Tonawanda News — Chuck showed an ability to work with other elected officials of both parties.
A telling bit from our debate: Candidates were made aware in advance they could bring with them any notes they prepared ahead of time. Gilbert showed up with a binder full. Brunner came empty-handed to an open book test and shot from the hip. While Brunner displayed a fair grasp of the issues, raising a particularly good point about why more hasn’t been done to alleviate flooding in their part of the city, preparation and professionalism matter.
Gilbert has displayed both in the past as well as during this campaign. For that reason he earns our endorsement.
For the Second Ward
This race more than any other has generated some controversy. Democrat Jackie Smilinich, a longtime school board member and leader of that body, is running against Jon Juliano a Republican running for the first time.
Juliano acquitted himself well and spoke clearly and confidently on the issues. He cleared the bar for a candidate with no track record to judge.
In Smilinich’s case we have a long record to examine from her time on what, at points, was a downright dysfunctional school board. Certainly it would be unfair to lay all the squabbling and wasted energy at Jackie’s feet. The personalities running that district clashed and assigning blame to one individual is impossible.
Still, we worry her approach, which at times was certainly combative, won’t translate well to a city council that has no small amount of important and controversial decisions to make.
With the right mix of candidates this council could work cooperatively and on behalf of residents. With the wrong mix it could devolve into a sideshow that stymies progress.
Jon Juliano is the safer choice and we recommend voters give this first-timer a chance to see what he can do.