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Guest View: John Restaino

Citizens United was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This case has changed elections as we knew them. This is the fraud; not dead people voting or Mickey Mouse trying to register. This ruling should be enough to make TEA Parties take to the streets. “Patriots” should be unfurling the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag all across the nation. Instead, nothing not a word about this incredible shift in power. Because of this disgraceful ruling, the wealthy can now choose their candidate and probably get them elected to any office they like. It’s funny how supporters of Citizens United bring up the fact that not only corporations can donate unlimited amounts of money but “unions can do the same”. I want to know what union can come even close to the resources that Exxon has! Mitt Romney is the poster child for the Citizens United ruling. He doesn’t have to say anything; he will just roll the dice that his billionaire friends will get him elected. “Candidate Mitt Romney is brought to you by Exxon Mobile”. This is the ruling that started the Occupy movement, and gave the 1% even more power!

Voting is not a privilege it is a RIGHT. So when States try to make it necessary for you to have State issued identification to vote we should all be alarmed. For example Tennessee requires you to pay an $8 fee to receive a Voter Identification or you cannot vote. Poll taxes are outlawed by the Constitution. Making a citizen pay to get identification so they can vote is a poll tax. This is why States Rights are so dangerous. The other thing that I find weird is there is NO voting fraud problem in the United States. There has been study after study done proving that there is NO voting fraud issue. The issue is Republicans know when the Lower Middle class starts voting they LOSE.

I read yesterday that some States are considering having welfare recipients drug tested. I wonder if the same States are considering drug testing for all those receiving State funds. We all know the answer will be NO! Could you imagine having Yankees owner Hal Stienbrenner drug tested before he received State funds for the new Yankee Stadium? Anytime I hear the words “States Rights” I know some sort of bigotry is around the corner. Whether its race, sexuality, ethnicity, or economic standing “States Rights” is a code word for it. Here is a contradiction; all those small government Republicans are in favor of “States Rights”. The crazy thing is the only thing that “States Rights” does is increase the size of government. Republicans don’t care though as long as there Capital Gains Tax doesn’t go up!!! The irony is most folks voting for the GOP will never encounter Capital Gains.

John Restaino

 

From The Post:

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Introducing the “George Maziarz Friends and Family Unemployment Reduction Plan”

With the primary quickly approaching, we, of course, are seeing a heavy push at the end to expose each candidate for their weaknesses. The only real primary this September is between incumbent Monarchical matriarch George Maziarz vs. political newcomer Johnny Destino. These two will battle for the Republican line on September 13th.

Destino’s campaign, which seems to be echoed by Democratic candidate Amy Witryol, argue that Maziarz has been, at best, unsuccessful in helping the residents of Niagara County since he took office 18 years ago. Clearly, though, with all the hype and exaggeration that goes into a campaign, these statements are not entirely accurate.

The truth is, “Queen” George Maziarz, with the help of his suave political confidant, “King” Henry Wojtaszek, have helped quite a few residents of Niagara County. Specifically, the King and Queen have used their amassed power to dole out political patronage positions to their family, friends and loyal supporters.

Thanks to the help of reformist Carl Paladino, here is a list of the GEORGE MAZIARZ FRIENDS AND FAMILY UNEMPLOYMENT REDUCTION PLAN:

“Wife”: Beverly Maziarz is the Secretary to Honorable Richard C Kloch Sr., Acting Supreme Court Justice, Niagara County (appointed by Governor.) Her first marriage was to Mel Denny.

Brother: Edmund P Maziarz Jr., Town Justice Pendleton. Former Niagara Community College Board of Trustees is married to Marian Louise Maziarz, an employee of North Tonawanda School District.

Brother: Marvin Maziarz works at Niagara County Community College, Former Member of the Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor.

Nephew: Stephen Maziarz, arrested in 2003 while working for the Peace Bridge Authority, concocted a scheme to smuggle unknown items. George’s chum and Chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency Henry Sloma got him a job at the NFTA working in Accounts Receivable in 2011, making $40,975.

