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There's the S&L scandal and there's the parable. Consider the parable: A small town almost totally dependent upon some local factory (a generator of revenue) sees that factory close down through overseas competition. Poverty settles upon the area.

Then some local entrepreneur has a brainstorm. "Aha," he says, "Let's open up a store."

And it came to pass that the store opened -- more clerks than customers -- and fell flat on its face. What the townspeople did not know is that a store sops up revenue the way a sponge sops up water and hemorrhages money away from the community.

Enter the Niagara Falls City Council. "Aha," say five of the seven members, "Let's open up a mega-mall because, after all, isn't the area destitute after all those factories have closed? With a mega-mall 1,000 employees will spend their minimum pay here thus stimulating the economy. Just think. For every dollar spent in the mega-mall, five cents will be returned to the community. Talk about a financial coup. It's brilliant."

So it would appear that Niagara Falls is going to have an unwanted and unneeded mega-mall shoved down its throat because, after all, "we need another store."

Enter the S&L scandal where it was revealed that contractors put up unneeded offices and malls to provide themselves with employment. These stores and malls now remain empty.

Niagara Falls has a skating rink that's closed down due to faulty pipes. We have a section of Ashland Avenue West unconnected to Ashland Avenue East that could relieve a maddening traffic situation on Portage Road ever since that new Tops store opened there.

These problems are not taken care of. What we get instead is a city government financing -- through the mega-mall -- private business to compete with other private business -- an adventure that's predicated upon the continued influx of Canadian shoppers. Instead of encouraging a factory to set up shop here, they are opening up a store.

Niagara Falls

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