Niagara Gazette — Incumbents and challengers alike for Niagara Falls City Council will be on stage during the first Meet the Candidates Night event of the season.
Rick Crogan, former president of the Main Street Business Association, along with Michael Murphy and the Concerned Citizens for a Better Niagara, are hosting the event at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, at the Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St.
Crogan said his event is in addition to those more common, including another candidates night, hosted by the Niagara Falls Block Club Council
"The block club does its own, we just want to see those who want to change our city," Crogan said. "Because those are the people we need to get out to vote."
Incumbents Sam Fruscione, Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker are expected to be joined by challengers Robert Elder, Vincent Sandonato, Andrew Touma and Russell Vesci.
There will be plenty to talk about at the candidates forum, and the idea will be to touch on everything. Each of the city's seven candidates for council is expected to attend and will be given five minutes to deliver their platforms. Then it's question time, with three questions expected to be asked with two minutes response time afforded each.
Expect topics to vary, with particular interest in both crime and community development at the forefront, Crogan said. Recent developments in the Hamister Group's proposed hotel for 310 Rainbow Blvd., which was tabled by the council majority in July, are expected to be a major topic of discussion, as well, he said.
The council next meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 following the Labor Day holiday.
Because of different demographics having varying concerns throughout the city, the focus will be on making sure each represented group gets an answer from each of the candidates, Crogan said.
"We want to hit all of this city's generations," Crogan said. "With seniors, a big thing is for them to have safety in their neighborhoods. That's what they're concerned with. My brother, who is 64, was driving up Fourth Street from Niagara Street when three guys came charging at his car and tried to steal the Rolex watch off his wrist. So, police presence is huge. But we have a big list to cover."
Crogan said his experience in politics has always been one of fair play. He said he doesn't favor one party over the other and only wants to see the city prosper. So he's looking to find the right people who'll make it happen instead of just talking about it.
He'll serve as one of two moderator figures for the night. And he's looking for no-nonsense responses without the attacks when they hit the stage.
"There will be no surprises," he said. We don't want anyone attacking any others. I've always been fair in my politics and it's going to stay that way, We're looking for the people who'll do what's best for the city. We don't care what party wins as long as it's the best thing for the city."Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.