Parked outside the Seneca-Babcock Community Center in Buffalo at about 1 p.m. Sunday was a 1999 Oldsmobile with 131,000 miles on it.
It belongs to Stefan Mychajliw, who announced his candidacy for Erie County comptroller Sunday afternoon at the center on Seneca Street.
Mychajliw, a former local investigative journalist, said his car is one example of his frugal spending, one reason why he calls himself a perfect fit as comptroller.
Running with the slogan "Always on the Taxpayers' Side," Mychajliw has received the Republican, Independence and Conservative endorsements. On the Democratic side, businessman George F. Hasiotis plans to challenge County Comptroller David J. Shenk for the nomination.
More than 50 of Mychajliw's family members and supporters gathered in the community center for the 38-year-old's announcement.
Mychajliw grew up as the youngest of seven children in a two-bedroom house on Fillmore Avenue, on Buffalo's East Side. He's the son of Ukrainian and Polish immigrants. He attended Buffalo School 33 in South Buffalo and the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. He then moved on to Syracuse University.
"We were extremely poor, but I wouldn't want to grow up any other way because it helped instill those important values in my life about honesty, integrity, living a life of truth and being frugal," Mychajliw said.
With his brother Dan Alexander, he owns the Buffalo public relations firm Profit Media Group. From 1993 to 1998, Mychajliw worked at the NBC affiliate in Syracuse. Locally, he has worked at WKBW-TV and WGRZ-TV.
"If you're wasting taxpayer dollars, I don't care what party you're in, I'm coming for you," he said. "I had that track record of doing it as an investigative journalist, and I hope to do the same as county comptroller."