Roger Spurback has been a community activist for a long, long time.
Now, the block-club organizer from Niagara Falls is turning his sights to the Town of Niagara and beyond with a new citizens group called Town Citizen & Residents for Good Government, which hosted a candidates forum Wednesday at the Calvin Richards Community Center.
Spurback moved to the Town of Niagara about seven years ago, he said. Before that, he spent decades as president of the Niagara Falls Block Club Council and in other roles.
"Those were for neighborhood problems. I'm going in a different direction with this," he said. "The purpose of my organization is to vet the candidates, to ask them the difficult questions they should be able to answer."
Spurback said that he hates "political spin."
"It comes back to haunt us later on," he noted, and said he wants to keep transparency as a big focus.
Each quarter, he said, the organization will invite officials from the town, the county or the state to attend a community meeting to discuss problems and their solutions.
"If they can't come up with a solution, we're going to keep asking them," he said.
Spurback said that the meetings will start with municipal government, but expand to schools, as well. He also has plans satellite groups in Wheatfield and Lewiston.
To a person in a wheelchair, he noted, even something as seemingly minor as a rough sidewalk can be a real problem.
"The smallest problem, to a resident who's 80 years old, is their biggest problem," he said. "To a politician, it might seem minor.
"The smallest problems become big to residents. I want politicians to be invited to town hall meetings to address some of these critical issues."
For more information on Spurback's organization, contact him at 716-285-5426.