Bill Pealer Jr. admits that he was on a “standing-notice form of recruitment” when initially running for Ward 2 as a Republican.
Pealer, a media production specialist at Finger Lakes Community College and fencing club advisor was originally passionate about getting on the city’s planning board, but now he seeks to give back to his community as a member of City Council if elected in November.
“City Council presented to me an open spot,” he said.
Ward 2 City Councilor Paul D’Amico spoke with Pealer and confided in him that after serving this term he plans on retiring.
A primary was no longer needed and Pealer comically characterized his rise to the general election as “one check-off-the-box” while finishing his master’s program in not-for-profit management at Keuka College.
If elected, Pealer plans on using his background in management to not only share his leadership skills through city government, but also as a means to achieve “advocacy for residents.”
Growing-up in the northern parts of Ward 2, he remembers being a paperboy for the Finger Lakes Times while recently walking along the streets of his ward, canvassing and knocking on doors.
Pealer believes that graduating from the Finger Lakes Leadership program in 2011 helped teach him how to fight on behalf of Geneva, especially when he had a hand in creating the mural on Castle Street.
“Wait a minute, if the front door of Geneva, New York is essentially Castle Street along the lakefront, then let’s paint a mural on one of those not so kinda nice looking buildings,” Pealer said.
In this project, he was envisioning the mural, attending all of the planning board meeting, vetting artists to commission and even touching-up portions of the mural with his talents as an artist and technician by trade.
But beyond management, Pealer considers himself as an artist in his personal life and artisan in his profession.
“I don’t just express myself, but I work with other people to get what they want to express into a physical form,” Pealer stated.
Pealer elaborated on his insider perspectives about the media industry while living in New York City and why he eventually returned to the City of Geneva eight years later.
“I mean after college, I moved to New York City in the tristate area and I spent eight years trying to come back to Geneva you know, because I knew it was great,” Pealer said.
Pealer is weary of the city’s cuts in recreational program funding, particularly for the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva and specified that spending cuts reduce the overall return on investment in the community for taxpayers.
Another major issue for Pealer is the city’s atrocious track record with branding itself.
“I always said that Geneva suffered from horrible public relations. We didn’t’ have anyone branding us as this amazing place that I know we are and so many people do,” Pealer stated.
From his artistic background, Pealer hopes to help guide Geneva and its brand forward.
The more that Pealer learns about the rental and code enforcement problem in Geneva, the greater of a concern it becomes for him, characterizing the situation the as “prolific.”
“What I’m finding is that low rent usually means low quality of house: bad porch, bad railings, you know, the houses aren’t kept-up,” he stated.
Pealer believes that any rental property should be upkeeped and this responsibility falls upon the landlord.
“If our landlords are not feeling compelled to do this, let’s compel them to do this,” Pealer added.
He is confident in his abilities to read the coding enforcement mandates and correcting their errors, if given the opportunity.
“I think that gives me a leg-up when I’m sitting in that chair,” Pealer said.
In closing, Pealer asks for residents to get-out the vote and philosophizes about the prominence of political institutions.
When thinking about government, Pealer comments that many constituents feel as if the system is too large, but he reminds them that Geneva’s City Council is simply not the case.
“They should be reminded that it’s not; it’s not too big and one person can absolutely make a difference,” he concluded.
Listen to the full-conversation with Pealer below:
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to WEOS and WHWS Station Manager Greg Cotterill for sharing Geneva Candidate Snapshots with FingerLakes1.com.
More from ‘Candidate Snapshot’ series exclusively on FingerLakes1.com:
– Valentino brings experience from City Council to Mayor’s race (Mayor)
– Pitifer takes life journey onto Geneva mayoral campaign trail (Mayor)
– Gomez vows to fight for residents as campaign continues (Ward 1)
– Bill Pealer Jr. takes life of experiences on campaign trail (Ward 2)
– Camera focuses on bringing creativity, experience to Geneva City Council (Ward 4)
– Salamendra targets change through more than activism (Ward 5)
– Bryan Housel brings public safety background to campaign for Geneva City Council (Ward 5)
– Pruett takes independent approach to Geneva City Council race (Ward 6)
– Juanita Aikens looks to bring better representation to Geneva City Hall (Ward 6)
– Reporting & Photos by Gabriel Pietrorazio
An undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pietrorazio has written for the Town Times of Watertown, Connecticut and Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York. He’s currently a reporter for FL1 News, and can be reached at [email protected].