Think about it before you

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

pull that lever May 2

I thank

the Suffolk News-Herald

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for its coverage of the upcoming City Council election. Additionally, I also commend (Publisher Andy) Prutsok on his well-written editorial piece in the April 25 issue.

However, as the record should clearly show, I do not share his enthusiasm for &uot;Smart Growth.&uot; First, I have sadly learned, through long experience, that those who most often utter this catch-phrase all too often subvert and twist the basically sound, underlying concepts that should constitute sound and orderly planning for growth, into a tool for attempting to manipulate the lives of others by telling them where to live, work, invest their money, etc.

Additionally, I have yet

to meet a &uot;Smart Growth&uot; advocate who owned any appreciable amount of land. But, as I have often written and continue to believe, reasonable persons can differ, and Mr. Prutsok’s piece was as close to balanced as I have seen written by a &uot;Smart Growther.&uot;

According to the various newspaper accounts, each incumbent council member has said, in one way or the other, that if re-elected, they will continue to “represent” their constituency as they have in the past. Although I’ve carefully read all of the answers to all of the questions posed to all of the candidates, I have yet to find any statement by an incumbent which indicated there is any need to change anything in the way the city is being and has been run, over the past four years.

In my 72 years on this earth (the last 43 in Suffolk), I have learned that when one puts more money into an existing situation, they always get &uot;more of the same.&uot; Allowing the same persons to remain on Council will assure that we will continue to have &uot;more of the same;&uot; e.g., profligate city spending, excessive real estate taxes, runaway city employment rolls, unchecked “downtown” expenditures, houses illegally demolished (with very large penalties assessed by the court against the taxpayers n not the wrong-doing city employees), and repetition of the many other bureaucratic boondoggles that have come to pass in Suffolk in recent times. And, we can be assured that the citizens of Suffolk won’t get the chance to elect their mayor for at least another four years.

Thus, it seems quite clear that if one wants &uot;more of the same,&uot; they should vote for the incumbents. A vote for the incumbent council members will produce:

* More runaway real estate assessments,

* More real estate taxes,

* More Suffolk citizens who must work one or more jobs to support their families and pay the exorbitant real estate taxes levied by the present City Council,

* More cases where a person on a fixed-income is effectively priced out of their

home because a company like 7-11 buys a commercial parcel within a few miles,

* More giveaways of

taxpayer-owned property for paltry sums,

* More city departments, department heads, assistant department heads, and employees,

* More “downtown” expenditures,

* More re-zoning of residential land to commercial land against the wishes of the surrounding home owners and property owners (“Smart Growth”?),

* More and more of the same.

Of course, except in the Cypress Borough, Suffolk citizens and taxpayers who are sick and tired of “more of the same,” have other choices. Well-qualified and committed candidates, who would make excellent replacements for the incumbents are: David Jones (Chuckatuck Borough), Jeffrey Gardy (Holy Neck Borough), and Charles Parr (Suffolk Borough).

But, the people need to get out and vote! Unseating the incumbent and entrenched council members will not be easy. For example, it will be very difficult for Charles Parr to match the ads, mailings, etc., that can and likely will be purchased by the massive War Chest of the Suffolk Borough incumbent.

Voters in the Suffolk Borough might want to take the time to read the newspaper’s listings of donors and the amounts donated to the Suffolk Borough incumbent’s overflowing coffers, and decide for themselves who has the most to gain by keeping things the way they now are. In all three of the contested Boroughs, it would also probably be enlightening if each voter checked into the last time their incumbent failed to vote with the other incumbents now running for reelection n think about that!

But, the votes get counted one at a time, and many of the largest donors to the incumbents can’t vote for them because the donors are not Suffolk residents, or don’t live in the recipient’s borough. If enough caring and thoughtful voters go to the polls in the Chuckatuck, Holy Neck, and Suffolk Boroughs on May 2, there may well be an influx of new thinking that is responsive to the real needs and concerns of all of Suffolk’s citizens.

C. L. Willis, P. E.