Endorsements: Beck, Knopp, Malay, Wolff for Batavia City Council
In every ward where there's a contest for Batavia City Council, the central issues are simple and straightforward -- how to involve the public to ensure appropriate development at a critical time and how to maintain the high quality of life in a city every candidate agrees is generally well-run.
Fortunately, all the candidates are sincere and thoughtful, and they've demonstrated a clear commitment to the betterment of the community. But there are distinctions among them. Here are our recommendations for the contested seats:
Ward 2: Alan P. Wolff, 52, a certified master auto technician, has served on the council since 2003 and his leadership experience and dedication are evident in his deep knowledge and specific insights regarding issues confronting Batavia. He is challenged by Leonard J. Solfa Jr., 70, an attorney and certified mediator seeking his first elected office. Solfa brings a career's worth of high-level corporate leadership experience to the race. Even so, he can't match the incumbent's detailed familiarity with alternatives and challenges the city must sort through. Wolff is endorsed.
Ward 4: Both Joe Knopp, 56, a senior sales engineer, and Susan "Suz" Alderson, an assistant national dean in higher education, have steeped themselves in city matters and have served in various local organizations and projects. Although neither has served in an elected position before, both have done so much to educate themselves on the issues facing the city and the operations of its government that they would likely quickly become active, contributing council members. While we are impressed with both candidates, we lean toward Knopp for a slightly more refined understanding of the issues and potential solutions to problems. He gets our endorsement.
Ward 4 (unexpired two-year term): Here, Tony Malay, 50, a longtime Batavia middle school and high school teacher appointed to the board in 2017, is challenged by 25-year-old Anthony Schullo, a human resources generalist, seeking his first elected office. Schullo is an impressive and earnest candidate who has done his homework on Batavia government and offers well-reasoned approaches to dealing with issues. But Malay is also impressive and earnest, and with a year and a half of direct experience in city leadership behind him, he brings a level of knowledge and commitment that Schullo can't match. We hope Schullo will continue to refine his interest in government through participation on a city board or commission, but it's Malay who we recommend for City Council.
Ward 5: Three solid candidates are vying for this seat, each with his or her distinct qualifications. Michael Hanrahan, 59, is a self-employed painting contractor with the perspective of a small-business man. Michael Woerner, is a retired instructional assistant in special education with a wealth of school board and municipal leadership experience before he moved to Batavia a few years ago. And Abby Beck, 35, is a fifth-generation, lifelong Batavian with financial experience as a corporation business manager and a master's degree in environmental science. Beck's background clearly stands out and is supplemented by a strong record of civic involvement in Batavia commissions and community projects. She is ripe for advancement to the City Council and will quickly become an effective contributor to leadership decisions.