The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 19, 2013

9 Dems vie for 4 council spots

JOHNSTOWN — Democratic Party voters will have a crowded field of Johnstown City Council candidates to choose from on Tuesday.

With four seats open, nine individuals entered the race. The top four vote-getters will advance to this fall’s general election. Also, two Democrats originally joined the race for mayor, but the death of Anthony Gergely has left Frank Janakovic as the only remaining candidate.

There are no Republicans running for either city council or mayor.

Here is an overview of the Democratic field with the candidates listed in the order their names will appear on the ballot.

• Ian Miller wants the city to build, own and operate a waste-to-energy plant in order to create local jobs and generate revenue. He supports developing other alternative energy resources, such as solar and wind. Miller would like to see Conemaugh Health System donate free medical care, specifically dental, instead of increasing its payment in lieu of tax contributions beyond their current level.

“I believe this is almost a referendum on change,” said Miller, president of the Moxham Renaissance. “If voters really want change and growth, they’ll vote for candidates with new ideas.”

• Pete Vizza, a first-term councilman, spearheaded development of the city’s Drug and Crime Commission, which is in the process of examining the causes of crime in Johnstown with hopes of finding solutions to the problem. The commission is scheduled to issue its report to City Council sometime within the next few weeks.

“We’re going to have dividends from that, just be patient,” Vizza said. “As soon as they give it to council, God-willing, whoever gets in here, we’re going to act on it.

• Jack Williams has served three nonconsecutive terms on council with the most recent ending in 2011. He has expressed concerns about whether the current council is properly following the city’s home rule charter and guidelines set forth in Pennsylvania’s Financial Recovery Act 47 program for distressed municipalities, which Johnstown joined in 1992.

“When I see what transpires, it makes me want to get involved, to be a voice for the city,” Williams said.

• Nunzio Johncola spent three decades working for the city. He then served on City Council for 12 years before deciding to not run again in 2010. During his time in office, Johncola was a strong proponent for creating recreational activities within the city and promoting Point Stadium.

The veteran public official has described himself as an independent voice throughout the campaign. “You can sit on council and you can have people say “yes, yes, yes,” and be told what to say and what to do,” Johncola said. “That’s not me. I will do what I think is best for the city. It’s just common sense.”

• Marie Mock, who was first elected to council in 2009, has worked with several community organizations, including West End Improvement Group, Friends of the Steeples Project, Lift Johnstown and the Johnstown Symphony Auxiliary. She helped organize Celebration Johnstown!, a New Year’s Eve party for the community.

“I’m involved in a number of community groups and activities and have long been involved before even seeking public office,” Mock said.

• Dave Vitovich was inspired to run because of concerns he had about crime within the city.

Vitovich serves as the Knights of Columbus Council 467’s grand knight.

He was employed in the city’s public works department for more than 30 years. “I know every part of the city. I know every nook and cranny. … I know a lot about the finances of the city,” said Vitovich.

• Rose Howarth has been closely associated with Mock for years, as leaders of the West End Improvement Group and first-term council members. Neither one has accepted any pay for serving on council. They have helped organize community cleanups and beautify the West End by installing flower boxes and decorative signs. They have held fundraisers for the Johnstown Police Department’s K9 Corps.

“We will continue to support Johnstown and make it a good place to live (if re-elected),” said Howarth.

• Charles DiFalco has aligned himself with Vizza and Vitovich in the race. Like Vitovich, this is his first time running for City Council. DiFalco has focused much of his campaign on discussing crime and job creation. “I think what we need to do is we need to make Johnstown more attractive to get some businesses and some people in here, so we can get some employment. I think that’s the key thing,” said DiFalco, a longtime attendance officer in the Greater Johnstown School District.

• Anthony “Red” Pinizzotto is a veteran city leader, having previously served four terms on council. He chaired council’s personnel committee. He helped form the West End Improvement Group. Pinizzotto, now retired, was a former meat cutter at Conzatti’s Italian Market and member of the local meat cutters’ union.

“I spent 16 years on council and I think I did a fairly good job. I want to go back on and help the community,” Pinizzotto said.

On the mayor’s ballot:

• Frank Janakovic has focused on supporting his ticket’s teammates – Johncola, Pinizzotto, Howarth and Mock – ever since he became the only remaining mayoral candidate, following Gergely’s death in late April. “I need the group that I’m running with to change things in the city,” Janakovic said. “They’re very good guys, very good people.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 17, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads