In a stunning betrayal of open government and transparency, the Niagara County Republicans sabotaged a compromise Tuesday to move most public speaking to the first 30 minutes of its legislature meetings.
Last week, during the legislature’s Administration committee meeting, Paul Wolf of the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government, spoke and recommended passing a legislator’s resolution that would move “For the Good of the County” speaking to the beginning of meeting.
Currently, residents wishing to speak to the legislature about non-agenda items must wait usually two or three hours to do so.
Additionally, the meeting is adjourned so the [...]
If you’d like to speak for “The Good of the County” at Niagara County Legislature meetings, chances are you’d be waiting two or three hours to do so.
You’ll also find the meeting has just been adjourned. So the gallery is mostly empty, and department heads and legislators could be heading out. Furthermore, there’s zero record of your comments in the meeting minutes.
“The process you have isn’t very welcoming or encouraging,” said Paul Wolf, president of the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government, during last week’s administration committee meeting.
Wolf has made the trip to Lockport several times to speak before the Legislature. [...]
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who’s been instrumental in toxic-waste site clean ups in Niagara County, re-appeared in North Tonawanda this morning to tout the state’s brownfield remediation program in catapulting the brand-new apartment complex on River Road as a catalyst for more development along the waterfront.
Hochul: “I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time in North Tonawanda. And the transformation to someone is so visible. When I lived in the Southtowns we didn’t actually come up to the Northtowns. We didn’t spend time in North Tonawanda. Now it’s a destination. It has a reputation for being a culinary place. A place where people can congregate. New [...]
East of the Twin Cities Highway, there aren’t many community assets in North Tonawanda.
With the July 27 build date for the Kaboom! playground at Mayor’s Park, though, that short list is getting a little bigger.
Enjoyable for all kids — but designed for those with special needs — the playground will feature a zip line, climbing areas, slides and a forgiving play surface.
The playground will be built in six hours through the help of about 200 volunteers. (You can sign up here.)
“There’s a job for everyone,” said Kaboom’s Bryan McNamara during the design day May 13, when kids doodled their dream playgrounds.
Afterward, adults [...]
Two threats to the well-being of NT city government were handled very differently by the common council Tuesday.
After last week’s firearms-and-explosives scare at city hall, Alderman at Large Robert Pecoraro — who that night also lost the Independence Party primary by a wide margin to challenger Bob Brennan — called to create a committee focusing on the security of the city’s municipal buildings.
During Tuesday’s meeting, however, the mayor noted he’s brought up security concerns in past years and is still worried about “all the nooks and crannies” at city hall and its many points of entry.
Alderman at Large Austin Tylec also said he’s spoken to NT [...]
The North Tonawanda common council may be getting a major makeover in November judging by Tuesday’s primary results as well as Erik Herbert clobbering majority-party appointment Jesse Gooch in his county-legislature race.
The most lopsided victory of the day found Independence Party member Herbert knocking out Gooch by a margin of 89 to 23. Going into the primary, Gooch held many tactical advantages over Herbert including his legislature appointment and pseudo-incumbent status, extensive media coverage, more help going door-to-door and Herbert’s relative obscurity in Wheatfield (which covers two thirds of the 7th legislative district.)
On the city side, [...]
With its move to keep hidden decades of financial disclosure forms as well as not pursuing an audit of Off Track Betting for its widely criticized VIP ticket giveaways, the Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday proved once again it’s not accountable to the public and afraid of what it may find.
Niagara County’s unelected kingpin and CEO of Western Off Track Betting — attorney Henry Wojtaszek (above) — made his first appearance in four years before the legislative body to present financial results of the public benefit corporation and address the on-going VIP ticket scandal first brought up by his mentor — former State Senator George Maziarz — and now being reported on [...]