Tonawanda News

September 20, 2013

City mayoral race heats up

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — City of Tonawanda mayoral candidate Rick Davis issued a statement this week announcing he has received the endorsement of the local United Auto Workers union. 

“I am both honored and humbled that the UAW has decided to endorse my candidacy,” Davis, the Democrat in the race, said. “Over the past 75 years, many hard working men and women of the UAW, both past and present, call the City of Tonawanda home.” 

One of them is Davis’ opponent, Mayor Ron Pilozzi, a retired General Motors employee.

Davis, a former two-term city councilman, challenged Pilozzi in 2009 and lost by just 150 votes. In his statement released Monday, he criticized Pilozzi’s alleged lack of action. 

“Residents are sick and tired of the status quo in the city,” Davis, a meteorologist, said.

Pilozzi issued a statement taking issue with the use of the term “status quo,” and cited the progress he has made since he became mayor in 2005.

He pointed out sidewalk and street improvements, the cleanup of the Spaulding Fibre site and the construction of the Niawanda Park Pavilion.

“As of Sept. 13, the pavilion has been rented 113 times and has brought in $29,525,” the mayor said in a statement.

He also noted the stabilization of property taxes, the improvement of the city’s bond rating and the building of the city’s handicap-accessible kayak launch. 

But Davis, who says it’s the residents who are complaining of the “status quo,” contested Pilozzi’s accomplishments.

“Most of the items he lists are projects that previous mayors started, like Spaulding Fibre and the shoreline stabilization project,” he said. “It is disingenuous that he tries to take credit for things that others that worked on.”

Davis also argued that his background will help him assist Tonawanda residents in their concerns.

“They want someone in City Hall who is both a working and family man. Someone that understands the daily struggles they have to endure while paying bills and or raising a family in these tough economic times ... they want someone who is not afraid to speak up on their behalf and will fight to make things happen,” he said.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.