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November 2, 2017 - 10:24am

Q&A with City Council candidate Lisa Whitehead

posted by Howard B. Owens in city council, batavia, news.

Three at-large City Council seats are up for election Tuesday. There are eight candidates. We asked each candidate to answer five questions and we are publishing the answers verbatim.

Here is the Q&A with Lisa Whitehead.

If elected, what’s your #1 priority? Undoubtedly, it must be to move Batavia in a new direction.  For years, small business in the city has been struggling.  We have a couple of businesses coming into Batavia through tax abatement programs that are seen as our future.  We will need to see how they impact the city’s tax revenue and that won’t be for years down the road.  Too often you see businesses that move into an area because of a tax abatement incentive, leave when that incentive is gone.  Meanwhile, existing businesses that have been struggling for years will continue to struggle because they are not deemed worthy of the city’s financial help.  Having the taxpayers and existing businesses subsidize other businesses through tax abatement has to stop.  Further, it is critically important to identify and remove obstacles that small business owner’s face here in the city.  We need to reduce the number of regulations that prevent the growth and revitalization of our business district. 

There has been great progress in the city toward revitalizing the core downtown business community. What will you [do] to accelerate the revitalization process? I don’t see “great” progress.  Receiving the DRI grant money may be viewed as a boon to the city but it won’t be used to get rid of the greatest eyesore in Batavia.  We need to get out of property ownership and this means the Mall.  To do this, we need a new manager.  This is nothing personal against our current manager.  However, under his guidance, our city’s comprehensive plan has us doubling down on this money pit—including the proposal of the second story for apartments.  Do we really think this is going to improve the “look” of the city?  We need a manager that will get us out of the Mall business - not reinvest taxpayer money year after year, into this failing structure. 

What services currently provided by the city should be cut or eliminated, if any? How and why? No one ever likes to hear that services are going to be cut or eliminated, and I am not sure that we have to eliminate any, but it is clear that these services need to be closely managed.  One way to manage these is to look for creative ways to reduce expenditures.  Reduced spending by sharing services may be one way to slow growth in the city budget.  For example, department heads are currently performing the duties that would normally be the responsibility of the Assistant City Manager and in so doing, have demonstrated that the city does not necessarily need this position.  The City Charter may require this post but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the task of a single individual. 

What business, leadership, or economic training and experience to you have that make you more qualified for a job on the City Council over other candidates? My qualifications are many and varied.  Besides the fact that I have lived in the city for 20 years and regularly attend City Council meetings, I am also an active member of the Genesee County Libertarian Party, the DAR, and my local union chapter.  Over my lifetime, I have worked for both small and large businesses and in both public and private sectors.  I have experience managing people at the department level in private industry as well as experience working in committees.  I currently manage a budget as the elected treasurer of my union as well as manage a household budget.  All of these skills developed over the last 30+ years, and a degree in political science has prepared me for this opportunity to serve the people of Batavia.

What one, two, or three books first published within the past 250 years has most influenced your thinking about society and government? I like history, so my answer would be anything written around the time of the Revolutionary War.  Since learning in high school that a member of my family fought in the Revolution, I have been interested in the writings of that period.  In particular, I am interested in the philosophy behind documents like the Bill of Rights.  To me, this document represents the clearest attempt of any group of people to define individual freedom.  I respect that and feel it’s time that we get back to our roots and commit ourselves to protecting the rights enumerated by this historic and timeless document.  

Howard B. Owens
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I've heard this statement many times: "Too often you see businesses that move into an area because of a tax abatement incentive, leave when that incentive is gone."

I wonder if anybody can name a business that left Genesee County when the tax abatement expired?

Howard B. Owens
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Also worth noting, local businesses do get assistance through GCEDC and BDC. Liberty Pumps and P.W. Minor comes to mind and several small businesses downtown have received assistance through BDC.

david spaulding
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makes me wonder if the GCEDC and BDC have ever said NO to a business request for a hand out..... somebody wake up steve and ask him for us..

John Roach
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Why do we need both GCEDC and the BDC?

