Eugene Jankowski, Robert Bialkowski, Adam Tabelski.
City Republican leaders and supporters were in a celebratory mood tonight at City Slickers on Main Street after learning that Batavia voters sent their three incumbent candidates – Eugene Jankowski, Robert Bialkowski and Adam Tabelski – back to City Council for another term.
In an eight-person race for three at-large seats, Jankowski (the sitting City Council president) tallied 1,101 votes, Bialkowski 1,069 votes and Tabelski 912 votes, according to unofficial results compiled by Republican party committee members.
Bill Fava, a former City Councilman, placed fourth with 788 votes, followed by fellow Democrat Brad Eddy (563) and the three Libertarian Party candidates – Lisa Whitehead (409), Jim Rosenbeck (407) and Mark Potwora (249).
In the contested race for the District 9 seat (City Wards 4&5) on the Genesee County Legislature, the unofficial count showed former Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha, a Republican, drawing 364 votes to incumbent Democrat Edward DeJaneiro Jr.’s 302 votes, with 79 absentee ballots yet to be counted.
"We're very pleased with the results, and very confident that Gary (Maha) has beaten a good and tough candidate for the Legislature seat, and that the other (City Council) candidates won by a decent amount," said City Republican Party Chair David Saleh, crediting his committee for their hard work during the campaign.
Republican Message: Let's Get Back to Work
All three City Council winners said that the results indicated that the voters are happy with the job they have been doing, and that they need to stay the course.
"We appreciate all the support we have had across the city and now for us, it's back to work," Tabelski said. "We've got a lot of great things going on in the city. We've got a major focus right now on downtown revitalization. We have infrastructure projects going and, for us, it's back to work."
Jankowski said that he was glad that people are supporting what the Council has been doing, also mentioning the pending infrastructure projects and downtown revitalization plans.
"It's good to hear that the people are behind us ... and we're on the right track. We're doing what they want us to do."
Bialkowski talked about the time and effort put in by his party as a deciding factor.
"I think when the voters speak, people need to listen," he said. "One of the things that we did as the Republican party -- we worked very hard, we abided by all the laws and ordinances of the city. We didn't put our signs in parkways or put them on people's property without asking.
"We had a clear message -- we're working hard. We may not do everything right all the time, but we're sure trying."
He also gave a lot of credit to Saleh.
"On the city side, our city Chairman Dave Saleh deserves a lot of credit," Bialkowski said.
"He's worked very hard with us, and given a lot of his personal time. He's gone out and handed out materials door to door. He's had quite a few meetings. He's helped us all along the way ... And it was a real learning curve for him, too."
Eddy, Libertarians Keep Their Chins Up
Eddy, a political newcomer, was optimistic in defeat, stating that he enjoyed campaigning and kept the door open for a future run.
"I really enjoyed getting out and meeting a lot of people in the community," he said. "There’s a lot of great ideas, a lot of people that are unhappy with the progress we’ve had so far. So that kind of motivated me to getting out there and campaigning – and really getting to know the community a little better and getting my ideas out there as well."
He said the "lack of name recognition" likely hurt his chances, but he also tipped his cap to the diligence of Batavia's leaders in the area of economic development.
"(Them) getting that $10 million – they’ve been working very hard for that -- for the downtown revitalization. (It seems that voters) wanted the status quo, and wanted things to go the way that things have been … until next time."
The three Libertarian candidates, running on a platform to replace City Manager Jason Molino, understood that they had an uphill climb, but, speaking at T.F. Brown's, remained steadfast in their quest to have an impact on city government.
"It's a platform that we believed in (and) we continue to believe that," Rosenbeck said, "The people chose a different path and we wish the incumbents who were re-elected well.
"We will be back here again in two years and four years. We're making incremental gains and we expect to continue to do that."
Potwora said the Libertarian trio "did a lot of work, we canvassed a lot of people, we met a lot of good people and we feel we did make some impact on City Council."
"We did show up at a lot of City Council meetings, and we just believe that we were a good voice for the people of Batavia who supported us in this race. It's kind of tough being a third party, but we feel we did the hard work that was needed."
Maha Back in the County Ring
Maha, who retired on Dec. 31 after seven terms as sheriff, said he's ready to resume working for the people should his lead over DeJaneiro hold up.
"As you know, I retired the first of the year, I got all of my work done around the house and now I have time to do something and I feel that I want to represent the people here in Wards 4 and 5 in the City of Batavia," he said,
While saying he's not pushing for a particular type of new jail, Maha did stress that something needs to be done.
"With the Legislature there are a lot of issues out there. I know my opponent tried to make the jail an issue. And the media never talked to me about what my position was on the jail, it came from him, I tried to explain that to (a media outlet)."
He said that all options are on the table, and that the Legislature has addressed the jail issue.
"Still, the state commissioner of corrections has said you need to do something with your jail," he said.
"It could be a shared jail with another county. Orleans County at the present time hasn't committed to have a shared jail yet. The county has a study out there for a jail. It's kind of premature that it will be a shared jail or a stand-alone. That's something that the full Legislature has to address, not just me."
"I'm no longer sheriff. I'm not pushing for a new jail. My job is to look out for the taxpayers, and ... I will represent them to the best of my ability."
In another contested races:
Town of Le Roy -- Former Councilman John Duyssen defeated incumbent Michael Welsh for Town Justice by 79 votes, and Town Council: Incumbent David Paddock won one of two council seats, with the other going to newcomer James Farnholtz.
Town of Bergen -- James Starowitz and Mark Anderson won Town Council seats;
Town of Bethany -- Incumbent Town Justice Thomas McBride defeated challenger Joseph Nowakowski.
Town of Byron -- Roger Rouse over Gerald Heins for Town Supervisor.
Town of Stafford -- Newcomer Julie Scheuerlein defeated Michelle McEwen by a wide margin for Town Clerk, and incumbents Ronald Panek and Robert Mattice were returned to their Town Council posts.
Gary Maha, center, checking out the unofficial vote total.
Paul Viele and Jack Taylor go over election results.
Genesee County Democrats at Smokin' Eagle in Le Roy -- Rob Stiles, Mike Welsh, Nikki Calhoun, Brad Eddy, and Anne Sapienza.
Libertarian Party candidates Lisa Whitehead, Jim Rosenbeck, Mark Potwora. Photos by Howard Owens.