Geneseo's future debated in candidate forum

The GOLD-sponsored local candidate forum in the Union Ballroom last Thursday evening drew a large crowd to listen to Geneseo town supervisor and council candidates speak about some of the major issues in the upcoming election.

The forum was predominately attended by town residents, but some students were in attendance throughout the evening.

It began with a two-minute introduction from all of the nine candidates who attended. This included town supervisor candidates Wes Kennison of the Conservative Line, Corrin Strong of Geneseo First, Republican William Wadsworth and Democrat Bob Wilcox.

The five town council candidates present included David Dwyer and Felisimo "Hop" Manapol for the Conservative Line, Republican Patti LaVigne, and John Zmich and Sally Wood, both running as Democrats.

The moderator of the forum was political science professor Marilyn Klotz. She directed the questions, which were collected from audience members before the discussion, to the candidates who each had one minute to respond.

Many of the questions revolved around the candidates' opinion of the possible construction of a Lowe's in Geneseo. Wilcox, Zmich and Wood were skeptical about the benefits to the area. LaVigne stated that the Lowe's would "make it difficult for small businesses" and received applause from the audience.

Incumbents Kennison, Dwyer and Manipol, however, agreed that it was time to move forward with the project.

Throughout the forum, many questions were directly aimed at Kennison. One in particular, from a village resident, revealed an aggressive nature to the debate. The question concerned the petitions Kennison filed for his nomination to become a Conservative Line candidate, and the controversy about signatures beyond the petition's required number that were collected without a witness.

Kennison's response was that it was time to "stop mean politics."

At a lighter point in the discussion, the candidates were asked who they were planning on supporting in the upcoming elections. Each of the candidates declared that they were supporting themselves for their own position as well as the members of their parties. Strong, running independently, said that he wouldn't say who he was going to vote for in the council election.

Only a few of the questions did not directly pertain to the Lowe's issue and only one question directly addressed the students in the audience. The candidates were asked how they plan on bridging the gap between the town and students as far as off-campus living.

All were in support of off-campus living as long as the students are, as Dwyer stated, "good neighbors." Wilcox noted that the reason he moved to Geneseo was "because of the college." In addition, Strong and Kennison noted that it is also important to create incentives to allow students to stay in the town after graduation if they wish.

The elections will be held on Nov. 6 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and transportation from the College Union to the polling locations, the Methodist Church on Route 63 and the Interfaith Center, will be available for students.