Her name has been Mary M. Martino for years, and she's proud of it. But she's also trying to get elected in South Buffalo, so she asked -- twice -- if it could be pointed out that she is the former Mary Corcoran.
Mrs. Martino is looking for the Irish vote and more as she challenges Dennis T. Manley in the Democratic primary for the South District seat on the Common Council.
Manley, completing his first term, is running on his record, much of it involving recreational facilities.
As the challenger, Mrs. Martino says Manley has been "ineffective" and lacks leadership and vision. "In order for this area to move forward, we need someone who is able to take a stand, bring important groups to the table and understand the issues," she said.
She said her experience with labor and community organizations has demonstrated her ability "to work with people and to work through difficult issues."
Mrs. Martino said she has walked more than half the district and will continue to do so and has found that leadership, quality education and jobs are the top issues.
She said she would work to improve the management of the schools and to establish neighborhood schools.
She also pledged to work toward the cleanup and development of former industrial sites, or "brown fields," to create good jobs "so that our young people have the option of staying here."
Another priority would be to fight for youth programs and an increased police presence.
Manley, who has the endorsement of the Conservative and Independence parties, said education, police protection and quality of life are the top issues and pledged to continue the programs of his first term.
"We've managed to get the garbage fee reduced twice, and I won't quit until it's eliminated," he said.
He cited numerous grants he has secured to improve quality of life. They include $1 million allocated toward a new senior citizens center in Cazenovia Park, $900,000 worth of renovations of the park's ice rink and $100,000 obtained for renovation of the park's casino; a new running track at Mungovan Park; working with Council Member at Large Rosemarie LoTempio to obtain $3 million toward a new early-childhood center along with a community center and library to replace the old School 29 building; obtaining an "extra" $250,000 for beautification and tree removal and tree planting; new water lines and paving on Seneca Street; and obtaining the services of the National Guard for cleanup around the Union Ship Canal.
"My priority is to keep all these projects going," Manley said. "I have worked hard for the past 20 months, and I will continue to work hard for the people. I have been honest and fair to my constituents, and I think most of them know that."
He also said he voted against and has refused to accept a 20 percent pay raise for the Council.
Manley said he has the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, several political clubs, Council 35 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and unions representing police and firefighters.
He said he expects to spend about $15,000 on his campaign.
Mrs. Martino, president of the board of the Western New York Council of Occupational Safety and Health, has the backing of such groups as the Communication Workers of America; the United Auto Workers; Local 17B, Graphic Communications International; the Green Party; the Working Family Party; and the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades of America.
She said she could spend as much as $20,000 on her first run for public office.
Dennis M. Marek, unopposed on the Republican side, will face the Democratic primary winner in the general election.