Newark mayor candidates talk issues, goals
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 23:10
After nine years of serving as the Mayor of Newark, Vance A. Funk III announced his resignation Aug. 7, citing health concerns resulting from controversy over proposed construction of a Wawa on South Main Street and other issues.
A special election for the next mayor of Newark will take place on Nov. 26. There are six candidates.
Amy Roe, an activist for the Sierra Club, said she is running for office for the first time.
She said she is concerned about government accountability and transparency, noting that the university and City of Newark staff have been working for over a year to bring a power plant to Newark without informing residents. Roe said she believes in healthy communities and is worried about the health risks the power plant could introduce to the area.
“It is alarming for the quality of life of residents because of the pollution it might create,” she said.
Other issues Roe said she wants to address are storm water management and affordable housing. A former commissioner for the Newark Housing Authority, Roe said she will advocate for housing needs of all Newark residents, not just the need for student housing.
“We need to make sure we’re not pushing residents out,” she said.
An alumnus of Newark High school, Roe said Newark is her hometown.
“I’m a townie,” Roe said. “Somebody needs to stand up, and I’m ready to take responsibility.”
Robyn Harland, retired, is not new to running for city government. She has run twice for city council, placing second in 2011 and third earlier this year, she said.
Before moving to Newark, Harland said she was a special education teacher and United Federation of Teachers union representative in New York City. Prior to that, she said she was a paralegal in real estate. She said she now volunteers at the Newark Senior Center and serves on the city’s Community Development/Revenue Sharing Advisory Committee at the appointment of Funk.
She said the proposed construction of the data center and power plant along with the Wawa are big issues and unfair to the community. Regarding the Wawa, she said she understands the fear of the community due to increasing underground gas tanks.
“I have issues with the big businessman coming in and putting the little guys out of business,” Harland said.
Harland said she has a strong voice and wants to work to develop Newark.
“I have no fear,” Harland said. “I have a lot of experience in different areas and am perfectly capable of helping the community as mayor.”
Donald DelCollo, a senior loan officer for Pike Creek Mortgage Services, decided he would run for mayor for the first time when Funk resigned, he said.
DelCollo said he thinks the proposed power plant is absurd and does not seem right. Relating to the issue, he said fairness and transparency are important.
“Whenever you aren’t open, you create fear and distress, even if you aren’t doing anything wrong,” he said.
He said he is concerned with the long term future planning of Newark along with improving the quality of life for residents, noting that traffic and parking are important issues to him.
As mayor, he said he would want to meet with students from the university to discuss concerns, saying he believes the city and students have similar issues and problems they can work together to solve.
“I’d like to meet with student groups and hear concerns without administration from the university,” DelCollo said.
He said he strongly urges all students to vote on Nov. 26.
“Students should register to vote, even if they don’t vote for me,” DelCollo said.
Matthew Vento works for Delaware Claims Processing Facility, a nonprofit organization. This will be his first time running for office, he said.
Vento said he believes in transparency and technology so community members can be proactive rather than reactive. Vento said he supports the use of TWiki, a free web-based collaboration program that allows people to communicate with others.
“As a community, we have to move with technology and update, so everyone is informed of decisions at the time they are made,” Vento said.
He is strongly in favor of the proposed Wawa, he said. He said in comparison to the Sunoco, the Wawa hires far more people, gives better benefits and a 401(k) option and donates to important charities.
“I’m all for it,” Vento said. “Wawa’s not only offering to build there, but also offering a facelift for the mostly vacant shopping center and nearby area.”
Other issues Vento said he finds important are finding a home for the Brunswick Blue Hen Lanes bowling alley and making homes in Newark easier to purchase for people. Owner of the Brunswick Blue Hen Lanes bowling alley, Freda Stephenson, has said the lease terminates June 2014, and, as of right now, they still do not have a building for when the lease ends.