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Town of Lockport critics plan to run for office

LOCKPORT – Two frequent critics of Town of Lockport government are taking their cases to the voters in the Sept. 10 primary.

David J. Mongielo, best known as the “sign guy” challenging the town’s law against flashing signs, is making his second bid for supervisor against incumbent Marc R. Smith. Mongielo, who lost Republican and Conservative primaries and a general election to Smith in 2009, is running against Smith in a Conservative primary.

Paul R. Black, a frequent speaker at Town Board meetings, has entered the GOP primary for councilman against the incumbents, Mark C. Crocker and Patricia Dufour.

Mongielo, owner of a Robinson Road auto repair shop, has received the endorsement of Buffalo Board of Education member Carl P. Paladino.

The 2010 GOP candidate for governor liked Mongielo’s attempt to overturn the SAFE Act, the state’s gun control law, with a public rally and an unsuccessful lawsuit. Mongielo also has been involved with the Tea Party, Primary Challenge, and other groups that have backed Paladino.

“I’ve helped him get on the ballot in 2010, because I was infuriated that [the GOP] prematurely endorsed [Rick] Lazio. He’s fighting the system like I am,” Mongielo said of Paladino.

Smith, a Republican endorsed by the Conservatives, said he looks forward to making his case to members of the smaller party.

“I’m the best Conservative candidate. I’m ready to speak about our accomplishments,” Smith said.

Mongielo said he changed his affiliation from Republican to Conservative last year after his unsuccessful effort to reform the town GOP from inside as a committeeman. He and his allies were defeated in primaries for committee seats last year.

He said he opposes “selective tax breaks” for businesses and said all Town Board meetings should start after 5 p.m., abolishing the board’s 1 p.m. work sessions.

Black, who repairs industrial machinery for Syracuse Supply, said he believes “a cultural change” is needed on the board.

“I’m not here to put a knife in anybody’s back. The town does a lot of things right, but they’re not communicating with the people,” he said. “The Town Board does whatever it wants.”

“I think he’s mistaken,” said Crocker, running for his third term. “Anyone can come and observe our work sessions. We have a public opinion session at our [formal] meetings, and I return every phone call I get. There are some problems people have that we can’t do anything about. He thinks that’s nonresponsive.”

Although Smith and Mongielo have had public confrontations at board meetings, Crocker said one of Mongielo’s suggestions, for rumble strips on the shoulders of Robinson Road, was implemented.

“He’d have a hard time saying anything good about our government, but I called Sen. [George D.] Maziarz’s office and said, ‘Dave Mongielo suggested rumble lines,’ and the next thing you know, the DOT is putting in rumble lines, and I gave him credit for that,” Crocker said.