WOW! What a week!
So much has happened, so many new roads to travel. The city is alive with new blood in city hall, new businesses opening, a palpable excitement that things are about to change-for the better this time.
First, let's talk about the election. It is apparent, even though the absentee ballots are not completely counted, that Rob Palmieri is the mayor elect. What an amazing change of fortune for him and the city!
When he was escorted out of city hall in January after having been fired by Roefaro, I knew that meant one thing-he would finally mount a campaign for the office. And, I knew he would be a formidable candidate. At first, the insiders wrote him off. They underestimated Rob's drive, ability and dedication to this goal.
In an unprecedented 5 man race, Rob came out on top. Now the real work begins. With a reported five million dollar deficit gifted to the city by Roefaro and his cronies, Rob will have his work cut out for him.
In other political races, it seems Tim Julian was finally and completely beat by Bill Morehouse for Common Council President. Good news for the city. The deficit was not created by Roefaro alone. Julian built the foundation by not making the tough decisions needed during his tenure as mayor. He frittered away our water trust fund by maintaining the status quo and rewarding HIS cronies with fat salaries and benefits (remember Al Pyleman anyone?) As a reward for that "gift", he asked the citizens to put him BACK in city hall! And the people spoke with a resounding NO!
In other events, Thornberry's, my old, beloved business, re-opened with Mike Mahoney at the helm. It's even more beautiful than ever, with great food and service. The former 257 Steakhouse opened this week as well. Now called "The Stone Cellar", it has also been tastefully redone and, although not yet serving food, it is sure to be a success!
I attended the Landmark's Society annual dinner meeting this past Thursday at Pier's and Blake, the fantastic, upscale steakhouse in the former Doyle Hardware building on Main Street. What a night! Vin Ficci and Stuart Bannatine, the owner/operators were there to receive a much deserved preservation award. Dave and Regina Bonacci attended as board members and honorees for an award received for their fabulous Bleecker Street loft/office conversion. After a night of delectable food and beverage, we closed the evening with the best chocolate martini ever!
As I said, what a week! Who ever said Utica has nothing to offer needs to spend some time with me. I will be happy to show you how to find fun and excitement in our little city!