Pomonis to seek Champaign council seat

CHAMPAIGN — Merry-Ann's Diner owner Tony Pomonis says he is in the running for an appointment to the soon-to-be-vacant District 3 city council seat.

He will be joining at least former council member Vic McIntosh in interviews with representatives as they look to fill the seat that Kyle Harrison is leaving on June 15.

City Clerk Marilyn Banks said on Wednesday that no one has yet filed a formal application for the seat, but both Pomonis and McIntosh have indicated publicly that they are seeking the appointment.

Pomonis, 33, said he has lived in Champaign nearly his entire life, except for two years during college when he lived in Urbana. The restaurant owner said it is time for him to "give back to the community."

He said he understands that some of his employees live paycheck to paycheck, and he is particularly interested in "the issues of the day that affect small business."

Pomonis ran as a Republican for the Champaign County Board in 2008. He finished third in a five-way race for two seats.

Pomonis said he understands that District 3 is very diverse, both geographically and demographically. The district spans a large area in northwest Champaign, which includes areas like the Garden Hills neighborhood, some of the North Prospect Avenue commercial properties and the developing industrial park east of North Mattis Avenue.

"I think it's very important to advocate for all residents in District 3," Pomonis said. He said he also thinks it is important for a district representative to consider the good of the entire city in his votes.

McIntosh last week told council members he was interested in the seat. He served more than a decade as a city councilman before he decided to not seek re-election in 2009, a choice based on his work schedule and his wife's health. McIntosh has since retired and her condition has improved, and he said he misses serving as a city council official.

Applications for the District 3 seat are due by noon on June 1. Council members are scheduled to publicly interview the candidates in the first half of June and make their appointment on June 19.

Harrison said he will resign as he is moving to a different home outside the District. The appointee will be entitled to the seat until the end of Harrison's unexpired term in May 2013.

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Political Observer wrote on May 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I hope that the City Council selects a better appointee than Sgt. Gordy Hulten turned out to be! Perhaps the new candidates that step forward for the soon-to-be-vacated seat should all take a solemn vow that they aren't interested in using the position simply as a stepping stone to another appointed position at a higher salary, as Sgt. Gordo did by getting appointed as acting Champaign County Clerk, at an annual salary of $83,275. Hopefully, they all will fully intend to at least serve out the remainder of Kyle Harrison's term.

Since it was City Council member Deborah Frank Feinen who championed the candidacy of her friend and long-time business associate Sgt. Hulten for the earlier vacant Council seat (over 2 far-less-partisan, highly-qualified applicants who'd expressed a genuine interest in serving), perhaps her colleagues on the Council will take any recommendations she may offer for the current vacancy with an eye toward how the Sgt. Hulten Debacle is continuing to play out in Champaign County politics?

 

 

alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm
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Partisanship should have no place in local politics, least of all in a town this size.  At least Champaign doesn't force their council and mayor candidates to run under a party banner like Urbana does.

The amount of partisan politics that occurred in, for example, the at-large city council elections in 2007 is ridiculous.  Some of the blame for that nasty campaign can go to Mr. Hulten's former blog, which was always a good source of unnecessary partisan agenda pushing regarding local elections.  There were so many party insiders running in 2007 for city council...Avery, Feinen, Rosales, etc.  There were three "Democrat" candidates and three "Republican" ones, even though the council is supposed to be nonpartisan.  Perhaps due in part to the toxic nature of the 2007 race, the at-large seats last year were not even contested.

I hope that whoever wins the next council elections will be there to serve their constituents in a reasoned, efficient, and compromising manner instead of pushing a silly partisan agenda in a place where it doesn't belong.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm
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Great post.