Tonawanda News


October 31, 2013

OUR VIEW: North Tonawanda candidate endorsements


Tonawanda News — The mayor has demonstrated solid leadership and vision in addressing the north side’s problems. We say four more years.

For the First Ward

Longtime Alderman Philip “Russ” Rizzo is seeking another term in office. His opponent, Democrat Dave Kelly had a good showing at our candidate forum. It made for a healthy debate among editorial board members over who to support.

We found ourselves weighing the merits of a fresh outlook versus a steady hand on the council.

Again, we discussed the need for a more open council that includes dissenting opinion. Rizzo, an independent who caucuses with his all-Republican colleagues, has gone along and gotten along so don’t expect him to make waves. 

Sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. Experience wins out in this ward race. For his steadying presence on the council and his experience manipulating the levers of government we recommend First Ward voters give Russ another term.

For the Second Ward

With Council President Rich Andres leaving the city council to pursue a Niagara County Legislature seat, voters in the Second Ward are in store for a new representative whether they like it or not.

We were intrigued to hear Republican Donna Braun speak about city issues after her experience on the North Tonawanda school board. Unfortunately, her church mouse-like performance during our debate left us wondering what all those years on the school board amounted to.

By contrast, we found Braun’s opponent, Democrat Lisa Spencer, more engaged with the problems facing much of her ward. Oliver Street is a problem and Spencer spoke authentically not only about what those problems are but how to address them.

As candidate endorsements go, this was a fairly open and shut case. Donna Braun has a tenure on the school board to her credit but we’re still left wondering why that — or any of her other experience — would benefit Second Ward residents. 

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