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#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 8, 2011 10:10:59 PM(UTC)

Last week, students and faculty at Niagara Falls High School celebrated "James Starks Day" in honor of the hometown hero whose remarkable achievements rocketed him into the Green Bay Packers starting lineup in Sunday's Super Bowl. An entrepreneurship class at the school sold several hundred T-shirts it had made up to honor the 2005 NFHS grad.

Also last week, there was a public hearing to discuss the proposed $130 million bond issue the Niagara Falls City School District is attempting to float for a major overhaul of school buildings throughout the city. Not one single member of the "public" showed up, leaving school district officials alone to chat among themselves and to a lone newspaper reporter, who was not from the Niagara Gazette.

The bond issue will be voted on at a special election, scheduled for Feb. 15. Since the $130 million will virtually all come in the form of state aid, there's really no reason not to vote for it. Local tax rates will remain unaffected.

Say what you'd like about the Niagara Falls school district, compared with the daily freakshow that passes for government at City Hall, it is a model of efficiency. Responsible people taking their responsibilities seriously, rather than using them as stepping stones to fulfill some higher ambition or build monuments to themselves.

The sensible plan they've put forth will ultimately benefit the city's future -- our children.

The last time the district launched a major capitol improvement project, the one that resulted in the construction of the new Niagara Street school, voters overwhelmingly supported the bond issue. School taxes were not increased then either, in fact the school taxes are the same now as they were in 1995.

City taxes, however, have been increased on several occasions, most recently by our current mayor, Paul Dyster, whose idea to create a museum dedicated to a phony city history and a new train station in a neighborhood even more remote and forbidding than the one that currently hosts it has few supporters here.

Fortunately for Dyster, and unfortunately for the taxpayers, we won't get the opportunity to vote on whether the mayor's left-field thoughts on economic development here warrant our multimillion-dollar investment in the faddish "green technology" he embraces.

The reality is that the entrepreneurship class selling John Starks T-shirts at the high school had more real-life private sector success than any of Dyster's frivolous misadventures in economic development here during his three years in office.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Feb. 8, 2011
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