Eugene Jankowski Jr
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Lisa, your statement "Too often you see businesses that move into an area because of a tax abatement incentive, leave when that incentive is gone." is a nice theory but flawed. The large abatements I think your talking about have occurred outside the City of Batavia in the town and I'm unaware of any businesses that have left when the abatement period was over. One did go out of business but that was long before the abatement expired. Presently the only large abatements in the City of Batavia are the Dellepenna property on Ellicott St. A brownfield site that will require cleanup and Newberry's building being repurposed. So If I understand you correctly. Instead of using incentives with a developer to clean up a toxic site in the city we should just let it rot in place or use tax dollars to foreclose on the property and clean it up ourselves? So now we're in the clean up and realtor business? Wouldn't that be a contradiction to not wasting tax dollars and no big government?

Dave Olsen
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Gentlemen; For example: What if our illustrious GCEDC had managed to push through incentives for a manufacturing facility, such as say oh I don't know - a solar wafer plant, and they started off anticipating federal money. But then the new federal administration had decided not to loan money to them. Would they pay back any money before bolting overseas and leaving us with a half built facility? We don't know, I guess. What about Pioneer Credit Recovery? They left for greener pastures in the next county over. Many times businesses come back looking for more and better deals with the implied threat that they will leave the area. They almost always get what they want. City, town, county, neighbor county, doesn't matter, it happens and the more deals that are cut, the greater the risk.

This jumping on Lisa is a mask for the fact that over the past 4 years the population of Batavia has decreased while property taxes increase. The city council bases a large part of their budget on sales tax revenue, which is uncertain, then when that takes a dip for any one of a multitude of reasons, they raise the property tax. Not much creativity or foresight there. No commitment to operate within their means. If you are a renter, as over half of Batavians are, you are still affected, because not only might your landlord decide to raise the rent, every business in the city that is not enjoying the favored status of a tax break has to raise their prices. Batavians get hit 2 and even 3 times. The city was incorporated in 1915, over those 102 years, it has been managed by Republicans and Democrats only. All blame rests with them. Isn't it time for something else? Lisa sees things as they are without bias. Change the Direction in this Election!

John Roach
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Will the City Manager, with the BDC, publish a list of the businesses that have failed to repay loans in the past 5 years, or are behind on the loans? If not, then will they tell why we should not know?

Howard B. Owens
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It's public record, John. FOIL it if you want to know.

Dave, so far 1366 has gotten nothing, so there's nothing to repay.

I note you failed to identify a single company, in response to my question, that has left as soon as the incentives ended. And Lisa hasn't weighed in either to provide an answer.

Pioneer left when it lost an IRS collections contract. It had not received an assistance beyond a loan guarantee, and the loan was repaid.

"every business in the city that is not enjoying the favored status of a tax break has to raise their prices. ... " Prove it.

You hit the nail on the head about businesses looking for the best deals. It's called competition and if you don't play the game you lose. You seem to favor losing.

Every business has the same opportunity to apply for assistance if they're willing to make improvements or grow. There are programs available for every business of every size.

How come your team never rails against mortgage tax deductions, FHA loans, deductions for veteran homeowners or any of the other subsidies that go to homeowners? Anything that might lead to more jobs, let's just attack it. Negativity abounds.

"The city council bases a large part of their budget on sales tax revenue, which is uncertain, then when that takes a dip for any one of a multitude of reasons, they raise the property tax."

Substantiate it.

"No commitment to operate within their means. "

Substantiate it.

Here's an idea: How about a political platform that puts our community first instead of just serving selfish interests? Randian philosophy is pretty stifling.

John Roach
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Howard, I know I can FOIL it, but why should we have to? That should be a regular update given by the Manager as he does other things. We should also be told, without having to FOIL it, who has paid off their loans or who are up to date with them.

Howard B. Owens
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Well, it wouldn't be the manager's job since he has no oversight of the program. It would be the BDC's job.

There are lots of things we shouldn't have to FOIL, but that's how it goes in New York.

John Roach
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We pay a BDC staff members salary to around $70,000 and give that person a rent free office next to the Manger in City Hall, and the Manager has no oversight? Sounds like we are getting taken for a ride with tax payer money.

Dave Olsen
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You are showing an awful lot of anger there Howard. You should calm down a little. I have never attacked anything that actually creates jobs, only call bullshit when I smell it. These schemes rarely actually create new jobs, it's either "retention" or they're not really full-time, sustainable jobs. But I don't want to open that up again, I'd hate to get you all upset when i won't see it your way.

Also, I wonder why you and your "negativity" alarmist buddy Jankowski chose to single out the only woman in the race for questioning and no one else.

