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CANDIDATE OP-ED: Salotto makes case in special election for Ward 6

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  • Digital Team 

Editor’s Note: The following is an op-ed written by Michael Salotto, one of the candidates running for Geneva City Council in Ward 6. The election is slated for March 12. Op-ed’s and letters to the editor can be submitted to [email protected].


For the past seven years, I have been a proud homeowner here in Geneva’s sixth ward. During that time, I’ve been actively involved in our community, working to make it a better place for all our residents. 

But I’ve also seen the considerable turnover that has occurred in the Ward 6 City Council seat. Since the passing of John Greco, Geneva’s longest serving city councilor, in 2019, Ward 6 has had 4 different councilors. That is an average span of just over 10 months per councilor, excluding the 7 months the ward did not have representation at all. 

This makes the upcoming special election on March 12 especially important. Ward 6 is due for a councilor who is ready and willing to put the time in to ensure our residents have a consistent voice on council. I believe I am that ideal councilor. 

As a school counselor, I know the importance of making empathic and meaningful connections when having difficult conversations. It is nearly impossible to have someone see your point of view if you are unwilling to see theirs. It is my hope to bring this sentiment to council and to build a rapport with all of its members. From previous conversations I’ve had, I’d like to think that I already have positive relationships with many of the current and former city councilors, even when I have strongly disagreed with some of their votes. My desire to build positive working relationships with other elected officials extends to the county and state level as well, as is seen through building strong collaborative ties with county supervisors John Pruett and Jim Kennedy. 

My empathic approach has the added benefit of being politically pragmatic, too. There isn’t a single person that has the best answers to all of the challenges Geneva faces. Progress will come from genuinely listening to the cases made by all of the professionals and stakeholders, and that’s what I intend to do as councilor. I have met with dozens of ward residents and have pages of notes of their concerns and what they would like to see. I believe combining their lived experiences with the steps and vision set out in Geneva’s professionally crafted Comprehensive Plan is the best way to move Geneva forward.

In just the past six weeks, I have attended a community outreach session held by Ontario County to gauge communal concerns, helped with the an event to provide families with free clothes and diapers, attended a meeting on creating a collaborative reuse center to serve the city and town of Geneva, have attended a city Planning Board meeting pertaining to the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner of E North and N Exchange, and have met with current and former city councilors on a range of topics from improving lakefront access for those in the East Lakeview area to establishing a healthier tax base. I intend to continue doing my homework on housing and healthy communities. While I saw and connected with many stakeholders interested in growing several aspects of Geneva at these events, I did not see Mr. Moracco take the time or energy to attend any of them. 

I think what sets me head and shoulders above Mr. Moracco is my track record of dedicated work in the ward and community. From helping to build and tend the Crystal Street community garden to delivering meals to houses during the height of the Covid pandemic lockdown, from gleaning produce from local farms for the Center of Concern, Salvation Army, and churches to advocating for more transparency in how government institutions such as the Geneva Police Department work with citizens, I have put a whole lot of time into trying to lift others up. I view this opportunity to be on city council as another way to do so. As Mr. Moracco has only recently moved back to Ward 6 Geneva a few months ago, I don’t believe he is as involved in or up to date on the many facets of our ward that our city councilor needs to be aware of. 

My work in the community has provided me with the experience of collaborating with city employees, as well as other movers and shakers in Geneva. I have been consistently impressed with nearly every city and county employee I have met due to their willingness to communicate and collaborate with interested community members. While this doesn’t mean I know every stakeholder, it means I know where to go to be pointed in the right direction. 

I have a desire to improve Ward 6 and Geneva, I have ideas and action items on how to do so, and I know how to get started. If you live in Ward 6 and we have not spoken yet, please get in touch with me to discuss any questions, concerns, or ideas you have. I am ready to be the city council representative that Ward 6 needs. Please vote early (which has already started!) or on March 12. 

Thank you, 

Michael Salotto 
585-943-1896 
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