Tonawanda News

November 5, 2013

Decisions, decisions

ELECTION DAY: Voters head to polls to vote on mayors, council members and more.

By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — On a sunny November afternoon, voters from throughout the Twin Cities headed to the polls to choose mayors and council members to lead them into the next few years.

At the City of Tonawanda Library, a steady turnout was reported by noon, when election inspector Joan Buckingham said 106 people had voted.

"We're happy with the turnout. For us to have over 100 now, that's doing pretty well," she said. "We've had a steady stream of voters, we've had times when every booth was full. I think that's good, especially for a non-presidential year."

A number of voters cited the mayoral race between incumbent Ron Pilozzi and opponent Rick Davis, and a desire for change as the reason they voted today.

"We've gotten a bit stale," one person noted.

At the Kibler Senior Living Community, which also reported steady turnout, voter Sandie Quick said she has been very opposed to the Veterans Park deal.

"I want to see the City of Tonawanda progress," she said. "I do think it has been, bits and pieces of it. But it could be so much more, especially our Main Street and the waterfront."

Another issue cited by several voters was the $1.25 million pavilion in Niawanda Park, a structure promised by Pilozzi when he first ran for mayor.

At the Tonawanda Fire Department, voter Debbie Tattenbaum said she voted for Jackie Smilinich, whom she hopes will help with some of the flooding issues they've had, but that she didn't vote for Pilozzi this year in part because of the pavilion.

"I don't like the fact that that million-dollar building is sitting over on the river," she said. "He wanted that. He got it and now we're stuck with it. Give someone new a chance."

Her husband, Mark Tattenbaum, also cited the pavilion, as did other several other voters Tuesday.

"For what they spent for it, what they're going to get from it ... it doesn't make sense," he said. "Things need to make economic sense."

Many voters, however, said they came to the polls not because of a concern with any particular issue or support of a particular candidate, but out of a general sense of civic duty, as did City of Tonawanda resident Kay Whipple.

"I just think it's important to vote, any chance you get," she said.

In North Tonawanda, election workers at City Hall said things had been slower, but still steady. A number of voters also declined to cite any particular issue with the city or its candidates, but cited their belief that they have a duty to uphold.

"I vote because I'm an American," said resident Janice Makey as she left City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. "Just because I can."

Polls are open until 9 p.m.