Council candidates bring varying experience levels

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- City voters will have three experienced council members and a political newcomer to choose from this November as they fill two seats on city council.
Councilman Stephen Vitale is seeking re-election to the seat he was appointed to fill in July 2000 when a councilman resigned. Two former council members, John Russo Jr. and Christine Sands, are also vying for the two open seats on council.
Bonnie Lynn Linton, who has no political experience, is also seeking a spot on city council.
The other open seat on the five-member council was left vacant when Council President Robert Bullano lost the Democratic primary this spring.
Linton and Vitale are Republicans; Sands and Russo are Democrats.
Outsider's view: Linton says she thinks her lack of political experience will be helpful if elected.
"I feel that having no political experience gives me an advantage to see from the outside," she said. "Everyone currently running for this position has already been in office and has previous ideas and decisions that are hard to separate when dealing with future decisions."
Russo, however, touts his previous experience on council and says he wants to complete some unfinished business.
"I have served 12 years as a member of city council, with two of those years as council president," he said. "On my last year on council, I started a movement for citywide rezoning. This act, however, has not yet been done."
Russo says he's also interested in tax reform and a home rule charter for the city.
Sands, who served eight years on council, also thinks different forms of government should be studied for the city to help shift the tax burden from property taxes to other means.
Vitale says he is most interested in progressive government and fiscal responsibility if elected.