John Roach
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Dave, you just gave a good reason to vote for Lisa.

Dave Olsen
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Thanks John. There are many reasons to vote for Lisa. She is a very intelligent and insightful person and cares deeply for her city. I agree 100% with you regarding the BDC and their city hall office. I know that Lisa as well as Jim and Mark do too.

Eugene Jankowski Jr
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Dave Olsen I can only speak for myself but I didn't single out anyone. I saw a discussion about a false statement in reference to economic development and felt a need to respond. Especially since the person is running for a city position and was implying that the City of Batavia had some kind of influence over inferred negative projects not in the city. Some of the other candidates made some iffy statements too but this was the worst exaggeration and I felt it needed clarification. Even more so since developers are finally starting projects in our downtown. I'm willing to bet the majority of Batavians are pretty happy about the 10 million dollar grant for downtown too. The grant your party oddly refers to as the "hunger games". You always have negative criticism but never a valid plan or solution to work together with anyone other then a full blooded libertarian. You failed to mention your the local leader of the libertarians so of course you would resort to playing the woman card.

Dave Olsen
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There has never been any secret about who I am or what I stand for. I'm not playing cards either.

Howard B. Owens
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Dave, since all three Libertarian candidates made statements that are not based in fact or reality, I suppose I could have raised any number of issue, but since economics and economic development are of a particular interest to me, I raised these two particularly egregious errors of fact to call out.

The fact that you would try to make this into some sort of sexist issue belies a bit of desperation for trying to avoid an honest, reality-based conversation about economic development.

I'm not angry. I'm passionate. I want our community to succeed. You and your candidates may hold different views about how to make that happen but I expect those views to be backed by truth and not a fantasy just because it better fits into some misplaced Randian ideology.

I find it interesting that here we are 24 hours into this conversation and your candidate, none of your candidates, have the courage of their convictions to join the conversation and defend their views.

Of course, Mark and Jim used to be regular contributors to the conversation here but they long ago made it clear that they couldn't stomach having their views challenged on a rational, factual basis, so they retreated to the safe echo chamber of Facebook where they never need get their hair mussed by somebody who disagrees with them.

Dave Olsen
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Not one bit of desperation here, Howard. Whatever the result is on tuesday, my world won't change one bit.When Lisa, Jim and Mark are elected on Tuesday they will serve diligently on Batavia City Council. The people of Batavia have heard enough of the empty promises of government steered economic development schemes. Your anger, passion and condescension is misplaced, you are in the minority. Personally, I am tired of hearing about it from you and everyone else, so this will be my last on this thread. Batavia will show up and vote for a new direction and fresh ideas.

Howard B. Owens
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Rhetoric, Dave, rhetoric.

What about some facts?

All the GOP candidates say when walk precincts, voters agree with them. Your candidates say voters agree with them. Be wary of confirmation bias.

The people who side with negativity are in the minority in this community. I wouldn't count on that for winning elections. Most of us want to move forward in a positive direction.

I understand if you want to drop out of this thread but I remain baffled as to why Jim, Mark and Lisa, especially Lisa in this case, can't speak for themselves.

Pierluigi Cipollone
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I have heard this comment many times that the BDC's Economic Director has an office at City Hall and does not pay rent. It should be known that the BDC's budget comes directly from the City, so paying rent to the city for office space would simply be taking money from the city's right pocket and putting it into the city's left pocket.

Also, the BDC currently is made up of 9 volunteer city business people(regardless of political party affiliation) the city manager and the economic director. These 9 volunteers take time out of their busy days and work with the city and our economic director in an effort to make the city a better place to live, work and play. The investment we made in our economic director has more than paid for itself.and justified her salary.

Some business succeed because of our assistance some fail

Our purpose is to facilitate economic growth in the city of Batavia whether that be through small loans and grants or through working with developers to rehabilitate distressed areas.

All this is done by a volunteer board and one paid director that want only to improve the city we live in.

Marc Staley
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Big thank you to The Batavian for doing this a Candidate Q&A. Very revealing and extremely important. Good stuff. Definitely solidified my votes for Tuesday.

Howard B. Owens
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"Some business succeed because of our assistance some fail:

What some people don't understand is in business, some businesses succeed, some fail. That's the way the business world works. And nobody has a crystal ball to predict who will succeed and fail. A business can look great on paper and turn into a dude and some seemingly dumb ideas become big businesses.

