Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

November 3, 2013

Election races to be settled Tuesday

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Here is a listing of contested races in the 2013 general election. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

City of Lockport Common Council

Fifth Ward alderman: Kenneth M. Genewick, R, C, I; or Phyllis J. Green, D.

Genewick, the two-term incumbent, squares off again with Green, who served as the city’s 2nd Ward alderman for 16 years in the 1990s and 2000s. Genewick beat Green in the September Republican primary.

Genewick has centered his campaign around the strides Lockport has made while he has been on the Common Council, in terms of development downtown, acquiring private refuse collection with unlimited recycling, implementing an “Impact Zone” in the central city and reducing the city tax rate.

Green questions the price at which the progress comes, objecting specifically to city borrowing for investment in tourism development. Since the state comptroller added Lockport to his list of fiscally “stressed” municipalities, she’s been questioning the Council’s spending and borrowing habits generally. The city’s infrastructure is not well maintained and needs attention, she has said.

Town of Lockport

Supervisor: Marc R. Smith, R, I; or David J. Mongielo, C.

Mongielo is challenging the incumbent Smith, who defeated Mongielo in the 2009 supervisor election. Mongielo narrowly beat Smith in the Conservative primary election this year.

Smith touts the progress that Lockport has made with him on the town board, including 10 years of balanced budgets, recruitment of 85 new businesses including Yahoo, 323 new jobs and development of three town parks. The average town tax bill has decreased by $117 over the past decade, he says.

Mongielo has issues with both the town’s surplus, which he says should be returned to taxpayers, and the number of new businesses in town. Some of them have benefited from town Industrial Development Agency-granted tax breaks, which Mongielo refers to as “corporate welfare.”

Newfane town

Board members, pick two: Rick Coleman, R, C, I; Susan L. Neidlinger, R; or Robert A. Pettit, C, I.

Coleman, the chief operator and lab director for the Niagara County Water District’s Williams Road site, says he’s suited to town board service thanks to his experience with budgets and personnel. He’s a longtime Miller Hose Fire Company member and serves as a mentor for the Newfane High School Circuit Stompers robotics team.

Neidlinger, the owner-operator of Shoppe On Main, is active with Newfane tourism development and the Newfane Business Association. She says that if she has an official capacity with the town, she’ll be able to accomplish more and be a liaison helping connect various community endeavors.

Pettit, the incumbent, is seeking his fourth four-year term of town office. He’s doing so on minor party ballot lines only, after first-time candidates Coleman and Neidlinger won the Republican lines on the general election ballot.  The past operator of L.E. Pettit Electric on Main Street, says he’s proud of his work on the board, which includes pushing for improvements at the Olcott marina and getting a new town hall on Main Street.

Pendleton town

Supervisor: James A. Riester, D, Pendleton Tax Cutter; or Dominic H. Saraceno, R, C, W, I.

Riester, the incumbent, is campaigning on his 10-year record as supervisor, during which time he says the town tax levy was reduced and capital/infrastructure improvements have been made judiciously, on a combination of grant funding and town (taxpayer) money that was saved up over time.

Saraceno, an attorney who established residence in the town earlier this year, says people are frustrated with the slow pace of town action to meet their needs. Regardless what Riester says about the tax levy, people feel like their taxes are high, he said, and some are disappointed by the town’s disinterest in hiring an attorney to help get their properties off the federal floodplain map.

Board members, pick two:

• Eileen H. Czarnecki, D, Pendleton Tax Cutter. Czarnecki is a member of the town recreation committee who helped revive the town Business Development Committee and the community farmers market. She’s an administrator at the Performing Arts School of Buffalo.

• Edward P. Harman, D, Pendleton Tax Cutter. Harman, the incumbent who is finishing his first four-year term of office, is heading up the town community center drive. He’s a retired biomedical technician.

• Aimee A. Jarvis, R, C, W, I. Jarvis is president of the Wendelville Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary. She works at Leslie’s Pool Supplies.

• David I. Fischer, R, C, W, I. Fischer, the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 247, says he’s interested in development of Nine Mile Island. He’s a heavy equipment operator.

• Superintendent of highways: Aaron J. Bair, D, Pendleton Tax Cutter, a town water department employee; or incumbent Jeffrey R. Stowell, R, C, I.

Somerset town

Superintendent of highways: Michael M. Flint, R; or Jonathan D. Dewart, C, I.

Flint emerged the winner of the Republican ballot line after a four-way contest in the September primary election. He owns his own trucking business and says he has experience with fleet maintenance, budgets and personnel management.

Dewart, a water maintenance and equipment operator, has worked for the town water department  for 28 years. Presently he’s finishing up master-level studies in education at Buffalo State College.

Wilson town

Supervisor: Patrick A. Daul, D; or Joseph A. Jastrzemski, R, C, I.

Daul says he’s running for supervisor partly to give Jastrzemski, the eight-year incumbent, a challenge — and town voters a choice. Jastrzemski ran unopposed for re-election in 2009 and 2011.

“It’s time for a fresh approach” in town government,” Daul said. “Wilson needs to work to attract new business and families to move to our area.”

