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Friday, July 17, 2015

Rick Updegrove
Earlier this week, Niagara County Legislator Rick Updegrove announced he would not be seeking re-election, despite just days earlier turning in petitions  to seek re-election as the 12th District Niagara County Legislator.

Updegrove, a registered Republican, was to have faced David Mongielo on the Conservative Party line and Bill Nye on the Independence Party line.

Republican Party officials are expected to meet today to find a replacement for Updegrove on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Mongielo and Nye penned a letter to East Niagara Post calling into question the replacement process, specifically what the Independence and Conversative parties will do once the GOP has a new candidate. Their letter follows in its entirety:
Many elected and appointed officials are hastily leaving office after New York State Senator George Maziarz “retired” from office last year amid a federal investigation into his campaign expenditures by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Bharara, who picked up the corruption case abandoned by the now defunct Moreland Commission established by Governor Cuomo and shuttered in a shady deal with Senate Republicans, is looking into hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign expenditures by Maziarz, including checks made out to cash which he failed to disclose to the board of elections.
Maziarz’s campaign treasurer, Laureen Jacobs, was subpoenaed along with long-time Maziarz chief of staff Lisa Colatarci and office manager Marcus Hall. Hall is a current Newfane town councilman.
The latest to exit the scene, in a long line of interesting “retirements” are legislators William Ross and Richard Updegrove – chairman and majority leader of the GOP majority caucus respectively. Town of Lockport Supervisor Marc Smith is also not seeking election this year. You’ll recall that former mayor Michael Tucker also resigned abruptly early last year.
All of this leaves us questioning if they are leaving because of their close relationship with George Maziarz. Now that George is allegedly singing like a bird to federal and state authorities, how many local politicians that he’s supported and “made” during his reign is he going to take down with him? Every one of George’s candidates should be nervous.
For years, we have been told what “wonderful jobs they have been doing" yet we pay the highest property taxes in the state. Why is it that most of the municipal governments in Niagara County, including the county itself are eligible for comprehensive reviews automatically from the state financial restructuring board because their tax rates are higher than 75 percent of the comparable municipalities in the state?
Is part of the exodus by these politicians caused by the shocking Channel 2 news story about Yahoo’s $450 million in tax abatements and free electricity, at a cost of $2.4 million per job created? Is it fair for the county to give up to 100% tax abatement for residents that can afford to “go green?"
Going green is a wonderful thing, but not when other taxpayers have to pick up the slack for those that will be receiving county services and not have to pay for them. Remember, when someone doesn’t have to pay, you have to make up for the lost revenue because the cost of services goes up every year. Why don't the local business that supply 75% of jobs get a break — or even our older residents on fixed incomes?
If the residents had lower taxes and lower utility bills, wouldn't they have more to spend, thus helping the local economy? The big question then is who are the Independence and Conservative parties going to endorse and choose for their candidates?
Just kidding – we know who the Independence and Conservative parties are going to endorse. Whoever the GOP tells them to.
We just hope the people finally notice the candidate the Republicans choose is miraculously going to show up as the Conservative and Independence party endorsed candidates. David Mongielo, the Conservative candidate, and William Nye, the Independence party member, will be forced to primary the anointed Republican placed on the ballot to replace GOP Majority Leader Rick Updegrove. This is a well-known ballot manipulation game mastered by the county republicans to stop candidates from getting to the general election.  The Republicans believe residents are too stupid to realize the primary election is more important than the general.

— David Mongielo and Bill Nye are Lockport residents

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