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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Let me start off by saying that I like Anne McCaffrey. She is a wonderful person and a truly warm individual. I like seeing her at various functions, I like talking to her, and I hope I get the chance to talk to her for years to come. I do not know Mike White, so any opinion I have of him is based on what I read in ENP. I hear plenty of rumors and conjecture about both McCaffrey and White from the masses, but I try to put all of that aside and be as objective as I can.

I respect what Anne McCaffrey had to do to keep Lockport from going bankrupt. I don’t understand why more people in Lockport do not give Mayor McCaffrey the credit she deserves for what she has accomplished. I, like everyone else, was shocked and angered to find out that Mayor McCaffrey’s job could have been made a lot easier if the city had not misplaced around $750,000 (the number changes with each article I read, so I am going with this number) and forced her into a position where she had to borrow money to keep the city going.

I am not an economist, nor am I a political expert. If you read Mayor McCaffrey’s account of what happened and then read Mike White’s account, it is obvious that someone is not telling the truth. I do not know what happened in city hall from 2012 to 2015, but I do know that if I am the department head of an embattled department, then I am going to get to know the new executive as quickly as possible. Did Mike White reach out to the mayor and common council and get rebuffed? Or did the mayor constantly request Mike White’s presence at council meetings and he simply did not show? I do not know, but I do know that the whole embarrassing situation is just one more part of what we have had to put up with for the last 10 years.

From my everyman’s perspective, here is what I do know. Our city government is bickering openly in the media like two 12-year-old children at recess. Both sides offer accounts of the events that are so different that there is either a significant disconnect in city hall, or someone is lying. And all of this is playing out for all of Western New York to see. Now it looks like that little Podunk, drug infested city north of Buffalo is filled with people who have no idea what they are doing and argue openly about losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is embarrassing and it has to stop.

By the way, where is that money now? Has it dissolved somewhere into the ether? Or can it be used to fix up things that need fixing? With all of the reading I have done about our problems, I have not seen any indication on what has happened to all of that money.

Like I said, I am not a political expert, but I do care deeply about my city. For over 10 years now, we have watched as our city has gone from being a little gem in the northern part of Western New York, to a joke. Everything from our roads to our conduct in city hall has stood out to make Lockport look as bad as it possibly can, and we already looked pretty bad to the rest of the region. It isn’t that I care what other’s in WNY think of Lockport, because I don’t. But it gets tiresome to constantly read people from outside of Lockport insulting our city based on what they read in the news. It just gets old after a while.

I am not going to discuss who I am backing in the race for mayor just yet, but I will say that it is time to look at replacing the common council, the treasurer, and all of the other elected positions that reside at the municipal building. Would I be devastated if we re-elected Mayor McCaffrey? No, I would not. While she may or may not be my candidate of choice, she still gets my respect for the huge mess she has had to deal with since she took office. But if we put any of these other elected incumbents back into office, then Lockport will get what it deserves.

It is time for our elected officials to start acting like adults and own up to their responsibilities. It is also time for the people of Lockport to realize that we need a change in the Municipal Building. We cannot keep voting the same people into office election after election and hope for new results. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and waiting for a different outcome. Lockport has been clinically insane for years, and it is time to stop the insanity.

+George N Root III is a Lockport resident who wants to get his city back on track and he has been fighting off insanity for years. You can follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at

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