Turn out incumbents in Suffolk

Published 12:14 am Saturday, November 1, 2014

To the editor:

I have lived and worked in Suffolk for more than two decades, and I have seen many political actors come and go. With that experience, I have some insight into our local races.

This election could be a true turning point for Suffolk. While the national and state elections get most of the press, the local elections have by far the greatest impact on our daily lives. They decide the taxes we pay on our homes, personal property and the many fees we pay to live in Suffolk.

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Yet we cavalierly elect some local leaders into office, year after year.

It should be hard to vote for any incumbent given their many dysfunctional issues. Most have had their try at setting policy and running things, and have done so badly for so many years now that a change in leadership should be a priority.

Some decisions have done less direct harm than others, but many policies have failed us all. We could speak of the city manager’s huge raise done in the backroom, the utter lack of vision in setting reasoned policy about school funding, and the mismanagement of funds and resources we have borrowed money for.

Then there is a troubling aspect of the status quo on council, where the backroom deal is king. This is the most troubling issue in play. The important issues of access and transparency or lack thereof are defined by the power clique in City Hall and how they play divisive politics with our expectations, as well as with your vote to keep them in power.

The powerful always talk about open government, but then do everything they can to close meetings and discussions, hide the truth, and obscure their many demands upon us.

Some in power would have you believe they have done a good job, because we have a AAA bond rating. We do, but we have paid dearly for it. This myopic vision and insidious agenda has diverted funds for teacher raises, has underfunded community projects and has required ever-higher taxes and fees to support.

Council members say they cannot give teacher raises and lower taxes at the same time. That is bunk. Setting the right budget priorities would fully fund education and lower taxes. Our leaders must lead and define priorities. Cut things like new city halls, city manager raises, and funding for politically connected demands.

Leadership and vision are always about setting priorities, yet those now in power fail to realize their duty in this regard, and should be turned out for their failure.

My picks for council: Duman, Bennett (with Jenkins next time), Goldberg, and especially Tim Johnson.

Roger Leonard