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August 7, 2019

EDITORIAL: A sad night for open government at the Niagara County Legislature

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 [...]

 
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August 6, 2019

Changes coming to public participation at legislature; but Randy Bradt resists

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. [...]

 
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May 8, 2019

Niagara County Legislature doubles down on secrecy

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 [...]

 
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April 26, 2019

Your ‘Game of Thrones’ guide to Niagara County politics

The most-watched TV series on the planet — which is wrapping up a record-breaking eight-year run — isn’t really about dragons, knights or wights in George R.R. Martin’s fictional Westeros, which itself is loosely based on England’s “War of the Roses.”

Given that, not surprisingly, it’s really all about politics: family dynasties, secretive back-room bargaining and backstabbing as well as plenty of revenge served up with ice and fire.

As we dive into the last epic season of GOT, can local fans of the record-breaking series — which hasn’t aired new episodes in almost two years — find insights and parallels between Niagara County’s 2019 political scene and the one [...]

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