Piccirillo’s Post Mayoral Race Announcement Results: None of the Above Wins!

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By: Ken Hamilton

In a recent Facebook Niagara Community Forum survey, members were told that the city’s Community Development Chief Seth Piccirillo had announced his intention to run for the next mayor of the city of Niagara Falls, NY and that his likely-soon-to-announced opponent is Niagara Falls Board of Education member and Attorney Robert Bob Restaino.

And then members were asked that, though it’s early, but if the 2019 Mayoral Election was held today, which one of four possible straw candidates would you vote.In alphabetical order, the real possible were current mayor Paul Dyster, Piccirillo, Restaino, or the last one fictional, “None of the Above?”

The results were a bit surprising.

None won!

And that speaks volumes about the current political climate – not just in the city, but – everywhere.  The Clinton-Trump race for president was largely seen by many Americans as a choice between the lesser of two evils; Trump winning, not because of what he is (a somewhat questionable but rich businessman), but because of what he wasn’t.  He wasn’t a politician, and despite his list of successes, it is very evident that he certainly isn’t the latter.

Also surprising is that of those 70 of 1437 members who voted, but not counting the singular vote for Mayor Dyster and the 29 votes for the fictional straw candidate, 59% were cast for the unannounced Restaino and 41% for Piccirillo.

Aside for voting for an unannounced candidate, one of the ironies is that like Trump, Piccirillo‘s initial written announcement was that, “… I became a politician for the first time in my career and that does not feel natural for me, to be honest.”

Again, only 70 of 1437 members voted, or about 5%, which is closer to what a board of education vote looks like.

One of the virtues of the Niagara Community Forum is that it is intentionally not a partisan platform.  Though not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, members have to request to be selected and are vetted as best as possible to bring balance to the Forum.  As Forum administrator, I have accepted people with whom I vehemently disagree because the Forum is about us, and not me – though I occasionally get in my digs and even sometimes get dug.

On the admonishment of posting a poll that included an unannounced candidate, one member said that I may as well have thrown in Candace Corsaro, who also haven’t announced.  So I partially ran with her idea and the Forum made another poll that was based upon the Niagara Reporter’s February 23, 2018 article of Who Wants to be the Next Mayor of Niagara Falls? I was surprised to find my face in that article.

Not much can really be inferred by the results of that poll because members were allowed to cast one vote for any or all of those listed. The results of this very non-scientific poll of 50 votes among 16 candidates were as follows:

—Three votes were average for this course, and former mayoral candidate Glenn Choolokian, Councilman Bill Kennedy and former Mayor Vince Anello got their three.

—Former mayoral candidate Carnell Burch, Dyster and former City Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti were all skunked.

—Former City Controller Maria Brown, Piccirillo and Councilman Ezra Scott accounted for one each;

—Former city council candidates Sam Archie, Bob Pascoal and Ken Hamilton (me) each polled 2.

—Fireman Jason Zona rescued 5 votes.

—The unannounced Restaino polled twice the average at six.

But with a show of popularity, City Councilman Kenny Tompkins paced more than 3-times average with 14 votes, and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello with 7.

Are the Republicans now voting like old-time Chicago Democrats?

I am familiar with all of the candidates and have worked on one thing or another with most.  With the two likely candidates at this time, I have worked with Restaino and others on Highland’s Community Center issues and had even did a letter of support for him during his judicial situation; and with Piccirillo for my basketball courts, skateboard park and soapbox derby initiatives, among other matters.  As of now, it is early and I don’t have a dog in the fight.

I phoned Piccirillo and asked for an interview, and he did send me an email statement; however it was at about the time that I was finishing this piece and too close to deadline to review. Please look for it next week.

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