Christopher L. Jacobs is a businessman and civic leader who has proven himself more than capable of continuing to run the office of Erie County clerk up to the standard set by Kathleen C. Hochul before she was elected to Congress.
Jacobs, a Republican, gives much credit to Hochul for improving the delivery of services to the public.
His opponent, Maria R. Whyte, the majority leader of the Erie County Legislature, is an able legislator who presents a strong challenge to Jacobs.
Whyte is energetic and hardworking, with an admirable record of accomplishments, a strong commitment to public service and a belief that government should be part of the solution to some of our community's toughest issues, including delivering quality services in an effective manner.
Still, we believe Jacobs' background as a member at large of the Buffalo Board of Education since 2004, along with his business experience as a developer and founder of Avalon Development and a term as New York's secretary of state under former Gov. George E. Pataki, make him the better choice.
Jacobs' skill set, first and foremost his experience in business, positions him to be effective as clerk. That office exists to serve the public, and it touches just about everyone's life at some point, from issuing driver's licenses, auto registrations, passports and pistol permits to recording real estate transactions and much more.
He says he will carry out the core functions of the office in an efficient, effective and customer-friendly manner and build on Hochul's successes, while improving the organization by hiring the best people. Jacobs wants to pull together a business/citizen search committee to find the best candidate for the job of first deputy.
He also wants to continue to innovate in the office's use of technology, such as implementing the state's recently passed e-recording legislation that will allow mortgages and deeds to be recorded online. And to further reduce wait times at the motor vehicle offices, he suggests looking toward an online reservation system.
Jacobs would expand Hochul's efforts to regain revenue lost when motorists deal directly with the state, rather than the clerk's office, as well as lengthen Saturday hours at satellite offices. Under his "Keep Taxpayer Dollars Local" program, he says that more than $500,000 annually could be generated for local cultural institutions and organizations by allowing drivers to dedicate 50 percent of their registration fees to a cultural organization of their choice that has an existing funding contract with the county.
He advocates lowering fees and taxes, especially reducing the real estate transfer tax.
He has a master's degree in business administration and a law degree. He ran the BISON Scholarship Fund for inner-city children for five years and was a founder of the South Buffalo Charter School, which he ran for five years.
Jacobs understands the workings of the clerk's office, having spent much time there on filings in his work as a developer. He has the ability to work with others and persuade them to buy into an overall strategy.
He is our choice for the job.