That's why venture capitalists invest in a broad portfolio of businesses, knowing that some will fail, some will be moderate successes and they hope at least one becomes a huge success to help the entire portfolio return a profit.

That's how business investment works.

John Roach
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Perluigi, If the BDC budget all comes from the City taxpayer, then is Howard right that the City Manager has no oversight? I would find it hard to believe we pay for everything and have no say. If true, that should be changed.

Brian Graz
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I really wish the Batavian owner/director Howard Owens was about operating an unbiased, nonpartisan local news service, as one generally hopes for from a news reporting agency... instead of using the format to further his own personal political proclivities and affiliations. How unscrupulous to pose an interview and frame the questions, and then chime in with criticisms of the interviewee's answers. Pretty classless I'd say.

I wonder how many of the businesses that advertise on the Batavian understand that the basic worldview it espouses is one that supports and promotes the very governmental maneuverings [BDC, IDA, EDC, and all the other alphabet subsidizing schemes] that are unfair and creating an increasingly more difficult atmosphere for them to survive in?

Howard B. Owens
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You would be hard pressed to support the assertion that our coverage is biased in anyway. It’s often pointed out to me how much readers appreciate our fair coverage.

In this case, we’re the only local media outlet that provide candidates with a forum to make their case to voters in their own words. Can’t get more fair and unbiased than that.

The other publication in town has an editorial page, unsigned editorials and columns. We don’t have that. We have comments. It’s an open forum. All opinions are welcome. So if you don’t like what I have to say, you’re free to make a case for your point of view. That’s pretty fair and unbiased.

I’ve heard from a couple of local business owners Today who appreciate my willingness to make a common sense and positive case for economic growth.

Your assertion that economic growth is unfair to existing business is at odds with facts and realty. It’s not something that most people who understand business and economics would agree with. Most business owners are rooting for economic growth, not against it.

Brian Graz
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Councilman Jankowski, you criticize the Libertarian candidates of "never a valid plan or solution"... ??? Apparently you have not taken time to listen to their vision and suggestions for responsible change. How interesting since you have been a City Council member and now are the chairman and you haven't heard any "valid plan or solution" from these three city residents, who have regularly attended council meetings and have long spoken out in public forums of their positions and proposals. I thought that a City Council member's chief responsibility was to represent the citizens... and you have never noticed any "valid plan or solution" from these three??? How can you represent if you are not listening and/or are ignoring what some constituents are saying?

As for the Batavian's line of questioning, my favorite began with: "There has been great progress in the city toward revitalizing the core downtown business community... ". For anyone like myself who has lived in this community since the very early 50's, and experienced the vibrancy that was here until the mid-70's... [the dawning of that "great revitalization" kicked of with Urban Removal]... this question/statement is laughable. What great progress in revitalization? Then Howard, as a good Republican apologist, you rag on those awful Libertarians for not providing "facts" to support their negativity. Well let me borrow some facts posted by another of those terribly negative city residents, in the safe echo chamber of Facebook.

'It took 90 years to grow the City of Batavia tax levy to $3.4M (1915-2005) and here we are just 12 years (2017) later at a whopping $5.2M (up over 50% from 2005).

How many city resident's incomes rose over 50% since 2005? Did anyone get a 50% increase in services from the City over the last dozen years?' Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

John Roach
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Maybe Mr. Jankowski can tell us how much oversight the City has over the BDC? We were told by the BDC President the City funds them, but are also told the City has no oversight. Someone is wrong. Who is it?

John Roach
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Brian, I do think you are right to a point that Howard is a bit biased, but toward full support for the City Manager and anyone who will keep Molino around.

Howard had a nice story about Molino, right after City Council said no to Molino getting a big pay raise. That was followed by an interview with Jankowski, who supports Molino's raise and gives Mr. Jankowski a bit more exposure in an election. Wish Howard had also interviewed Councilman Bob Bialkowski, also running for election, but not a fan of Molino.

