Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 11, 2013

OUR VIEW: Cheers and Jeers

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Cheers: What’s with all of the interest in running for a seat on local school boards? Six people running for three positions in Lockport; five running for three seats in Newfane and eight running for four seats in Starpoint. Whatever the reason, we like it. First, it’s always good to have choices. Second, serving on a board of education is no easy task; you’re exposed to public scrutiny and the job requires long hours, all for no pay. It’s, pretty much, a thankless job. Usually we only see several participants in these races when there’s a hot-button topic, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in each of these districts this year. It’s nice to see some real races.

Cheers: It seems that most governments, when looking to “raise revenue,” look to hike fees in order to achieve their objectives. That way they can make the claim that they’re not raising taxes. For just about any government, $5,000 is a simple drop in the bucket. Still, it was enough of a drop that Town of Lockport officials decided against a planned 25 percent hike in building fees. They didn’t want to discourage growth, they said. There’s been decent construction in the town, so why upset the apple cart? Good move.

Jeers: An “extensive” search — Darcy Regier’s word — for the next head coach of the Buffalo Sabres began and ended with the man who was temporarily assigned the post when Lindy Ruff was fired in February. Apparently, “extensive” doesn’t reach beyond Western New York. A glance at a list of coaching candidates turns up some pretty big names, but were any of them contacted? Not bloody likely. Craig MacTavish, Guy Carbonneau, Jacques Martin, Craig Ramsay, Ron Wilson, Guy Boucher, Brent Sutter and Larry Robinson all have decent to excellent experience as NHL head coaches. Others without NHL coaching experience are waiting in the wings such as Patrick Roy and Troy Ward. perhaps not all of them were interested in Buffalo, but we bet some of them were. This was a chance to move in a different direction. Instead, the new guy is someone connected to the same organization that has missed the playoffs seven times in the 13 seasons since the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals run. If this was the outcome planned all along, they should have just kept Ruff.

Cheers: We always like to see the public’s money being saved, but there comes a time when a few dollars must be spent to, for lack of a better term, keep up appearances. Such is the case with the Lockport Common Council’s recent decision to spend nearly $100,000 to repave the tennis courts at Altro Park. Expensive? Yes. Still, ignoring simple quality of life items such as this sends the wrong message to residents and visitors. Kudos to the council.

Cheers: It will be a little easier for some Lockport organizations to get the word out about their little corner of Niagara County thanks to recent grants funded by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. An updated visitors guide for Lockport Main Street Inc., a promotional brochure for Lockport in Bloom and welcoming signs championed by the Lockport Business Association will all be paid for from these grants. Groups in Gasport, Olcott, Newfane, Wilson and other places also will receive funds. These are all quality of life enhancements and it didn’t cost us a penny.