Pomonis won't seek council seat in April election

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign restaurateur Tony Pomonis said today he has decided not to run for the District 3 city council seat next spring.

Pomonis, 33, the owner of four Merry-Ann's Diner shops in Champaign, Urbana and Normal, said he will not challenge council member Vic McIntosh, who recently was reappointed to the council. Both Pomonis and McIntosh had sought the council seat after Kyle Harrison resigned.

Still, McIntosh likely will have a challenger. Lynn Anderson, who also applied for the recent appointment but was not chosen for the seat, has said she plans to put her name on the ballot for the spring election. Anderson is a retired Tolono school teacher.

Pomonis said a number of factors led him to make the decision.

Foremost, he said, is that he and his wife, Christina, are expecting their first child in mid-March.

"The election is in early April. I didn't want to be out campaigning when I should be home with her," he said. "Plus, I wanted to experience the joy and pain and all of it with her."

Pomonis said he also has significant commitments to his church, Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church in Champaign, to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and to his business. He also recently sold the Taffies Restaurant in Champaign, which had been operated by his late father, Stacy, who died July 10.

"At my father's funeral the priest said that Stacy Pomonis had been a patriarch of the church. And then he asked, 'Who will take his place?'" Tony Pomonis said. "I hadn't thought much about that before. Well, tonight I'm going to my first parish council meeting."

He said he would support McIntosh for reelection in next spring's election, calling him "a mentor" and "a good friend."

"I think I've known Vic for at least 10 years," Pomonis said. "He would always come into Taffies with Jerry (Schweighart, the former mayor) and we would always talk. Then in '08 when I ran for the county board Vic was very helpful with my campaign. As a customer at Taffies we've been convivial forever."

He said McIntosh "has a wisdom and a knowledge that I just don't have." But Pomonis said he hopes to keep active in Champaign city government in some role, possibly as an appointee to a board or commission.

Pomonis said he had not collected any petition signatures or campaign contributions yet in advance of the spring election.

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