Dec 22, 2021
The Dunkirk Common Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to remove Mayor Wilfred Rosas’ name from the Memorial Park sign and replace it with a plaque honoring “all of our fallen local heroes.”
Councilman-at-Large Paul VanDenVouver said in the workshop before the session that the resolution was his idea.
“Throughout the last two years with people, every time I see them out, and the phone calls, they’re saying no political name should be on the Memorial Park sign,” said VanDenVouver, a military veteran whose last day in office is Dec. 31. “If anyone’s name should be on there it should be Mayor (Richard) Frey’s. He was a Purple Heart recipient.
“To be honest with you, I’m just kind of sick of hearing who should be on there and who shouldn’t be on there,” he continued. “This is why I contacted the council and made a suggestion that we have nobody’s political name on there, now or in the future. … It just happens that Willie’s name is on there now, if it was somebody else’s name, I would be presenting this again tonight. So, this is something I thought I needed to take care of before I left.”
The meeting agenda said the resolution was sponsored by Councilmembers Nancy Nichols and Don Williams, as reported in the OBSERVER Tuesday. VanDenVouver said people were wrongly attacking them for the resolution, because it was actually composed at his behest.
“If you want to attack anybody, come to me. And do it face to face,” he concluded.
During the meeting, several people spoke against the sign change during the public comments session, while Richard Makuch, an officer in veterans organizations and a former city councilman, spoke in favor of it.
“That’s just politics,” said Gary Frederickson of the measure. “Every city you go to, the mayor’s name is on signs entering parks. There’s no reason why our mayor shouldn’t be on there. The sign’s been there for four years and only now are people, whoever the people are, are outraged over the mayor’s name on the sign.”