Tonawanda News

November 2, 2013

City of Tonawanda candidate bios

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Mayor

Ron Pilozzi

Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence.

Background: Former councilman, General Motors manager and veteran.

Platform: He supports the LIttle League Drive housing proposal as an effort to bring much-needed tax revenue to the city. He has noted that the pavilion is already paying for itself. Pilozzi has also argued that sewer reconstruction was needed near Spaulding Fiber and Little League Drive to ensure long-term growth.

Rick Davis

Party Lines: Democrat, Working Families.

Background: Meteorologist at the airport, former two-term councilman, lost to Pilozzi in 2009 by narrow margin.

Platform: He supports the development of the Little League property in general, but is against the tax abatement and homeowners’ association. He has also called for the city to move up the reconstruction of the sewer system in the First Ward, and has criticized his opponent for concentrating on the pavilion instead of other issues.

First Ward

Charles Gilbert

Party Lines: Republican, Conservative, Independent, Working Families.

Background: Electrician, served one term on council from 2009-2011.

Platform: Gilbert supports the Little League housing development. He has argued that the city’s priority in reconstructing the sewer system near Spaulding Fiber is necessary for the future of the city.

Paul Brunner

Party Line: Democratic.

Background: Former executive director of housing nonprofit in the Black Rock neighborhood Buffalo.

Platform: Brunner is against the Little League housing development. He has argued that the city could get a better deal if the project was rebid. He has also called for the city to pay closer attention to the flooding issues in the First Ward.

Second Ward

Jon Juliano

Party Lines: Republican, Independent.

Background: Works for an accounts receivable company.

Platform: Juliano supports the Little League Drive development, which he said will bring in tax revenue to the city at no cost. He also supports People Inc.’s plan to bring more people into the City of Tonawanda.

Jackie Smilinich

Party Lines: Democratic, Working Families, Conservative.

Background: Retired postmaster, former school board president.

Platform: Smilinich is against the Little League Drive development and has argued that the city is not capable of attracting residents due to the lack of development downtown. She also is against People Inc.’s proposed development of Highland School due to traffic and zoning inconsistencies at the site.

Third Ward

John Hall

Party Lines: Republican, Independent.

Background: Former DPW employee, youth sports coach.

Platform: Hall supports the Little League housing development under the conditions that the surrounding residents’ concerns are listened to. He has also proposed that the city or outside developer build a sportsplex or dome in the Spaulding Fiber park.

Richard Slisz

Party Lines: Democrat, Working Families, Conservative.

Background: Been on the council for four years, former Erie County legislator.

Platform: Slisz does not support the housing development as proposed due to the tax abatement and homeowners’ association.

Fourth Ward

Brian Jopp

Party Line: Republican.

Background: President of Ghostline Entertainment.

Platform: Jopp supports the housing development as a project that would bring in tax revenue. He has also called for the city to push for funding to clean up the flats behind Hackett Drive.

Jenna Koch

Party Lines: Democratic, Conservative, Working Families, Independent.

Background: Human resources manager.

Platform: Koch is against the Little League housing development due to its $192,000 sale price for the 16.94 acres, as well as the tax abatement.