Tonawanda News

Opinion

October 31, 2013

OUR VIEW: North Tonawanda candidate endorsements

Tonawanda News — For mayor

Four years ago we recommended North Tonawanda voters place their trust in a young but talented candidate, Rob Ortt, for mayor.

After a term in office to judge his performance we’re pleased to report much of the potential we saw has been realized and the Lumber City is better for it.

While we found his challenger, Democrat Janet Zehr, an engaging foil, we strongly recommend voters reward the mayor with another term in office. Here’s why:

The mayor made several promises when running four years ago. He pledged action on the long dormant city marina. Four years later, the marina is undergoing a needed renovation and a new restaurant has opened thanks to the public support Ortt engineered. 

He promised concerts would return to the city and, for the last two summers the city has again utilized its waterfront to stage shows at Gratwick Riverside Park. 

We’ve largely held the line on taxes and the city’s aging infrastructure and roads are receiving much needed attention. North Tonawanda’s streets are a smoother (albeit not entirely smooth) ride after Ortt’s four years in office.

Ortt has thinned the city’s workforce by 17 percent with few if any noticeable effects to public services.

We’ve seen an increased business presence downtown and proprietors generally speak well of their relationship with City Hall.

In short, all the issues that have needed attention for far too long are getting their due. In return, the mayor should get his.

On a larger level, we agree with the Democratic argument that city government is a closed shop. One party control isn’t healthy and voters would be wise to consider this when casting ballots in their council races. 

Ms. Zehr is a lifelong North Tonawandan and her passion for this city is evident. As in past campaigns she’s exhibited a strong grasp of the issues presented to her. Unfortunately for her, she’s up against an energetic first-term mayor in Rob Ortt whose record of results outshines his opponent’s statements of civic pride and responsibility.

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