Brother: Paul Maziarz is City of Tonawanda Director of Facilities and Operations

Brother: David C. Maziarz works at the City of Tonawanda Engineering Department and his wife Dora Maziarz is Senior Account Clerk Typist at the North Tonawanda Fire Department.

Nephew: Matthew Maziarz, 29, is employed at North Ton Water Department and was a former North Tonawanda Parks and Recreation employee and a former Department of Corrections employee.

Cousin: Paul Kudla: works on Maziarz staff. Former North Tonawanda Alderman.

Wife’s Ex-Husband: Melvin Denny is head of Water Department in Barker.

Mel Denny’s New Wife: Meg Jo Denny is employed at Barker School as Teacher.

Step Daughter: Kristina Ginty is a teacher in Lockport City Schools.

Step Son-In-Law: Devin Ginty, Kristina’s husband, is a New York Power Authority employee and former AES employee

Step Daughter: Tricia Denny is employed by the City of Lockport Police and was on Senate payroll: 2008- 2009.

Cousin: Jessie (Granchelli) Haley works at the New York State Power Authority at $84,294 per year.

Sister-In-Law: Molly White works at the New York State Power Authority at $79,573 per year

Sister-In-Law: Mary (White) Boudeman works in the Record’s Department at Eastern Niagara Hospital.

Brother-In-Law: Scott Boudeman is the Newfane Town Justice (ran unopposed)

Brother-In-Law: Michael White is the Treasurer, City of Lockport and Former Deputy County Treasurer under Broderick.

Friend: Marcus Hall works in George’s office and is a Councilman in Newfane. His wife Heather Palmer Hall is the Secretary to the Supervisor of Newfane. Heather’s mother and father live next door to Beverly & George Maziarz.

Friend: Malcolm A Needler is on the Niagara Community College Board of Trustees, Financial Secretary and a former County Legislator. He currently works at the New York State Power Authority. He formerly worked at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Computer Task Group.

Friend: “King” Henry Wojtaszek was appointed Legal Counsel to the State’s Off Track Betting Board. He is former North Tonawanda City Attorney, 1998-2004, Partner Harris Beach 2005-2010, which firm has taken hundreds of thousands in fees from various government and quasi- government entities in Niagara County. He was Chairman of the Niagara County Republican Party from 2000-2009. He is still rumored to be running the western part of the Niagara County Republican Party.

Friend: Kathleen Wojtaszek-Gariano, Henry’s sister. She was Assistant Niagara County Attorney from 1999-2001. In 2001 Kathleen was appointed to that bench by Mayor Mary Irene Elia. She later lost the election to Robert Restaino. Kathleen was later appointed to Niagara County Family Court.

Friend: Paul Wojtaszek, Henry’s brother, is a Niagara County Legislator and works as a confidential law clerk to a Supreme Court Justice in Erie County.

Friend: Caroline Wojtaszek, “King” Henry’s wife, was Assistant District Attorney for 14 years before resigning earlier this year to become Confidential Law Clerk to County Judge Sperrazza.

Friend: Henry (Mickey) Sloma is Chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency and is Vice Chairman (and former Acting Commissioner) of the NFTA Board of Commissioners.

Friend: Sharon M. Sloma is Henry’s second wife and is the Appointed Niagara County Deputy Social Services Commissioner. Their daughtersHolly Sloma and Heather DeCastro are both employed by the Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante’s office as Assistant DA’s.Heather DeCastro’s ex-husband, Damon DeCastro, was a City of Niagara Falls Attorney until he was fired after they divorced. In 2008 Henry Sloma’s girlfriend Bonnie Gifford was appointed Chair of the Niagara County Community College Board of Directors. Sloma is responsible for the appointment of current NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel. She was appointed in December 2010.

Friend: Judge Richard C Kloch Sr: is an Acting Supreme Court Justice, Niagara County, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, 2001 to present. He was appointed as a Court of Claims Judge by Governor George Pataki in 2001 and was reappointed 2005-2013. He was an elected North Tonawanda City Court Judge from 1986-2001, was Commissioner, US Selective Service 1977-2002 and is a Director, North Tonawanda Housing Development Corp, A Buffalo News Article from 6/14/2001 quote by Kloch: “George Maziarz has worked unendingly, tirelessly, to get a Court of Claims judgeship appointment for his district,…my family and I will be eternally grateful.” Kloch is also the godfather of a son of Henry Wojtaszek.

