The 2007 election season has developed some new twists and turns with a large field of candidates successfully submitting independent designating petitions to assure themselves a spot on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The petitions, submitted to the Steuben County Board of Elections last week, allow candidates to run for office without endorsement from official parties. The number of signatures varies, depending on the number of voters registered in each municipality in 2006.
A number of competitions are shaping up in several towns stirred by issues ranging from comprehensive plans to wind turbines.
In Bath, where a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter has stirred the public, political novices Payson Snyder, Michael Povoski and Patricia Rice will run for the Bath Town Board.
Snyder is running for town supervisor and Povoski and Rice will be on the November slate for town council, with all three running under the banner of the Bath Citizens Party.
Snyder will challenge incumbent Republican Supervisor Fred Muller while Povoski and Rice will run against the winners of the Republican Primary Sept. 18.
The primary race, for two seats on the board, features incumbent councilmen William Glosick and Albert Burns, and newcomer George Hauryski. Hauryski has also guaranteed himself a spot in November with an independent petition as an Independent Taxpayers candidate.
Snyder, a member of the town’s Planning Board Committee, said the candidates are committed to finding the resources to complete the town comprehensive plan.
The citizens committee charged with setting up a comprehensive plan were angered when the town board did not enact a moratorium on the proposed supercenter. Committee members said the board should allow time for the plan to be adopted before the Wal-Mart is built.
“The plan largely defines the character of the community, and can regulate types of commercial development. For example adult-use stores and dollar stores,” the three candidates said in a joint press release.
Elsewhere, proposed wind farms are the driving force behind many of the independent candidates running in the towns of Howard, Hartsville and Cohocton.
The race for town council is expected to be lively, with some town councilmen considering EverPower wind farm leases. The board members have been accused of using their positions to ignore public concerns and promote the project.
Eric Hosmer, of Howard, said the proposal to set up turbines in the town is the catalyst behind his candidacy.
Hosmer is also on the Republican Party line and will face incumbent councilmen Robert Palmer and William Hatch on primary day.
“The root problem isn’t the wind farms,” Hosmer said. “Accountability is my big word right now. The board has a responsibility to assure the health and safety of its residents. I don’t believe they have done that.”
Both the towns of Hartsville and Cohocton have been the scene of angry protests against town officials due to proposed wind farms there.
Last year, both the Hartsville supervisor and deputy supervisor resigned after an initial onslaught by wind farm opponents.
This year, the town’s chief wind farm opponent, Steven Dombert, has collected signatures for an independent ballot for the two-year supervisor term on the Reform Party line.
Dombert also is endorsed by town Democrats. He will be on the Republican primary ballot, facing incumbent Supervisor Gene L. Garrison, and Kenneth M. Porter.
In Cohocton, the construction of a 51-turbine farm in the town is slated to begin this year. Opponents have one lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court and another under appeal. The group said Wednesday more will be filed soon to prevent construction.
However, as political candidates, the wind farm opponents do not mention the wind project as an issue on their Web site.
Instead, the political newcomers aim to oust all current town officials, charging them with incompetence and mismanagement.
The group has fielded a full slate of Republican candidates for the primary, facing incumbent Town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus, Town Clerk Sandra Riley, Town Justice Hal Graham, Highway Superintendent Thomas Simons, and town assessors Mark Densmore and Joanne Damboise.
In addition, eight Reform Cohocton candidates have filed designating petitions to compete in November, as a back-up to the primary battle.
By Mary Perham
26 August 2007
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