Heated primary battle expected in Delaware district

Political operatives expect north district school board member Jay McCarthy to primary Councilman Mike LoCurto in the city’s Delaware district next year. McCarthy hasn’t made his intentions public and LoCurto hasn’t decided whether or not to run for reelection, but few expect otherwise.

The speculation comes amid criticism of McCarthy from members of the school board’s minority bloc, and at a time when LoCurto has been reluctant to support the removal of the Scajaquada Expressway from Delaware Park, to the ire of residents and planners.

It’s unclear whether or not McCarthy will resign his seat on the school board in order to pursue the Council seat. If he does, the board would appoint his successor, and a divided 4-to-4 board would presumably look for a compromise candidate.

His close relationship with Carl Paladino and his icy relationships with the black women on the board have caused him headaches in recent months. The minority bloc even called McCarthy “unfit to serve on the school board” because of his communication of privileged personnel information to reporters almost immediately after acquiring it in executive session.

LoCurto holds a Masters degree in urban planning from the University at Buffalo, but local planners and district residents are upset that he has been largely silent on the biggest infrastructure project in his district: the reconstruction of the Scajaquada Expressway.

Critics say that the 3.2 mile roadway should be entirely removed, so that the Scajaquada Creek can be remediated to the West; so that a portion of Humbolt Parkway can be restored to the East; and so that Delaware Park can emerge more pedestrian.

They say that LoCurto — because of his background in planning — should be more aggressive in carrying the torch on these issues. And they wonder if LoCurto would be more effective in the Poloncarz Administration under Maria Whyte, who is known to want a broader County role in regional land use planning.

Other names being tossed around for the seat include the attorney Lisa Yeager, and Carmen Palma, the Chairman of the Italian Heritage Festival.

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