Friend: Ron Winter is Judge Richard Kloch’s Clerk. Ron’s wife, Joan Winter, is a school teacher in Lyndonville.

Friend: Mike J. Norris is current Chairman of the Niagara County Republican Party; is the City of Lockport Attorney and State GOP Committeeman for the 142nd Assembly District. He is a former District Aide for Assemblyman David E. Seaman (R) Lockport, former Vice Chairman of the City of Lockport GOP Committee; former Elections Commissioner 1999-2002 and former Staff member in Senator Maziarz Office. It is rumored that while “King” Henry controls the western part of the County Republican Party, Mike Norris controls the eastern part of the county.

Friend: Jim Ward; Former County Legislator; Executive Advisor to George since 2003 is a former Niagara Falls Bridge Commissioner. In 2000/2001 Ward was involved in a scheme to conceal from the Legislature’s Administration Committee, which he headed at the time, the fact that a 10% pay cut the Legislature had voted for the election commissioners the previous year had never materialized in their paychecks. He is a former Niagara Falls Bridge Commissioner.

Friend: Patty Weiss is George Maziarz’s personal pit-bull. Her husband, Wally Weiss, is an employee of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). George Maziarz is Chairman of the State Energy Committee. Patty’s son, Dan Weiss, is the Chairman of the Niagara County Conservative Party and is a teacher in the Niagara Falls School District. Dan’s son Michael allegedly works for the Niagara County Water Department.

Friend: Mike Carney is Deputy Elections Commissioner; Former Deputy County Treasurer under Broderick, (appointed). He resigned as Deputy Treasurer to take a job as Grant Director for NCCC. He is the former Clerk of the Niagara County Legislature, former North Tonawanda City Councilman and former North Tonawanda School Board Member.

Friend: Kyle Andrews, 29, is the youngest countywide officeholder, appointed by Governor Paterson to take over for David Broderick as Niagara County Treasurer after Broderick resigned as a result of scathing audit issued by the State Comptroller’s Office. Kyle’s starting salary as Treasurer is $82,775.

Friend: Vincent Sandonato, a former Legislator was appointed as Senator Mark Grisanti’s Niagara Falls Chief of Staff in 2010. It is Sandonato who was tasked with the duty to overthrow Niagara Falls Republican Chairman Robert Krause this summer.

Friend: Andrea McNulty, after being forced to resign from the Legislature when she secretly moved out of her district, McNulty quickly landed on her feet with an Administrative Assistant job under Jennifer Pitarresi’s Risk and Insurance Services Department in Niagara County. She recently took a job as the Marketing Director for the Niagara County IDA under Henry Sloma.

Friend: James Sobczyk, former Niagara County Legislative Clerk and current Niagara County Auditor. Both positions are patronage and appointed by the Maziarz’s legislative majority.

Friend: Kenneth Genewick is a Niagara County GOP committee man and Lockport Alderman. He was appointed as the Director of the Office of the Aging in Niagara County in 2011.

Friend: Joseph Vacanti, is a former Niagara County Legislator. He resigned from this position and was promptly appointed as the Niagara County Civil Service Director.

Friend: Christian Peck is the secret publicist of Maziarz’s NiagaraTimes.Blogspot.com. This blog is used by Maziarz and gang to attack their political foes. Most recently attacked was Republican reformist Carl Paladino. Peck’s position, at a cost of more than $60,000.00 per year is purely patronage and was created solely for him.

The County also employs over 33 attorneys. All of whom are regular contributors and active supporters of the Republican Party.

Clearly, Maziarz has accomplished his goal to keep his friends and family gainfully employed. But while the rest of Niagara suffers the highest tax rate in the entire Country, crippling unemployment, and a lack of development, Maziarz continues to dole out patronage and causes our taxes to grow year in and year out.

