Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 25, 2013

OUR VIEW: Cheers and Jeers

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Cheers: Teenagers are a tough group to reach, especially seniors on a sunny May day. Still, members from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Calspan and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station teamed up last week to give close to 3,000 area high school seniors an idea of exactly what happens in an automobile accident at 30 miles per hour. This “crash course” is designed to make student realize the importance of driver attentiveness, and the ramifications of drinking and driving. We’re not sure if the message got through to many — even Sheriff James Voutour acknowledged “we’re not going to convince every one of them” — but at least they’re trying to make a difference. What’s more, it’s a program that gives parents — who often wonder if the messages they give their children reaches them — hope.

Cheers: Prom night is always a special night; one that we remember for the rest of our lives. That’s true for students from Lockport, Newfane, Roy-Hart, Medina and for some 80 BOCES Life Skills students who had their special moment on May 17 in the gym of the former Charlotte Cross School. Students spent hours planning the event, making decorations, practicing dance moves and sending out invitations. They also had an opportunity to work on the social skills they learned in class. Of course, no prom is complete without a king and queen, along with dinner and dancing. A wonderful way to end the school year.

Jeers: Inattentiveness on the part of the Niagara County Legislature put the county in potentially hot water. Yet instead of acting like a responsible legislative body, it did nothing, and instead turned to Sen George Maziarz to try and get the county out of trouble. Last year, county officials realized that a local law passed in 2008 limiting where Level-2 and Level-3 registered sex offenders can live was essentially unenforceable because it exceeds state law. Yet after conceding that their own law lacked merit, nothing was done to repeal the measure. This week, Sen. Maziarz announced the Senate approved a bill permitting Niagara County to place greater restrictions on sex offenders. It still needs Assembly approval. This entire episode indicates the county legislature lacks a spine. If the state is going to do the county’s work, then why do we need county legislators?

Cheers: Cheers to state Assembly Member Michael P. Kearns, D-Buffalo. His willingness to publicly distance himself from the Democratic Assembly majority conference, until Majority Leader Sheldon Silver quits or is forced out over his past covering up of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal, is laudable. Kearns knows he’ll pay a price for his insubordination, but we hope he finds there’s some honor in being reassigned to a broom closet in the bowels of the Legislative Office Building. Anyone who knows the fate of the last anti-Silver insurgent, former Syracuse-area Assembly member Michael Bragman, knows that’s not a joke. Silver’s quickness to cover for yet another pervert roaming the halls in our capitol reminds us yet again that the majority leader is a dictator, an anti-Democratic leader if you will, and for the betterment of the conference — not to mention all of New York — he ought to be overthrown. Might a few other upstate Assembly Democrats mimic Mickey Kearns and locate moral courage on this matter? Are you able, Robin Schimminger? Sean Ryan? Dennis Gabryszak?