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City Republicans

Republicans say Charter is clear; Democrats beg to differ

By Mike Pettinella

As one might expect, City Republicans and Democrats are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the section of the City of Batavia Charter that deals with the appointment of a City Council ward representative when a vacancy occurs.

Due to the pending resignation of longtime Sixth Ward Council member Rose Mary Christian, there will be an opening on the governing body. Christian is moving out of the southside district (sometime this week, she said) and no longer is eligible to serve in that capacity.

Before looking at the differing viewpoints, here is the wording of Chapter 3, Section 3 of the City Charter:

“Pending such election and qualification of a Council member to fill a vacancy, Council shall fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment of a qualified person who shall be of the same political affiliation as the Council member whose place has become vacant and, if he or she was a ward Council member, a resident of the same ward.”

The appointment of the next person to fill the Sixth Ward seat – at least until the next election – has become a sticking point due to the fact that Christian was a Democrat when last elected but switched to the Republican Party around a year and a half ago.

Richmond: Charter is Very Clear

City Republican Committee Chair Rich Richmond (photo at right) told The Batavian today that the matter is cut-and-dried: Christian’s successor should be a Republican.

“The charter is very clear,” he said. “It's very concise, and to the point … since she is a Republican, then the Republicans make the appointment. Furthermore, it’s a non-partisan issue, and some people are trying to make it one.”

When asked if his committee is moving toward finding a replacement, Richmond said a few people have expressed interest in the position.

“Yes, we are. And I might add that if she (Christian) were a Democrat, then the Democrat should make the appointment and I would accept that as a valid appointment,” he said.

Richmond’s comments echo those of City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., a Republican, who said the fact that Christian is a Republican now determines the path of the one to replace her.

DiSalvo: Time Frame Isn’t Specified

On the other side, Sammy DiSalvo (photo at left), a member of the City Democrat Committee, pointed out today that the Charter doesn’t specify what time frame it is referring to, “which leaves the interpretation up to whoever is reading it to add their own time frame.”

“This section of the Charter says nothing about when they were elected nor does it say anything about at the time the Councilperson left office,” DiSalvo added.

He took exception with Jankowski’s contention that the Charter is “pretty specific.”

“Jankowski's statement is largely inaccurate,” DiSalvo said. “There is no time frame specified. I find Jankowski speaking as if there is no debate about a time frame that is not listed in the Charter as disturbing -- that the President of Council would interject his own opinions rather than listen to those who wrote the Charter, and the lawyers who must interpret the Charter.”

Speaking of lawyers, City Attorney George Van Nest gave no response when asked by The Batavian about this situation prior to Monday night’s City Council meeting. An email seeking clarification was sent to him this afternoon as well. DiSalvo said that he placed a phone call to Van Nest last week, which went unreturned.

According to DiSalvo, wording and intent need to be considered – a point brought up in a memo from city resident John Roach to City Council. Roach was involved in the drafting of the Charter some time ago.

Rewriting of Charter May Be in Order

“Where wording is not explicitly clear, intent is the default by which we must abide,” DiSalvo said. “It is not up to the interpretation of elected officials, and it is not up to those who have political gain to make such a decision or to speak with such authority as if they are not to be questioned. For those with direct gain from this situation to make decisions about this situation is irresponsible and an abuse of our political system.”

DiSalvo said that regardless of the outcome, this part of the Charter “must be rewritten for clarification purposes.”

Erica O’Donnell, City Democratic Committee chair, said her group believes that a Democrat should be appointed since that was the party the voters of the Sixth Ward chose to represent them when Christian was first elected.

“We also are consulting with an attorney to help us interpret the charter,” she noted.

Reason for Changing Affiliations

Christian has said that she changed parties after not receiving the Democratic endorsement due to her right-to-life stance.

“That was her party for her whole life,” Richmond said. “For the nomination, they gave it to her and then they took it away. She went out and got her own signatures and got on the ballot.”

He said that Republicans didn’t always agree with her, but emphasized that “there is room in our party for differences of opinion.”