Howard B. Owens
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In the last few years, we've seen the Carr's warehouse revitalized and several new apartments open up downtown (which many of you said would never be rented and totally opposed but have been a tremendous success), and now the revitalization of the Newberry's building and Ellicott Station are underway and we have the Ellicott Trail coming in, plus the $10 million DRI grant. Sure sounds objectively like great progress to me. I'm excited about the progress downtown and want to see that direction continue and not be undercut by naysayers. Accuse me of bias all you want, but you're getting to have your say even as I disagree with you. I'll even extend this offer to you: Produce a solid news story -- solid reporting, not opinion, meet accepted journalistic standards, passes a fact check -- on any topic you like, taking the angle of your choice, and I'll publish it.

The aggregate assessment number is misleading because it doesn't tell the full story of how assessments have risen (here as everywhere else). Among the reasons assessments have risen are some of the very economic development projects people are bitching about.

I've already said I'm very open about favoring economic development. Unlike others, I want to see Batavia succeed, and that means economic growth.

So we published a couple of stories pointing out what a great job Molino is doing. Nothing biased about that. They were true. And remember, Jankowski was fired by Molino and initially ran on a "fire Molino" platform. You might ask yourself what changed his mind. Geno is a super smart guy. Do you think he changed his mind on a whim or because Molino somehow got to him? Are you that conspiracy minded? (BTW: We interviewed Jankowski for Molino's profile because he's City Council president. If Bialkowski were president, we would have interviewed him.)

As for not interviewing Bialkowski, you must of have missed this, John:

http://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/qa-with-city-council-candidate...

And not a negative word about Molino. He didn't even question the premise of the second question. He even expresses support for Molino's comprehensive plan effort.

Brian Graz
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Howard, it's nice that you and your status quo buddies are elated with Batavia's perceived "tremendous successes". Obviously I do not share in the triumph. Carr's warehouse is now apartments, well how about Carr's prime main street store front? Two new beer joints that will certainly hurt the already existing ones that Batavia now has [ask TF Brown's and Bourbon & Burger how they feel about the city and county giving financial incentives to open competitors that may well force them out of business]. [BTW, I need to talk with my friends who own those beer joints and ask them why they continue to support the Batavian thru advertising, Deal of the Day, etc., while it's obvious that the Batavian is working diligently with the progressive city management to undermine their very livelihood]. More new apartments [I'm in favor of more apartments if they can be afforded by the workers in our community who don't earn $60-100k like many city employees do], but how affordable are they really going to be, in our community where the median 'household' income is roughly $42k? I'm guessing not too affordable, since the developer has stated that the residents who choose to park close to their apartments will have to pay for their parking space.

Then of course we are getting that wonder necessity, the Ellicott Trail... a $1.7M total waste of taxpayer money that maybe 2-3% of the population will use! [I'm sure the pontificators will shout, BUT 80% OF THE COST IS GOING TO BE PAID BY THE STATE. Really? Here's a little insight... the state doesn't have it's own money.

As for Bialkowski, he is just playing politics... Just as Councilwoman Christian implied, Bialkowski waited on voting Yes for Molino's raise "because if it's passed now, you won't get elected." I hope the voters aren't that naive. If re-elected I'll all but guarantee that he will side with Jankowski and Tabelski and vote for Molino's raise. They are 3 peas in a pod hanging from the Molino stem and fertilized by the Batavian. All willing to squander the taxpayers money.

Howard B. Owens
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More traffic downtown means more business for everyone. The clustering effect is well documented.

Concerned about “affordable” housing? Sounds like you favor some landlords getting subsidies to create the housing you want, not the housing the market wants.

And truth be told, housing surveys for our area show a need for a range of housing.

Affordable is in the eye of the beholder.

John Roach
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Howard, I understand your view and while I don't agree things are all that great, its an opinion.

I disagree with Brian on the Ellicott Trail. I believe it will be well used and an asset to the area and will bring more foot traffic downtown..

Out of all of this, my biggest concern is the BDC. You said the City Manager has no oversight of it, but the President of the BDC says the taxpayers are its funding source. And that just does not sound good for us.

Brian Graz
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Folks are going to come from all over via the Ellicott Trail to spend money in downtown Batavia... wow, where did you guys find those mushrooms? I'll say again that no more than 3% of the local residents will make regular use of the Trail... many out-of-towners may use it once because it's new and that's what those folks do... it's sorta like a mini sight-seeing excursion. Trouble with them is, many bring their own food and drink with them. There ain't gonna be any windfall for downtown because of the Ellicott Trail. Besides, after the $1.7 spending to construct, how much is going to be spent on maintenance and policing?

