The Newark Republicans will choose a mayoral candidate this Tuesday (8/12) beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Newark High School Auditorium. Two current Village Trustees, John Zornow and Jonathan Taylor will be vying for the village top job, with only registered Republicans allowed to nominate, cast ballots and be candidates.
The Trustees are hoping to unseat current Mayor Peter Blandino, who has held the post for the past 12 years as a Republican. Following disagreements with Blandino and his policies, it became evident the Newark Republicans were no longer going to endorse Blandino for another term.
Feeling the heat, Blandino announced last year that he would be switching his party allegiance and register as a Democrat. He has also let it be known that if a “certain person” wins the Republican caucus, he will then not seek reelection as a Democrat.
“There is definitely some animosity between two of us. I am not malicious, I just have strong feelings,” said Blandino.
John Zornow knows that he is not high on Blandino’s list and that his Republican challenger, Taylor, is the Mayor’s favorite to replace him.
For his part, Taylor said he has not been approached, or had any conversation with Blandino about possibly tapping the Mayor for a trustee seat that would open up if he (Taylor) is elected mayor. Taylor said any appointment to a trustee seat would come after a full board discussion and consensus.
The Democrats will hold their caucus on Thursday (8/21) at 7:00 pm at the American Legion, located at 200 East Union Street. The Town Caucus will come first, followed by the Village Caucus. According to Wayne County Democrat Chairman, Mark Alquist, the Democrats will be holding an “open caucus”, meaning the mayoral spot will be open to any, or no party affiliation. You must still be a registered Democrat in Newark/Arcadia to nominate a candidate and to cast a ballot.
John Zornow, a recent past president of the Newark Rotary Club is also involved in the Elks Club, serves on the board of WayneCap, is Past President of the Newark-Arcadia Historical Society, former Chairman of the Wayne County Planning Board, past member of the Newark Zoning Board, Past President of the Newark and Pioneer Library System. He has been a Village Trustee for the past four years.
Zornow made his intentions clear last year and began handing out cards asking for villagers’ support. He stated that his style of governing will be different from the current administration. “I will not micro-manage. I will be approachable and transparent,” he commented. John said he feels the position is full-time, something he said he will continue if elected. He also added that his role as a reporter for 13 years, covering town, village and occasionally county meetings gives him an insight, beyond being a trustee.
Jonathan Taylor was born and raised in Newark and has a wife, Cari and two children, a son age 5 and a daughter age 10. He is active in youth sports serving as a coach in baseball, basketball and soccer. He has been on the Village Board for the past two years and is a past member of the New York Farm Bureau Board of Directors, and various state agricultural committees. He currently works as a feed/nutrient manager for a dairy operation.
Jonathan said he is open to community members, does his Board homework and feels he makes the best decisions necessary. He decided to run for the Village Board after being approached by community members and decided to put his efforts towards the mayor’s position.
On the Democratic side of the battle is current mayor Peter Blandino, who was chastised several years ago for helping to appoint his wife to an open Village Trustee seat.
“I think Helen is the second most knowledgeable person in Newark. On the surface, it might not have looked right (to have her appointed to the board), but she is a great asset to the village, and that is what matters.” He noted too that he wishes she voted his way more often. He said she is really a very independent thinker.
Pete is proud of the many things that have been accomplished during his time in office.
“You always hope to leave things better than when you started, and I think I have helped accomplished that,” said the Mayor. We are in great shape now – our revenues and our expense are equal.”
He alluded to raising balances in the General and Water Funds. He is gratified that the parks are much improved, with softball diamonds and lights added. “I am also glad that I was a driving force in seeing through the DPW and Police Union contracts were completed, as well as the upgrade of the Waste Water Treatment plant.”
As for his changing of party affiliations, Pete explains that, in a small town, if really does not matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat.
“I didn’t change my core values. I have always wanted what was best for the people of this village.”
His reasoning had to do with the “caucus process”. “If I have to win or lose in a general election, that is one thing, that is fair. But to lose in a caucus, and not have the chance to let all the people decide, is just not fair to all.”
(*Disclaimer, Mr. Zornow writes a column for this newspaper)