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Candidate profile: Bill Saffo

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- For the last few weeks we've been introducing you to the candidates for Wilmington City Council and mayor. With the election now just days away, we wrap up our candidate profiles with with incumbent Mayor Bill Saffo.

He says he looks forward to continuing to make Wilmington the gem of southeastern North Carolina.

Saffo was born, raised and educated right here in Wilmington.

"Graduated from John T. Hoggard High School and then went on to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Graduated in '83," Saffo said.

The real estate broker says he first got involved in city government after concerns grew over a non-existent land use plan.

"I felt that a good, comprehensive plan was needed and was something we should implement as quickly as possible to help eliminate those battles between the city and the development community," Saffo said. "I think they're both very important. You have to protect your citizens and your neighborhoods. At the same time you have to have a certain amount of economic development for your communities to grow."

As a councilman Saffo says he oversaw the implementation on the city's first land use plan. Fast forward several years and Saffo is now seeking reelection for a second time as Wilmington Mayor.

He says all the years he has served in public office have made him realize what it really takes to be a successful mayor.

"It is very complex," he said. "When you are running and you are an outsider running for the job you feel like you can come in here and make some very quick decisions. What you realize when you get here is that you have to work with other people. You have to work with fellow council members, you have to work with your city staff, you have to work with the state, you have to work with the federal government and you most of all have to work with the citizens."

With jobs and the economy major concern for voters even on the municipal level, Saffo says he and the council have worked hard to cut spending.

"Even with these tough economic times, even with a very slow growth rate in our overall economy we have to still be able to provide a level of service that our citizens have come to expect and want," Saffo said.

Come Election Day Saffo hopes voters will realize what is most important is the future of the city.

"This is not just about me. This is not just about the mayor of the city," Saffo said. "This is not about I. This is about we. It's about us working together as a group of elected citizens to do the best for our community and to move our community forward."

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From one Wilmington native

From one Wilmington native to another....Billy is truely genuine in his love and interest of the Wilmington area....comes from a terrific family!!! You've got my vote old neighbor! Good Luck!!

ILM Native

As another Wilmington native, I'm so glad my vote will cancel yours out.

It isn't a next door neighbor personality contest. Saffo is dragging Wilmington to ruin. Too bad you can't see it with your blinders on.

I have but one question for Mayor Saffo

His glorious hair...how does he have that glorious hair? That is all.

Well

Isn't that the same thing they said about John Edwards at one time?

I guess with all the money Saffo has, it's easy to have a nice head of hair...while the rest of us are pulling ours out.

Clueless

With all the serious issues facing this city, your only comment is that he has "glorious hair"? You're either a teenager who doesn't know any better, or you're a clueless idiot with no responsibilities.

Gotta go with Bill

I don't know that Bill Saffo is the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I do believe that he loves this place and its people. His concern for prosperity and good in this community seems genuine to me and I like the positiveness he exudes. I am tired of all the fingerpointing and accusations without real or practical solutions. I'm voting for Bill.

Vote

I'm so glad I'll be cancelling out your vote. You don't have a clue.

Saffo in denial about crime

When he admits the huge crime problem we have here, then I might give him some credit. Otherwise, I believe he lives in his own private bubble.

Very True

"It is very complex," he said. "When you are running and you are an outsider running for the job you feel like you can come in here and make some very quick decisions. What you realize when you get here is that you have to work with other people. You have to work with fellow council members, you have to work with your city staff, you have to work with the state, you have to work with the federal government and you most of all have to work with the citizens."

Whether you like Mayor Saffo or not, this is a VERY true point. Too many people run for office claim they are going to do this, that and the other when the reality is that it takes a village. No one person can unilaterally go in and make the changes that many candidates claim. An excellent example is Josh Fulton who is running and promising to sell off the convention center. While you may feel this is an admirable objective, you would need the vote of your fellow council members to do so. Working as a good team member is far more important in governing than airy promise that can never be fulfilled!

Can we say Ron Paul and ending the IRS!