John Roach
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I think the trail will be like a park. Not used by all, but used by many all year, like our parks. And if some people come here to hike/walk/ride the trail, and end up spending money here, great.

I know some want to privatize our parks and have people pay to use them. I don't agree. I think having things like parks are something government should do.

Howard B. Owens
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Brian, you’re criticizing things I never said. I hope you enjoy arguing against your own straw men.

Brian Graz
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I concede... you're right Howard, you never said that people were gonna come via the Ellicott Trail to downtown and create clustering and thus "more business for everyone"... you just implied it. Apparently you have a much better ability at seeing through the looking glass than do I. Do you see any straw men over there?

Scott Chismar
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Wow. What a great thread to read! I am so glad that Brian Graz has responded and called Howard out on the carpet. I have enjoyed The Batavian over the years and really enjoy keeping up on what is happening and what others are thinking. However, it is clear that Howard is being drastically partisan in this coverage. Thin skinned and argumentative is beneath the character that I have come to expect.

How do you ask a question of a candidate and refer to "The Great Progress To Revitalize Downtown....? A clear cut example of being biased. It is in the same category of "Do you still beat your wife". How does an outsider running for office respond to that question?

For the record, I think the Libertarians are a tad on the flaky side. Great on social issues but awful on economic issues. However, based on the posts on this thread, the crew of three outsiders have gained my attention.

Eugene Jankowski Jr
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guys...... guys......GUYS! It's not up to us few. We each count as only one vote. Ultimately it's up to the 16,000 other people that also live in the City of Batavia. They give us direction on Tuesday. No matter what the people decide we all still have to work together or the community suffers. It will all be over in a few days and we can move onward. My plan is to continue to work with everyone no matter what happens. I suggest you respect each others opinion for now and enjoy the weekend.

John Roach
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Eugene Jankowski, will you clear up the BDC issue? Do we totally fund the BDC? And if so, do we or do we not have oversight?

But, you are right. In a few days, about 6,000 or so registered voters will have the chance to decide who they want.

Pierluigi Cipollone
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John - Jason Molino is an Ex-Officio Member and participates as a member of the board. The board is self directed with 9 volunteer members and Jason Molino as a 10th member where each member including Jason has one vote. Julie Pacatte is a non voting employee of the board who provides economic development expertise and guidance and does all the work to coordinate with other organizations (BID, GCEDC, Etc) and file for grants and work with business owners and developers to bring and retain business in Batavia.

The BDC was created in the mid 90s by the Batavia City Council when the Council determined there needed to be a more focused effort on helping local business. Initially by managing a state provided loan fund.

You can review our web site for more information on the board and its activities.

https://bataviadevelopmentcorp.org/

John Roach
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Pierluigi, so what you ae saying is the taxpayer foots the whole bill, 100%, but only has 10% of the vote in running it, and really does not control the BDC. Who appoints the other 9 members? Seems City Council should if the taxpayer is funding the whole thing.

Seems there is room for some changes and maybe new people are needed on Council to make the changes.

Howard B. Owens
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Brian wrote: " ... you never said that people were gonna come via the Ellicott Trail to downtown and create clustering and thus 'more business for everyone' ...

Brian, I didn't say that. I didn't imply that. I didn't hint at that. I didn't suggest it. That is an interpretation of your own fancy because you clearly didn't understand what I wrote. The straw man is saying that I did.

The use of the word "cluster" has zilch to do with the Ellicott Trail, but rather refers to the economic benefits of like businesses being in the geographic location. Restaurant and bars, for example, benefit by clustering because when people know there is a cluster, they are more likely to go to that region; the knowledge that if one place is busy or unexpectedly closed, other options are available draws people; the greater variety draws people; and clustering also helps with supply chains and the recruitment and retention of employees.

Your view of economics is clearly as a zero-sum game. That in order for there to be winners there must be losers. That is simply not real-world economics. In the real world, winners beget winners and losers beget losers. If your goal is for Batavia to fail and die, keep fighting against growth and you'll get your wish.

Scott, there's nothing partisan in my coverage. I haven't been a member of a political party for 30 or more years and am stridently, radically, vehemently anti-partisan.

I already explained the basis for the question, which is factually true, so hardly a sign of bias.

