Erie City Council Candidate's Debate - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Erie City Council Candidate's Debate

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   The 5 candidates for Erie City Council faced off tonight, in a debate.

    It was part of the Erie Reader Downtown Debate series.

There are 4 Democrats and 1 Republican, running for 4 council seats.

     Tonight, in the first of a series of special reports, Kevin MacDowell looks at tonight's debate, and at some of the major issues in this year's race.xxx

     If you came looking for sparks and fireworks, you were definitely disappointed.

      It wasn't a "love fest" at the Jefferson Educational Society, tonight, but it was close.

      There was little the candidates disagreed on, and what disagreement there was, at least publicly, was hardly discernable.

     It's a good sign they'll be able to work together, no matter who gets elected.

      Each candidate started, by explaining why they deserve your vote.

     The 4 democrats include: 64 year old Kaz Kwitowski.

     He has been city controller for the past 12 years, dealing with the city's finances.

      But, because of term limits he can't run for re-election, so he's running for a council seat.

"I think we have a lot of issues and I think you need somebody on council who has knowledge of the financial strengths of the city. I have that experience."

      46 year old Dave Brennan is an architect, and director of planning and design, at the Economic Development Corporation.

       He's finishing up a 2 year term, elected to replace the late Jim Thompson.

Sot(we need a strong economy, we need jobs. We need healthy neighborhoods, we need a vibrant downtown. We need good paying jobs so families can buy houses).

37 year old Curtis Jones is running for a 3rd term.

He's a community outreach specialist at stairways.

     "literally, when I came into office in 2006, we found a box of bills for a million dollars. We came from almost being in foreclosure, to righting the ship.)

     49 year old Jim Winarski is the general manager at Ras Auto Body.

      He was first elected to council in 2009.

     "During my time on council I tried to use a common sense approach when making decisions for the citizens. To be fiscally responsible for the good of the people."

      The lone Republican is John Evans, a financial planner.

       He was appointed last year, to fill the term of Joe Schember who resigned.

"I'm pleased to say I was part of the group that passed a 2013 budget without a tax increase. We're now working on a budget for 2014 which hopefully will not have a property tax increase either."

    The debate lasted an hour, and there were some big issues discussed, including downtown blight, crime, and what to do with the G-A-F site.

     Coming up over the next 3 nights, we'll look at those issues and what the candidates are saying about them.

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