After working very hard the last two-three years to break what was a Republican monopoly, I find myself, this year, working just as hard in preventing a Democratic monopoly.
The Woodruff Administration was not “dumb” or “evil” they were just folks who, publicly at least, saw things the same way. They did great things for the town, and they were not the best they could have been and that comes down to groupthink in my opinion.
This year I had to ask myself, how are the town's best interests served, really, by adding two more democrats to a town council with a democratic majority in place that can already pass whatever they want? My mind this election was already made up with the tag line “continue the progress.”
I think we have seen some great changes with the new administration, one has been our new town administrator who has done an absolutely phenomenal job of improving communication and responding to resident concerns as if they were customers. Another has been that this administration has changed how local government responds to different opinions. I mean they still play the whole “I agree with you” in private without really doing anything but at least it’s civil.
The loss last year motivated Republicans to expand their tent. Gentiana ran against local Republicans last year. Party leaders appear to have acknowledged the need to include different voices within the party and put a very competent and capable option on their ticket. It changed how Republicans run campaigns and how they respond to folks with different opinions as well. They learned from their loss which is what good systems do. I hope the Democratic leaders will do the same when confronted with failure (it’s inevitable for everyone), I think they will.
Another change has been disagreements and hard questions finally occurring in the public realm by council members.
I don’t believe either Julie or Rina would have asked questions concerning conflicts of interest of their Democratic colleague as Manny did earlier this year. I don’t agree with Manny on this issue but I’m glad he asked the questions.
I don’t believe Rina or Julie would have provided a backup plan to the Shared Services' agreement that would not have cost taxpayers another dime in the long run and provided a failsafe. At least not out in the open.
They haven’t communicated any issue with how the Democrat majority has conducted their business, that would be true of most candidates. I would expect the same from the Republican candidates - although Manny did vote inconsistently with his party this year on at least one occasion-that was refreshing to see.
Last year I criticized, privately, the Republican campaign for sending out encyclopedias of “we’re great” mail to residents who probably threw them out without reading them. Was I the only one that threw all that stuff out in the garbage with little more than a glance? Democrats are doing the same thing this year, just nicer because they have more cash probably and more purple looking. The most recent letter from the mayor looked like it took a tree in one mailing.
Last year I criticized the Republicans for hiding behind the term “mudslinging” as a defense against policy differences and different interpretations of facts. We already have one or two letters from Democrats (more are probably coming) doing the same thing.
For this article I would ask residents to ask themselves whether Rina and Julie really offer a compelling enough argument to remove the benefits of internal watchdogs on the council or just a promise to vote through issues in the same way other members of their party would - based on their campaign materials and the recent letter from our Mayor, the latter seems more likely.
Just like the Republicans in the last administration, they appear to believe they are doing a great job. Maybe they are, they seem to be doing things differently. Maybe after reading this, if they read this, Rina or Julie might present a more realistic picture or some difference for campaign purposes but I don't think it will happen on the council. Two democratic council members agree with me on my recommendations around police in schools but haven't even brought it up in council meetings. Maybe they changed their minds since the last election. Who knows?
I plan on writing something about the candidates themselves, (hint: having three teachers on the town council is not in the best interest of our community) and their policy positions in another article. This article was really about getting beyond the sea of teams and colors all over social media and to the question of good government.
You can still be part of team purple and help the town avoid the historically evidenced problems that come along with one-party government by voting for two capable and competent Republicans. Manny and Gentiana- don’t lose balance.