewhere within our region. When the professional comes home from work, he or she will shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and frequent other local establishments. This is called “bringing revenue in”. Choolokian claimed that “bringing revenue in” is what we should be focusing on. So what is he missing? Or maybe he is just nervous that someone with a brain will be too much competition for him.
The very next paragraph, Choolokian argues that we should be using money to demolish buildings downtown. So instead of trying to grow our tax base and bring revenue in, we want to spend money to knock down buildings? How about this for a marketing scheme: Come to Niagara Falls and visit our vacant lots!
Ironically, if Piccirillo’s plan passes, there will be specific regulations on the properties that these 20 students will live in. All of these properties must be brought up to code. In other words, the landlords will need improve their rental properties downtown. So instead of needing to knock down so many buildings, like Choolokian wants, we are actually giving landlords incentive to repair them. Piccirillo’s plan will also immediately increase the property values of all of the buildings in the downtown area. I will not bother trying to explain this principal to Choolokian, though, I am sure his head exploded a couple paragraphs ago.
What is more sickening, is that Councilman Choolokian, also an employee of the City Water Board, used his political connections to create a new job for himself in the Water Board. The new position, tailored to Choolokian, granted him with a grand new title and a big raise. This is all while the City faces a huge deficit and a possible bankruptcy. His actions, in creating his own patronage position, are borderline criminal (See Niagara Post Article for more in depth coverage: http://niagarapost.com/2012/08/08/boards-bedfellows-and-besties/)
In the last 9 months in office, Glenn Choolokian has done nothing but represent himself. He has used his political influence to get a promotion and to get a raise. But in the end, Choolokian will continue to fight every idea and plan that is proposed from the Dyster Administration. Mainly, sources say, because Choolokian is gearing up to run for Mayor himself.
In the last nine months, the only real economic development that Choolokian created was in his own checkbook. The real travesty though, is that Glenn has not created one single plan to encourage economic development in Niagara Falls. But he is real quick to discredit anyone else’s plans! Is that what we have been reduced to? A region of elected officials who only talking point is “no”.
Time for Choolokian to resign! Hey Glenn, at least then you will have more time to surf those craigslist ads.