“It appears to me that they didn't give it to her because she has a heartfelt stance on abortion. I can very well understand why she switched.”

CIty GOP chair asks local Republicans to support endorsed candidates during signature drives

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Recently, our New York City controlled State Legislature passed, and Governor Cuomo signed, a big change in the schedule for our local elections. Previously, our local parties used the spring and early summer to field and endorse candidates. This resulted in our local Republican candidates and Committee members approaching Republican voters during July to seek your signatures and support.   

The new rules push the whole process much earlier and our Republican Committee had to work hard to have our candidates in place this month as we’re being forced to approach Republican voters in a couple of weeks.

The Republican candidates we endorsed are: City Court Judge Durin Rogers, to replace our retiring full-time City Court Judge; Ward 1 City Council Member Paul Viele for reelection; Ward 2 City Council Member Patti Pacino for reelection; Ward 3 City Council Member John Canale for reelection; Ward 4 City Council Member Al McGinnis for reelection; Ward 5 City Council Member Kathy Briggs for reelection; Wards 1 and 6  County Legislator John Deleo for reelection; Wards 2 and 3  County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg for reelection; and Wards 4 and 5 County Legislator Gary Maha for reelection.  

I’m asking all City Republicans to work with our local Committee to support ALL of our endorsed candidates. Our endorsed candidates are fine Republicans who’ve been working hard to serve you, while promoting our values and efficient local government in Batavia. Each has the valuable experience to continue providing for our needs as residents and taxpayers.

Over the next several weeks, we will be approaching many of you seeking your support for these great Republicans. Unfortunately during these shorter winter days, some of us may be forced to knock on doors during the cold evenings after dark. Please understand that this is out of necessity.

Finally, I’d like to remind all Republican voters that for your signature to count, you must only sign one petition for each position that’s on the ballot. We’ve worked hard on your behalf to recruit, research, interview and consider the candidates that we’ve endorsed and ask you to make sure any petition you sign is presented by a member of our Republican Committee or an endorsed candidate. If other candidates approach you, I ask you to reserve your support for our endorsed candidates.

On behalf of our Republican Committee, I want to thank the Republican voters of Batavia for their continued support. We are proud to serve all citizens of the City of Batavia, regardless of political affiliation.

Dave Saleh
Chairperson, City of Batavia Republican Committee

Hawley says farewell to City Council, expects to stay involved in local government

By Mike Pettinella

Brooks Hawley bid farewell to his fellow (and lady) City Council members Monday night, ending a five-year run that saw him advance to president of the board, but left stating that his interest in politics and local government is as keen as ever.

"I'm not leaving and going away to never be heard from again," Hawley said following the meeting at City Centre Council Chambers. "I'm looking forward to staying inovlved and helping out in areas that need working on."


Hawley is relinquishing his Councilman-At-Large seat due to the relocation of his family from the city into his late grandfather's house in the Town of Batavia, thus making him ineligible to serve on City Council. So far, three people have emerged as possible candidates to replace him (subject to a recommendation by the City Republican Committee).

"It has been amazing," Hawley said after receiving well-wishes from the other council members and city employees.

"I've been on the Council for five years; I was appointed to Marianne Clattenburg's position where I had to run once to finish out the term and the next year I had to run again to do the four-year term. You don't know what goes into making the city work until you get inside and serve on committees and boards and the Council. It's very indepth and I've learned a lot and I believe the city is going in the right direction."

Hawley said he was pleased that several important projects have moved forward during his tenure.

"When I first ran I actually ran on neighborhood revitalization and infrastructure. Since I've been on City Council, we've done the most roads and sidewalks in the past 20 years for Council and, in neighborhood revitalization, there are lots of programs and grants that are out there to help communities build ... and celebrations. And I do see the (City Centre) Mall situation coming to fruition in the next year."

When it was mentioned that public service is in his famiy's blood -- his father is Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley and grandfather was Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley -- he reiterated that he would welcome the chance to serve in Town of Batavia government.

