GENEVA — Four candidates are vying for the two at-large seats on City Council.
On the Republican side are Frank Gaglianese and Ben Vasquez. For the Democrats, it’s Tamarie Cataldo and Anthony Noone.
For Gaglianese and Cataldo, it’s their second shot at an elected position: Both ran — and lost — for seats representing the city on the Ontario County Board of Supervisors in 2017.
Gaglianese, who works in management for Massa Construction, said he “learned a lot” from his loss to Dom Vedora in the race to represent District 1. He said he decided to get more involve in civic affairs, joining the city Planning Board and the Western Gardens Neighborhood Association.
“I just know I need to do it,” is what Gaglianese said he told his wife about running for Council. “I just think I can do better than what’s out there.”
Cataldo, owner of The New Hall Diner in the town of Seneca hamlet of Hall, considers herself “an ambassador to the Finger Lakes” through 20 years of work in the service industry — from bartending to restaurants and now restaurant ownership.
“If you’re bold enough to criticize, you better back it up,” said Cataldo in explaining her reasons for seeking public office. “I believe Geneva is a very magical place with boundless potential.”
Noone, a Seneca Falls native who served on the Board of Education there at age 18, “decided to put my money where my mouth is.”
He likes where Geneva is going.
“People do feel, overall, that Geneva is heading in the right direction,” said Noone, a special education teacher in the Romulus school district.
However, he cautioned that concerns remain, including increasing poverty, high taxes and “stagnant economic growth.”
Knocking on doors as part of the campaign, “it really opened my eyes to the economic disparity,” he related.
Vasquez, a Waterloo police officer, is seeking his first elected position, although he did work in the legislative office of former state Sen. Mike Nozzolio.
“A simple answer is to why I’m running is because I care about Geneva,” he said. “I am running because it is time that the city government has a fresh, young, dynamic perspective. I’m running because I believe I’m the best candidate for the position.”
Vasquez said he will “strive to play a role in lessening the financial burden for families by addressing the city’s high taxes.”
All the candidates promised greater transparency and a willingness to listen — noting City Council meetings, where some residents have criticized what they see is an effort to limit public input.
Noone said that is a top issue for him.
“People just want to know that you are listening and you really care what they have to say,” he said.
Cataldo said city economic development efforts need to be inclusive.
“I believe in a prosperous Geneva, but I don’t believe people should be left behind,” said Cataldo, pointing to the need for greater transportation and internet access.
Gaglianese said City Council is akin to a board of directors.
“The City Council needs to be more involved in the operation of City Hall,” he said. “We have to be a lean machine.”
Vasquez and the other candidates touched on poor-quality rental housing and the need for more aggressive code enforcement on the part of the city, saying a “complaint-driven” effort doesn’t work.
Why they say residents should vote for them
Noone: “I will work to expand the tax base to alleviate pressure from property taxes, fight to protect and increase access to our lakefront and promote sustainable economic development and job creation. I will also research and reach out to my constituents before making decisions. I promise to work to ensure that your voice is heard and your needs met, including making myself accessible. Working together, we can grow our assets and tackle challenges, which will improve the quality of life for all residents. We are one Geneva and can truly be a model community. I ask that you give me the opportunity to not only work for you, but to work with you.”
Vasquez: “I will bring a fresh, young and honest perspective to city government. It is imperative that Geneva elects a City Council that is transparent and which listens to the needs and concerns of its constituents. I vow I will be available 24/7 to listen to the concerns and input of everyone that I am privileged to serve. My commitment to Geneva and public service will always be put first, which is why if elected I will be donating my salary to charity and/or causes that benefit the City of Geneva. You can expect my due-diligence in thoroughly investigating and researching each issue and project that City Council will vote on and transparently explain why I voted in that manner.”
Cataldo: “There are situations that require compromise and there are situations where you can not bend. I know the difference. I know what’s at stake for the livability for all Genevans. I understand that a position to make decisions that affect 13,500 of my neighbors is not to be taken lightly. My run for Council is not about social affluence or self-serving agendas, it’s about being on a team that’s working toward the common goal of healthy structure and functionality for the residents of Geneva and seeing to it that the visions and values of the city’s Comprehensive Plan are realized.”
Gaglianese: “People in the city of Geneva should vote for me because I have the temperament, skill set and drive to be the leader they deserve. This isn’t about me; this about all of us who live here. I just want to provide my neighbors the representation at City Hall they deserve. I am passionate and committed to doing what’s right. I am willing to find common ground on tough issues and to listen to everyone’s perspective. There is no place in small municipal government to play politics. This is my hometown where I grew up and where I am raising my children. I want to make everyone proud by working hard and doing what’s right.”