An overflow, bipartisan crowd joined Mayor Jeffrey L. Pond in his re-election campaign Thursday in Myers Steakhouse to celebrate his administration's accomplishments and to offer endorsements.
Speakers also rallied both Democratic and Republican voters to cast their votes in the primary election Tuesday. Pond will be on both party lines.
Pond is running in both primaries against Carmen A. Vecchiarella, 60, who spent four years as mayor and is ending a decade as a Democratic county legislator from District 9.
"I hope that voters in this city realize just how important it is that they vote in Tuesday's primary," said former Mayor Rosie Hoag, who, along with former Mayor Ronald J. Yehl, attended the event in support of Pond's candidacy. Both are Republicans who came out to back the Democratic incumbent.
"Not only has Jeff done a great job working for the city and residents, but he's supported economic development programs that have helped city businesses and other organizations, like the Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce and the new Senior Center," said Yehl, "and that's why the former mayors agree he's the best candidate for the job."
"I've worked with three mayors in the past, and Pond has done the best job working for the city," said Mike John, tribal councilor from the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians.
John continued: "He's always honest and fair, and I know where he stands on issues."
Echoing John's comments was Ward 2 Alderman William Ferguson, the only Republican currently on the City Council.
"It's always bipartisan with Jeff; party politics are left at the door when we walk into chambers," he said. "In other administrations, I was excluded from everything just because of my party."
Pond cited several public works projects under his administration, including the replacement of the reservoir, drainage projects in the areas of Jackson Avenue and Ambuske Street and along Townsend and Titus creeks, ongoing replacement of sidewalks and street repair and the city's recent collaboration with New York State.
"Since our arterial highways are state-maintained, we've worked closely with the [state Department of Transportation] to best utilize the $1.2 million of stimulus funding for rehabilitation of the city's portion of the Wildwood Avenue project," Pond said.
Pond also identified the administration's preparation for the future, including using casino revenues to buy land along State Park Avenue for a proposed water park and rehabilitating downtown as both a cultural and commercial center that attracts tourists..
Pond is a lifelong resident and Democrat and has the endorsement of the city Republican Party. As such, he will appear on the primary ballot for both parties.