There's nothing like an incumbent's decision not to seek re-election to bring out people eager to take his place.
David Franczyk's run for Common Council president has resulted in three candidates running in Tuesday's Democratic primary in the Fillmore District.
While Karen Ellington can be considered a political newcomer, both of her opponents already have been through the political wars.
Andrew D. Golebiowski is Franczyk's long-time legislative assistant, and Stephen J. Godzisz formerly served on the Council before losing to Franczyk, and ran unsuccessfully for Council member six years ago and for Council member at-large four years ago.
Ms. Ellington said her main issue is homeownership.
Owning your own home "generates empowerment, pride, personal care of properties and family stability," she said. "And strong families build strong communities."
As a homeowner for 16 years, mother and grandmother with a long history of community involvement, she said her first step upon election would be to use the communications network afforded by block clubs, neighborhood centers and churches to formulate a common plan of action.
She said her "ultimate qualifying experience is my lifelong residency in Buffalo, my close to two decades of residency in the Fillmore District, my vested interest in the quality of child and family life . . . and as an activist in every facet of life in the district."
She said she expects to spend about $10,000 on her campaign and has the endorsements of numerous African-American and Hispanic political and religious leaders. They include Rev. Bennett W. Smith, Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur O. Eve and the Rev. Casimiro D. Rodriguez.
Godzisz says the Fillmore District has become "the Beirut of Buffalo," and his priority would be cleaning it up, saving the housing stock and rebuilding neighborhoods. He said he would work for a greater police presence, including reopening Precinct 8, and elimination of the "excessive and unfair garbage tax."
District residents are not getting their fair share of city services and there should be legislation mandating both tenant and landlord accountability, he said.
Godzisz said he plans to spend $2,000 on his campaign. He has the endorsement of the Independence, Conservative and Right to Life parties, the New Millennium Civic Association and former mayor James Griffin.
Golebiowski says he lives in the same Sycamore Street house he grew up in and while many of his neighbors have moved out, "I do not believe that leaving is the answer to our problems as a city or as a region."
His chief objectives would include establishment of a "quality-of-life" task force that would take a proactive, door-to-door approach and include housing and health inspectors, police and representatives of housing and social service agencies.
Other priorities would be ensuring a better response to complaints about city services and the creation of jobs through the development of home-based businesses and micro-enterprises.
He said economic development funds are being spent inefficiently trying to lure existing businesses rather than going toward building a local entrepreneurial class. He suggested providing a building for an incubator/training center as well as establishing a revolving loan fund, peer counseling and technical assistance.
Golebiowski has the endorsement of the firefighters union. He did not answer the question of how much he expects to spend but said his campaign consists mostly of walking door-to-door.