Brian Graz
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Nice try Howard... your spin is Clintonesque.
I was present at the local Libertarian convention just over three years ago, at Batavia Downs, where you were a guest speaker. I don't have a recording of your talk, but I remember well that at that time you promoted yourself as a "fiscally conservative libertarian"(?)... (if you were not a 'declared' libertarian, why in the world would the Libertarian party invite you to speak at their annual gathering?)

Since then you have shown yourself to be a pro-government. tax & spend, progressive... obviously not on the side of smaller government, less taxes, reduced regulations. And all for government subsidized [ie: taxpayer] development, regardless the detriment to the already existing local businesses.

Batavia, is a depreciated, weak community... it is vulnerable to progressive suggestions and schemes. Thus these empty suits of; apartments above the Mall, micro-breweries downtown, a walk/bike trail to generate downtown traffic... and the king of irresponsible management - keeping and funding the Mall for it's "rejuvenation", because many businesses will come! Really. Are you kidding me?

Brian Graz
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Pierluigi Cipollone states: Molino is an Ex-Officio Member of BDC and participates as a member of the board. The board is self directed with 9 "volunteer members" and Jason Molino as a 10th member where each member including Jason has one vote.
========================================

Ex-Officio Member Voting Rights and Limitations Are Quite Restrictive.

So, I have some questions.

Does Molino get paid for his participation in BDC?

Does Molino get paid by the city for his extra curricular involvement with BDC?

Is Molino's position on the BDC while being city manager a "conflict of interest"?

Why is Molino afforded BDC voting rights? {below are some examples of much higher level Ex-Officio regulations than BDC}.

Ex-Officio members who may never vote:
Each member of the city council of New York City is a "non-voting ex officio" member of each Community Board whose boundaries include some of the council member's constituents.

Ex-Officio members who sometimes may vote:
The United States Vice President, who also serves as President of the Senate, may vote in the Senate on matters decided by a majority vote (as opposed to a three-fifths vote or two-thirds vote), if the votes for passage and rejection are equal.

Is BDC operating by the law, or just doing another crony slap on the shoulder, because no one is really paying attention?

John Roach
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Brian, this is odd that the BDC President, Mr Cipollone or Councilman Jankowski, will not just clear this up.

Do the taxpayers pay 100% for the BDC?
If yes, what control do we have over them?
If we pay for the BDC, and do not have control over them, why not?
If we pay for them, then why does not City Council appoint all the nine (9) regular Board members?
If don't pay 100%, then where does the other funding for the BDC come from? We know at least $70,000 comes from the taxpayer?

This should not be all that hard for either of them to clear up.

Howard B. Owens
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Brian, that’s no spin. Sorry facts confuse you.

I’ve always presented myself as a localist first. A libertarian, conservative second. The very point of my talk. I’ve never been anti-local government. Local government is foundational to a civil society.

I’ve consistently favored working within the system as it exists to better our community. That’s called realism.

Having spent the past to years studying quite a bit of economics has served to solidify these views. To understand economics better, a good place to start, Brian, is with conservative economist Thomas Sowell. One thing he teaches is to move beyond Level 1 thinking.

Eugene Jankowski Jr
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John Roach I'm not the official spokesperson for BDC but a 5 minute google search will tell you that the Batavia Development Corp is formed under authority of NYS General Municipal Law to promote, encourage, attract, and develop job opportunities and economically sound commerce and industry in the City of Batavia. It was originally formed by city council and once formed runs as a separate corporation controlled by the BDC board of directors who represent the people of Batavia. Similar to the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), it's supported and monitored in various ways by the City and County. However, under NYS Law runs separately in an attempt, I suppose, to minimize corruption and political interference. BDC has had many projects in the works for the last several years and they are just now starting to become reality. BDC and BID were also part of the team that brought us the 10 million downtown revitalization award. At this time I see BDC is a valuable asset to Batavia's economic growth.

Why is it I'm the only elected official willing to publically debate when all the others running for office let their friends do their talking for them?

Eugene Jankowski Jr
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Also found by quick google search. Here is the 2016 BDC financial report

http://bataviadevelopmentcorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DRAFT-2016-...

Howard B. Owens
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"Why is it I'm the only elected official willing to publically debate when all the others running for office let their friends do their talking for them?"

Good question.

John Roach
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Eugene Jankowski, because you are the Council President and have been the Council "face" lately with the BDC. That is the only reason.

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