JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi is clarifying his involvement in the distribution of a campaign mailer (shown at the end of this report) that took place last weekend focusing on two candidates for Jamestown City Council at-large and questing their loyalty to the city.
According to the mayor, the Jamestown Democratic Committee created a campaign mailer targeting candidates Michael Laurin and Andrew Liuzzo due to their opposition to the Annexation of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities substation property on Dow St. in Falconer.
In September the city council voted unanimously in favor of the annexation, saying it would serve in the best interest of the city while also saving the BPU money because it would eliminate tax payments to Falconer, Ellicott, and the Falconer School District. The annexation was unanimously voted down by both Ellicott and Falconer officials. The matter is waiting to go before the state appellate court.
Both Laurin and Liuzzo have spoken out against the annexation because they say it sets a bad precedent that could hinder or even prevent future collaborations between the city and its neighbors.
The campaign mailers targeting Laurin and Liuzzo were sent to hundreds of targeted addresses. In addition, several copies were distributed on Saturday by Democratic Party volunteers who were canvassing the city and urging residents to support their party’s candidates – something that has become a tradition in the Jamestown area each election season for members of both major political parties.
Mayor Teresi and city development director and former Democratic councilman Vince DeJoy were among the dozens of volunteers campaigning on behalf of the Democratic candidates on Saturday and handing out the mailers targeting Laurin and Liuzzo.
Both Laurin and Liuzzo took issue with the mayor distributing mailers, with Liuzzo accusing the mayor of stooping low by attacking two candidates, adding that it shows how arrogant both Teresi and DeJoy are.
WRFA spoke with Teresi about the matter Monday night. He admits to distributing the mailers while also handing out copies of the Jamestown Times, a piece of campaign literature fashioned as a newspaper and focusing on various Democratic candidates.
Teresi said he wasn’t involved with writing the mailer, but added that he agrees with what was written about Liuzzo and Laurin, adding that it wasn’t in anyway a personal attack on the two candidates.
“It was none the less, in my mind, accurate. The numbers on the back page were accurate. And quite frankly, in comparison to some of the other pieces of claimed and unclaimed campaign literature that’s been distributed this year, this is relatively mild,” Teresi said, referring to an anonymous piece of campaign literature that was sent out earlier this campaign season. “There were no personal attacks in this piece. It was all about the position that these two individuals have taken on a particular issue.”
The flyer stated on the front that both Laurin and Liuzzo think the city of Jamestown should continue needlessly paying hundreds of thousands of residents’ tax dollars to underwrite the operations of Ellicott, Falconer, and the falconer School District.
The flyer also accused the two candidates of routinely attacking city officials – including other Republicans – over the annexation effort.
It closed by asking “Exactly who will Laurin and Liuzzo represent…their out-of-town friends, relatives, and business partners…or city residents?”
The back of the flyer also details the amount of tax revenue currently paid by the city to its neighboring municipalities, showing that it is the largest tax payer for both Ellicott and Falconer.
There are six candidates running for the three Jamestown City Council at Large seats. Those candidates are: Incumbent Republican Kimberly Ecklund, Laurin and Liuzzo – both running under the Republican ballot, Incumbent Democrat and current Council President Gregory Rabb, and Democrats Vanessa Weinert and Robert Whitney.
EDITORS NOTE: An update on our previous story had said that the mayor and DeJoy had unknowingly included the mailer when distributing copies of The Jamestown Times Democratic election newspaper. That detail was provided by an individual involved with the Jamestown Democratic Committee and not by the mayor, he openly admits he was distributing the mailer while campaigning for Democratic candidates.