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Wind Opponents Run in Italy

Italy Town Board candidates say they'll reflect residents' wishes

Three candidates are running for Italy Town Board on the Republican and Independent party lines. Donna Baran and Fred Johnstone are running for the two Town Board openings, and Brad Jones is running for town supervisor.

"We have chosen to run for office because the current Town Board has steadfastly refused to listen to the people of the town and accept the fact that the overwhelming majority do not want the proposed Ecogen industrial wind project," said Jones.

"At every single public hearing over the last five years and in two separate surveys, the people of Italy have said no to the Ecogen project," Jones said. "Yet the Town Board continues to do everything possible to accommodate every whim and desire of the developer and to push the project through before the end of this year. So, our reason for running is pretty simple: we want the future Town Board to reflect and defend the wishes of the townspeople, not the wishes of the hired guns from Riverstone Holdings LLC, the latest owner of the Ecogen project. We believe that the Town Board has a serious responsibility to protect the health and general welfare of its people, and that is exactly what we intend to do."

The incumbents are Supervisor Margaret Dunn and Town Board members Amanda Gorton and Charley Kreuzer. Gorton is not seeking re-election.

Jones and his wife, Linda, reside on the family property on Donley Road. Following a career that included management positions at Eastman Kodak, Alstom S.A and Al Sigl Center, Jones now leads his own consulting business that specializes in human resources and business development. He has extensive experience serving on both corporate and not-for-profit boards.

Johnstone and his wife, Kathy, have lived on Emerson Road for 12 years. He has many years of not-for-profit board experience and currently serves as a captain in the Rochester Fire Department.

Baran and her husband, Leonard, recently moved to their new home on Italy Valley Road from the Virgin Islands where they managed their own business. She has 15 years of experience in community and human services as well as several years of experience on not-for-profit boards.

"We believe that the current board has been so preoccupied with the Ecogen proposal for so many years that other important priorities have been ignored," Johnstone said. "This is not intended to be a criticism of any member of the current board. To the contrary, we appreciate and thank them for the hundreds of hours they have spent dealing with this developer and their army of lawyers."

Jones said that a new board in January would begin its term with a renewed focus on the following issues:

  • A three-year plan for town road improvements with clear and objective criteria for all spending.
  • Controlling real estate taxes and exhibiting fiscal restraint.
  • Improved communications to all interested citizens through newsletters, web site, surveys and e-mail.
  • Sustainable economic development working with nearby towns and the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center to develop and implement specific initiatives for long-term economic growth that are sustainable and consistent with residents' wishes and values.

"Following the expressed will of the people, we will move quickly to restore the original Comprehensive Plan prohibiting large scale industrialization in the town," Jones said.

The Naples Record, Wednesday October 7, 2009

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