The opponents of creating City Council districts Thursday mapped out their final strategy for getting a citywide referendum on the question defeated on Election Day.
Former City Councilwoman Barbara A. Geracitano, one of the organizers of the opposition to the district plan, said they will contact as many people as possible during the final days before the election.
Members of the organizing group plan to visit or deliver anti-Council district fliers to senior citizens housing, recreation and nutrition sites. They have organized a phone bank to call as many voters as possible during the last week before the election. And, members will get out into their own neighborhoods to spread their message, "Just Vote No on Proposition 2."
Jeffrey M. Paterson, one of the opponents, said the group feels confident that the more people who know about the proposition, the greater its chances of being defeated.
"The only prayer of its passing is sneaking it through," he said.
The bipartisan group was organized by four former City Council members, Mrs. Geracitano and Murphy Pitarresi, both Republicans, and Bruce Battaglia and Frank A. Soda, both Democrats. Some in the group, like Soda, oppose the concept of Council districts, while others, Like Mrs. Geracitano, believe the district boundaries drawn by the Charter Review Commission are unfair.
Paterson said the group, which has no funding, believes voters will agree with them if they are made aware of the district plan.
The charter commission was formed by Mayor James C. Galie to fulfill a campaign promise that he would try to get a Councilmanic district system enacted. The plan the commission has submitted to the voters calls for four district Council seats and three at-large seats. Currently all seven Council members are elected at large.
Some of the districts, especially those in the downtown area resemble Niagara County Legislature districts. Critics say those districts are too large geographically or were drawn for the purpose of creating a minority district, which was ruled illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court. The opponents claim the map makes no sense geographically and divides traditional city neighborhoods.
Battaglia said Thursday he still hopes to set up a debate between his group and the supporters of the plan before Election Day.