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October 28, 2017

They’re not doing it right! Executive-session motions almost always flout rules

You really don’t want your local municipality going into executive session because it often means bad news.

A lawsuit against the town or city.  A sticky personnel matter. Or contract discussions. At the very least, an issue the public should be aware of.

So be wary — be very wary — when the council calls to go into executive session.

Before they retreat behind closed doors, though, listen up to how they go about it because 97 percent of the time in Western New York, they’re doing it wrong.

“I move we go into executive session for the purposes of litigation” is a commonly heard phrase after you’ve [...]

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March 31, 2017

Municipalities in Niagara urged to improve self-reporting, info on websites

If you’re wondering how to advance the existing state of affairs in Niagara County and Western New York then the subject of transparency in government deserves your sustained attention.

Unfortunately, our region currently suffers from local governments that don’t provide the kind of transparency its citizenry deserves.

“When government operates openly and honestly, we, the people, can hold our elected officials accountable, fulfilling our duties as an informed citizenry,” said Paul Wolf, an attorney based in Wulliams ville, who recently published a report about the level of transparency in WNY’s municipal websites.

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March 22, 2017

Getting the skills to run for political office in WNY

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

That’s food for thought, but it’s also no small affair running for local political office.

There’s fundraising, canvassing, budgeting, speeches, planning, targeting voters, recruiting volunteers, field activities, message development, persuasion and, of course, what to do on election day.

All of that was discussed March 25 at the DoubleTree Niagara Falls, 401 Buffalo Ave, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

RISE Niagara teamed up with The Working Families party to offer its new-candidate training class.

“We are seeking progressive champions willing to [...]

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February 10, 2017

Who’s getting the gas? Residents, tradesmen, activists offer views on Northern Access Pipeline

Proponents of the proposed pipeline project cited regional economic benefits at a DEC public hearing Thursday while those opposing cited health risks and asked for the comment period to be extended as well as questioning where the gas was going.

“This gas is not for this area,” said Charley Bowman, a Sierra Club member who is active in environmental issues in Western New York.

Charley Bowman spoke against the possible health risks and dangers of the pipeline, which he said would be providing gas to Canada and beyond.

Several other speakers also mentioned the fracked gas originating in [...]

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