Nutrition Site Closings a Ruse

For so long, we have seen the Republican Party cater to the desires of the religious right. Holy extremists press the Republicans into championing their extreme religious beliefs. While I am not a devoutly religious person, I do firmly believe in many of the morals and religious laws that are passed on. I honor my mother and father, I do not kill, cheat or steal. I respect my elders and my neighbors.

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Sad Victim of Politics

So why is the Republican led Niagara County Government cutting vital services to our City’s elderly? Office for the Aging Director, and Republican Alderman from Lockport, Kenneth Genewick, unilaterally decided to cut three Senior Citizen Nutrition Sites for Niagara Falls residents. What most people do not realize, is that without these nutrition sites, many senior citizens will not have any means to eat. This is literally the last line of sustenance for many of our elders. 

So it was in bad taste that Genewick mailed letters to city residents that utilize the important nutritional services at these locations informing them that the Sites will be closed effective August 31, 2012. The sites to be closed are located at St. Johns AME (located in the North End of Niagara Falls), Tuscarora Nation House (located on the Tuscarora Reservation) and Summit View Place Apartments (located on Williams Road in Niagara Falls).

The interesting part is that this will only save the County $40,000.00. Now we encourage good government and cutting wasteful spending. Yet Genewick cut these programs voluntarily. There was no resolution that was passed in the open Legislature. There was no emergency budget session requiring the departments to cut spending to eliminate a budget deficit. Why would a Republican department head want to cut 3 nutrition sites for Niagara Falls senior citizens?

Our hypothesis may seem outrageous, but it is plausible and highly likely. Here goes: this was done intentionally to create an easy issue for Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto to champion.

Let’s look at the facts: a Republican Alderman, who was appointed to as department head in the Office of the Aging, cuts the nutrition sites by sending letters directly to the affected seniors and creating a huge public outcry. The Republican led Legislature was not involved in the decision, so they can skate through this controversy unscathed, and thereby will not suffer any political fallout. And most convincing, all three of these nutritional sites, which are scattered throughout the County, are within Queen George Maziarz’s new district.

Democratic Legislators from Niagara Falls, Dennis Virtuoso, Owen Steed and Jason Zona proposed a resolution on July 31, 2012 calling upon the Legislature to order these sites to remain open for the entire year. Specifically, their resolution states that the funds to operate these nutrition sites have already been budgeted for the entire year, so they should remain open. Naturally, the Republican majority would not permit this resolution be brought to a vote. Rather, they voted to send this resolution to committee where it will be deliberated further. However, the very earliest this resolution can be brought to a vote in the Legislature will be in the first week of September. Yet, these nutrition sites are slated to close on August 31st.

How could Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto condone the cutting of vital services for a large group of voting Senior Citizens? Simply put, they won’t. Queen George will prance in like a knight in shining armor to save the day. Can’t you see the campaign rhetoric now? Mailers and television commercials with senior citizens thanking him for saving their nutrition programs!

Little do they know, that it is “Queen” George Maziarz himself that orchestrated the scare that these three senior nutrition sites will be closed. And he is creating this scare only to publicly correct the problem and seize more votes in a City that looks upon him very suspiciously. We only wish that a man so cleverly devious would spend his time to actually improve our area instead of increasing his own power and influence.

BREAKING NEWS

Inside sources tell us that Boy George Maziarz has been in secret meetings with Nik Wallenda for an annual walk across the Falls.  Maziarz boasted recently that he has an exclusive audience with Wallenda and isn’t sharing any of the info with other elected officials. He made a point to note that this included the Mayor’s office because he wants to make sure he has his “ducks in a row” first.

In other words, he wants all the credit. But at what risk?!

The problem is, he also reported that Wallenda is in talks with Canada and we are at risk of losing the contract.  Apparently the new contract wouldn’t involve him crossing borders.   Best course of action for his constituents, would be to share this information with other elected officials, so they can properly court Wallenda and work together for the betterment of Niagara. Instead, he appears to be using this for his own political gain.

So sad.

King of Personal Gain

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?

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