Daul, who resides in Ransomville, is an automobile transport operator. He’s also a marine lieutenant and the sergeant-at-arms of Wilson Volunteer Fire Company.

Daul said he’d like to see the town and the village undertake shared services for mutual savings. He also offered to take a 10 percent pay cut as supervisor and pass the savings back to taxpayers.

The supervisor’s salary is $20,000. Jastrzemski, who is the coordinator of the Niagara County Sheriff’s work program, said he and his fellow town board members have not had a raise since Jastrzemski won the office in 2005.

“Why does (Daul) think I should have opposition? We provide good services,” Jastrzemski said. “We’ve introduced a new recycling program so we can keep our taxes down. We’ve maintained our highways. We’ve upgraded highway equipment. ... We’ve gotten grant money to upgrade our master plan ... and got grant money for the walking and bike path, which ties the harbor into the business district (and) will enhance our tourism. We’ve done it all without raising taxes or reassessing.”

Niagara County Legislature

10th District: Christopher M. Srock, D, W, G; or David E. Godfrey, R, C, I.

Godfrey, the two-term incumbent, is campaigning on his hands-on involvement with ongoing local projects including Niagara Falls Air Base retention, obtaining federal support for Wilson Harbor dredging, defeating the current International Joint Commission proposal to adjust Lake Ontario water levels, and pursuing extended broadband service in rural areas.

Srock is campaigning on calls for Industrial Development Agency reform, specifically in the granting of Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreements to businesses, and rate reduction for electric consumers in the Niagara Power Project’s host community area.

11th District: David J. Naus, D; or Anthony J. Nemi, R, C, W, I, G.

Naus, the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 237, and a member of the Pendleton planning board, is challenging the three-term incumbent Nemi. He is campaigning on his professional experience, as a member of labor-management and contract negotiating committees and a trustee of the IBEW Local 237 Pension and Healthcare funds.

Nemi says the county has enjoyed stability and made progress under the leadership of the legislature’s GOP-led majority caucus, of which he’s a member. He’s been a member of various legislative standing committees and is chairman of the administration committee this year. Among the majority’s accomplishments, he says, its landing of low-cost hydropower for local enterprise has brought in $19 million, led to creation of 145 new jobs and helped retain 400 existing jobs.

12th District: Anthony P. Molinaro, D, G; or Richard E. Updegrove, R, C, I.

Updegrove, the five-term incumbent who’s highly visible as the legislature’s majority caucus leader, says the county tax rate has been reduced by 12 percent and the size of the government by 16 percent since Republicans took control of the legislature in 2003-04. Last month he requested in writing that the county manager, Jeffrey Glatz, who spearheads the annual budget crafting process, apply surplus funds in the 2014 budget to reduce the tax rate.

Molinaro, a Lockport School Board member, said that would be shortsighted, financially. He also questioned whether taxpayers have truly seen any difference in their tax bills over the past 10 years. The county is still among the highest taxed in the nation, and its residents pay some of the highest utility rates in the United States, he said. 

15th District: Joshua D. Walker, D, C, W; or Michael A. Hill, R, I.

Hill, the four-term incumbent, is campaigning as a majority caucus team player. The overwhelmingly GOP-led legislature has, over the past eight years, reduced the county property tax levy and cut the employee roll while maintaining services, he says.

Walker, a registered Conservative who was endorsed by the Democratic party, is campaigning against “one-party rule” in the legislature. He voices support for Industrial Development Agency reform, welfare reform and eliminating county patronage jobs.

State Supreme Court

Justice, 8th Judicial District: Mark A. Montour, D, C, W; or Paul B. Wojtaszek, R, I.

Montour, a Lancaster town justice and acting Buffalo City Court judge, is rated “qualified” by the 8th Judicial District’s Judicial Election Qualification Commission and the Erie County Bar Association, and he’s rated “highly qualified” by the WNY Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association.

Wojtaszek, the principal law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia, a former county and state prosecutor and a current Niagara County legislator, is rated “highly qualified” by the 8th Judicial District’s JEQC and the WNY Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association, “well qualified” by the Erie County Bar Association and “superior” by the Niagara County Bar Association.

Statewide ballot propositions

No. 1: Should the state Legislature be allowed to authorize up to seven casinos in the state, to generate jobs and income for host communities, yes or no?

No. 2: Should additional civil service credit be granted to veterans who are certified as disabled after they have been appointed or promoted to a civil service position, yes or no?

No. 3: Should municipalities be allowed to exclude from constitutional debt limits, after 2013, indebtedness contracted for construction or reconstruction of sewage treatment facilities, yes or no?

No. 4: Should the state Legislature be allowed to facilitate land trades between the state and forest preserve property owners in Long Lake, N.Y., in order to benefit the forest preserve overall, yes or no?

No. 5: Should the state Legislature be allowed to convey 200 acres of forest preserve land in Lewis, N.Y., to NYCO Minerals, a private company that plans to expand an existing mine adjoining the preserve, in exchange for NYCO giving the state the same amount and same value of land to add to the preserve, and restoring the mined land and returning it to the preserve, when it’s finished mining, yes or no?

No. 6: Should the technically mandatory retirement age for state Supreme Court justices and state Court of Appeals judges be raised to 80 from 70, yes or no?