The members of this editorial board believe the Erie County commissioner races are the most important ballots voters in Erie County will cast this election. Many of the issues and problems facing us today are the result of County government and its questionable leadership the past two decades. We are biased in our view, we admit. We have bias towards progressive thinking, inclusive governing, proper investment for the future and transparent government. The commissions from the past don't fare very well on this score card.
There are two seats up for grabs this year on a three seat board, making this election one that sets the tone and majority for the next four years. The first race is incumbent Tom Ferrell Jr. versus Mike Printy. As so often is the case, the incumbent is hard to unseat because voters know the name. We hope you'll remember it clearly as the name that has lead the county these past 20 years.
When you step into the booth, remember also that a vote for Mike Printy is a vote for change, and a new direction in county leadership. Printy offers the best hope for transparent leadership, consensus building over turf warfare, and most importantly, progress over stagnation.
If you believe the half-hearted economic development efforts during the past two decades worked in Erie County, jobs are plenty and there for the asking, then vote for the incumbent. If you believe buying $100,000 studies from consultants using taxpayer money represents leadership then vote for the same, not change. If you believe clever deceptions and lip service accounts for accomplishment, then remember to vote for Tom Ferrell Jr.
If you believe leadership is a divide-and-conquer strategy, then vote for the same. Tom's your man.
But if you believe this election is about change, and not about party affiliation, then cast your ballot for Printy. Printy represents the best opportunity for Erie County to embrace its future and reject the bickering and game-playing that has been the hallmark of county leadership for the last 20 years.
The other vote on the commission is to replace Nancy McKeen who is choosing to retire this year. This opens up her seat to two long-time area residents. We have seen them both conduct clean and aggressive campaigns and applaud both for doing so. What we have also seen is a tremendous amount of work from one of the candidates, Joe Hayberger, to understand the issues, to attend community meetings and events, and to demonstrate through his actions the time commitment he's willing to make to this important job. We don't question Shenigo's engagement but we tend to believe past practice is the best prediction of future performance. Of these two men, Joe has put in the time. He is a grass-roots leader who knows the issues that effect voters from the ground level.
The year 2009 will mark the beginning of a return to prosperity if voters elect Mike Printy and Joe Hayberger Nov. 4. A different vote would amount to an endorsement of the inertia that keeps Ferrell in power. We ask you to look beyond the partisan politics that have no place in Erie County and cast your vote for the future - and not for a party.