|"Spending needs to be curbed.
Frivolous spending means you have to increase taxes. When you raise taxes, the for-sale signs go up. Crime, drugs and the filth of the city is residual to the overspending that has occurred in the city for decades. Out of control spending has to be curbed. This is the very epicenter of what has been wrong with the city for so many years."
Russ Vesci, Niagara Falls Council Candidate
|Karate is a way of life. It is not for show or fashion. It is a lifetme study, a way of living your life with discipline, honesty, achievement and honor."
~ Russ Vesci
Maybe this is what Niagara Falls needs: A world class karate expert looking to win a seat on the city council.
Niagara Falls native Russ Vesci, a black belt karate champion with a perfect 57-0 record in full contact competition, might just be the right man to join the council, perhaps joining with the present majority in 2014 on their quest to halt the spend and tax policies of Mayor Paul Dyster.
Vesci, 46, a Republican by registration, officially announced this week his intention to run in heavily Democratic Niagara Falls.
"Experience tells me that the problems of this city aren't Republican or Democratic problems," he said. "We have to avoid emphasizing party labels and start emphasizing the solutions to the problems. I can work with anyone who wants to improve things."
Vesci, who has never run for political office before, is employed at the Niagara Falls Waste Water Plant in the maintenance department caring for the facilities. He has worked for the past 21 years.
"Yes," he said, "I am a man who works with my hands."
Vesci resides with his wife Pam on MacKenna Avenue.
"I have some experience at the grass-roots level in organizing a block club," Vesci said. "Pam and I worked with some wonderful people through the East Side Block Club; In fact, our block club was honored as block club of the year in 2003."
In addition to his skill in the art of self-defense, Vesci is a professional musician, having performed with numerous bands on a multiplicity of instruments. Vesci has played the electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards and drums during a musical career spanning more than 20 years.
Lately he has been performing less as his interest in public life has increased.
"I have been playing since my teens and I performed with bands for many years," Vesci said.
"But, as you get older, the nights get longer, and I chose to step away. I'm a member of a blues band now, but really it is more for the love of the music and to have fun."
Vesci composes and records in a 12 track studio he built in his home.
His father, Pat Vesci - a well-known figure in the local political scene for many years - inspired his son to learn how to play music through the father and son learning to play the accordion.
He also inspired his son to political life.
"My father was a great man," said Vesci, "And he loved politics. He was a loyal, die-hard Republican and worked on dozens of campaigns over the years."
Vesci has met with the City Republican Committee to, as he said it, "respectfully seek their endorsement."
"The holdup of the casino funds and the future of casino cash overall, the lack of downtown development and high taxes are killers right now, and, of course, crime." Vesci said. "And, although I have never run for political office before, I want to serve the city I was born and raised in. I don't have magic answers, but I will roll up my sleeves and work alongside those who are trying to make this city a better place to live and to work."
Vesci, as befits a man who lives the life Karate teaches, has been a deterrent for crime in the city. One notable incident occurred on January 23, 2002, when he witnessed two men who had robbed a woman, tying her up with a cord. He was driving his car and he stopped and sprang into action, chasing the two men who fled. One escaped but he caught the other man and subdued him for the police.
"Once I caught the guy, I managed to get him in a pretty good hold. He wasn't going anywhere and we kept him for the police," said Vesci.
The man Vesci nabbed told police who the other mugger was and he was arrested.
Vesci was honored with a proclamation for his hands-on crime fighting by the city council.
"Karate is about discipline and it's about focusing your energy on the job at hand. Everything comes back to discipline and focus, if you want to do it right," Vesci said. Then turning to the topic of Niagara Falls, he added, "I firmly believe that focus and energy are the keys to solving the problems of Niagara Falls."
There is an ageless proverb, often associated with the East: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
It may be a good time to turn that a different way: When Niagara Fall is ready, the council candidate will appear.
Russ Vesci thinks it's his time.