Closing resident forum becomes testy
By Terry Duffy
With a holiday weekend approaching, Monday's Lewiston Town Board session was rather light on the agenda. But it became interesting in the closing residents forum.
In the residents' statements period, resident Paulette Glasgow, a member of the Lewiston Taxpayers Action and Accountability Alliance, again questioned Councilman Bill Geiben and the board on why there are delays in implementing the long-discussed cable TV broadcasts of Town Board meetings.
At the last session, the town announced it would be reviewing the matter with Lewiston-Porter Superintendent Paul Casseri, and looking into the district working with the town to help facilitate the broadcasts.
"I'm back Mr. Geiben. It's been two weeks," Glasgow said. "You said you wanted to talk to the superintendent of Lewiston-Porter about the broadcasts of the meetings. You said you'd be back in two weeks. ... I'm here. What's the status?
"There is not any change," Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Broderick responded.
"Are we going to wait another two weeks?" Glasgow asked.
It then became a back and forth between the two as tempers began to flare.
"We'll wait as long as we have to," Broderick answered. "If you want to show up with a camera and videotape these meetings, feel free to do so."
"Well, are you ever going to broadcast the meetings, tell me?" Glasgow countered.
"Maybe not, maybe not," Broderick said. "That will be our decision. We're working on it ... but it's never good enough for you.
"For the time being, show up with a camera and videotape them. Show up and videotape them."
"But I've been asking for a year and a half," Glasgow said.
"Well, it might be two years," Broderick said. "Nothing's ever good enough for you, Paulette. We're trying; we're trying."
"But Steve, I was just asking a question," Glasgow said.
Discussions then turned to questions over past Town Board transparency issues raised by Glasgow.
"Broadcast the meeting. The door's open, broadcast the meeting," Broderick shot back.
"OK, I'll be back in two weeks," Glasgow said.
And so it went.
•In quieter matters, the town acknowledged its receipt of a resolution approved earlier by the Niagara County Legislature, demanding federal action by the Trump administration on the International Joint Commission to address the Lake Ontario shore flooding issue.
Now going on close to one month, severe lake flooding and erosion, brought on by the unusually heavy rainfall and snowmelt, continues to disrupt the lake, and has resulted in mounting damages affecting numerous properties and halting virtually all lake activity. Just this week, as lake waters again began to rise, Niagara County fire companies were pressed into emergency response to repair broken sandbagged areas in the Olcott Beach area.
It's a situation that is now also affecting shore interests in the lower river, extending up from Youngstown to Lewiston. Many have placed blame on the IJC's Plan 2014 and are demanding action.
On Monday, Broderick said he received communications from the Niagara County Fire Coordinator's Office, the lead county agency addressing the flooding shore erosion problems, requesting details on shore damages from local property owners.
"I'd like to deal with the shore issue," Broderick said. "If there is anybody who lives on the lower river, who has any type of shore erosion issue ... I have forms sent to us."
Broderick said that any affected residents who would like to report damage should stop by Town Hall to complete the forms, which the town would then forward to the county Fire Coordinator's Office.
"If anybody has any issues with any type of erosion, damage, etc., we have copies here," Broderick said.
For more information, residents should contact the town clerk's office.
In other news:
•The Town Board opted to keep its public hearing open covering a proposed law on electronic message displays. Town Attorney A. Joseph Catalano said he was still reviewing information furnished earlier by resident David Fontanarosa, a billboard operator, regarding First Amendment and sign distance issues.
"We have to rework; I'm still going through sections," Catalano said, adding he expected to have the review ready by next month's work session.
•On a related matter, Catalano said he would be reviewing a request by the Sanborn Business Association covering placement of a sign on the north side of Saunders Settlement Road and Buffalo Street in Sanborn.
Town Building and Zoning Inspector Tim Masters said the sign would be a permanent communications fixture for Sanborn. If approved, it would be located on the nearby Wendt property.
•The Town Board reported Town Hall office staff approved its Teamsters 264 contract, but the matter was still under review by attorneys. Further action on the matter was tabled until next month's work session.