His re-election billboards said, "Street Fightin' Man." Not knowing what that meant I sought out Common Councilor Bill Ryan. Ryan's energy and genuine affection for the city of Syracuse is effervescent, cascading from his mind like a shaken bottle of Perrier water.
"I want to be part of a new direction, under new leadership in this city come 2010," he said.
As council president he has options to run things his own way just like past council presidents Armond Magnarelli and Matt Driscoll.
The council president has the power to bring legislation forward; is crucial in the next census and will step in as mayor if anything happens to the person serving.
"I want to be part of the new management team," Ryan proclaimed, emphasizing working relationships with department heads in an effort to get things done.
"Forming that relationship properly and having the mayor's ear," he said. "I considered running for mayor but I felt that council president would be the right place for me at this time."
"Team" is his operative word, and it surfaced several times during our conversation. In addition, Syracuse could have no better cheerleader. "I was born and raised in Syracuse," Ryan says.
He grew up on the north side, has been with the Syracuse Fire Department Employees Federal Credit Union for more than 20 years and is currently serving as majority leader of the council.
"Syracuse is my home, I love it. I'm offended by the fact that the fire chief and the police chief don't live in the city," he said. "As a Syracusan I'm offended by it."
Recently, excitement has been generated about the possibility of taking down Route 81 as it snakes through downtown. Ryan's take on the situation is different from his opponent's.
"This is a very, very important issue that has implications not only for the folks who live in the area, but also for the people who would be displaced," he said.