"I would definitely be interested if the right opportunity came up," he said. "I would definitely think about anything that's out there."

Hawley was Council president for two years before being defeated by Eugene Jankowski Jr. in January.

According to City Republican Party Chair David Saleh, to date three people have expressed interest in the City Council post -- Bill Cox, president of Marktec Products of Batavia and a former City Councilman; Mike Rapone, vice principal and athletic director at Notre Dame High School, and Bob Bialkowski, president of Great Lakes Aviation and a former City Councilman.

The city's Republican Party committee will interview candidates for the post and make a recommendation to Council no later than early next month, Saleh said.

Whoever is selected would serve the remaining year of Hawley's term, and then have to run for re-election (if he or she so chooses) next November.

'Rosie' rolls Into Batavia in effort to attract women to vote Republican

By Mike Pettinella


Carrie Almond says she is "as stubborn as a Missouri mule" and it is that tenacity that has put "Rosie," the red, white and blue 2015 Thor Palazzo motorcoach, on an ambitious nationwide tour to elect a Republican president by registering GOP-leaning women to vote.

"I came up with the idea and we will keep going until November 7th or until the money runs out," said Almond, president of the National Federation of Republican Women.

She and other members of the NFRW parked the bus at the Old County Courthouse on Monday afternoon in an effort to rally the troops -- women who are leaning toward casting their ballot for Donald Trump.

She was welcomed by Rachael Tabelski, of Batavia, president of the Genesee County Women's Republican Club, and Genesee County Legislator John Deleo, among others.

Almond, an executive vice president of Citizens Bank & Trust, a northern Missouri financial institution, sees 2016 as a "critical election cycle, not only for the nation's highest office but for Republican political leaders down the line. And, during the "Destination: White House" tour that began on Mother's Day and already has hit 24 states, she said she likes what she has been hearing from the public.

"Women that I have heard from believe that this election is bigger than gender," she said. "They are telling me we can't afford a third term of Barack Obama's policies by putting Hillary Clinton in. They are concerned about the Supreme Court, national security, the economy and jobs."

Almond said "Rosie," which is named after Almond's grandmother, has logged 14,000 miles thus far, and will put on at least that many more as a swing to the West Coast is on the itinerary. During a stop in Ohio, Almond said she had the privilege of addressing the National Republican Convention in Cleveland.

"I spoke about the fact that we passed a unity resolution iln March calling for women to get behind our presumptive nominee (Trump) and that we will are traveling by bus to motivate our club members to get the vote out," she said, noting that around 23 million women in the United States are not registered to vote.

Founded in 1938, the NFRW lists a membership of 65,000 women who "do the work," Almond said, tasks such as coordinating voter registration rallies, making phone calls, and working during election days. She said her group has been fundraising continuously in an effort to keep the bus in gear.

"We're dialing for dollars and begging for money every day to keep Rosie on the road," she said. 

For more information about the NFRW or to donate to the cause, go to

Gerace: Local Republicans not involved in release of Christian e-mail

By Howard B. Owens

Local Republicans want nothing to do with Tim Paine's release of a Rose Mary Christian e-mail in which Christian tells fellow council members about her termination from Wal-Mart 20 months ago.

Joe Gerace, chairman of the City Republicans, called this morning and was adamant that The Batavian publish a statement from him saying that neither City nor County Republicans had anything to do with Paine's decision to release the e-mail.

"It's personal," Gerace said. "This is between Rose Mary and Tim Paine and we have nothing to do with it."

"I don't like her philosophy, but Rose Mary and I are good friends," Gerace said. "Why would I get involved in a thing like this?"

Gerace said he doesn't like mudslinging and doesn't like to see local Republicans involved with such tactics.

"I don't condone dirty politics, dirty tricks," Gerace said.

When contacted this morning, Christian's Republican opponent Bob Radley was unaware yet of the issue. He said he had heard rumors, but it really wasn't something he was interested in pursuing.

"I'm not into talking about people's personal lives," Radley said. "That's not the way I want win an election. I want to win an election on the issues, not based on what my opponent has done."

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