To the Times of Ti:
We could let the (Crown Point) town board decide the issue of a single assessor or we could have put it to a public vote. The board acted within their right to go to a single assessor.
The vote is a double edged sword used to make choices or can be used to cut our throats. Making the same choices in election after election is certainly the right of voters but there are consequences, not all of them good.
The primary use of the vote should be to strengthen and not weaken democracy. If the issue had been put to a vote, likely nothing would have changed. I doubt that single assessor would have had a chance. More emotion than thought would have driven the vote. Thus, again, the continuous voting for the same assessors would have weakened the democratic process in Crown Point. This issue is now decided and is history. Now on to the November election.
Edward Gibbon in his “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” frequently uses the term “insensibly” (syn: unaware, unconscious) to describe various aspects of the demise of that empire. He meant to convey that decisions were and were not made that had the slow effect of rotting the empire from within. We are inclined to believe that the Roman Empire was crushed by the barbarians and other enemies but that was after the rot had set in making for fairly easy pickings. I have increasingly felt that this same process has been afoot in the USA. Now, few of the Romans had any voting rights and there was no democracy, but we have a democracy and voting rights. Are we going to use that vote in November to strengthen democracy?
Now Crown Point and it’s problems are tiny in comparison to the national problems of the USA or the Roman Empire. But, the rot that may take down the USA in the end starts at home. We need to use our voting power to promote change and fairness for all the citizens of this town and not to favor the few.
Through our failure to use that vote responsibly or even to turn out in larger numbers to vote, our democracy loses strength slowly and insensibly thus ending up with the sword at our throats.
By our failure to hold public officials (elected or appointed) to term limits by way of the vote, sooner or later you’ll end up with a board, council or other offices that become more interested in the status quo then caring about change. Favoritism, nepotism and corruption will ensue. It is, unfortunately, human nature and needs to be nipped long before the bud starts growing. Don’t end up with the sword at your throat by your own doing!
As an outsider and independent I feel less likely to participate in town elections when I see the same people repeatedly getting re-elected. I’ve sat in on several board meetings and have often wondered why some of the members are there for decades. Why is it that in a town of nearly 2,000 people, the voters seem to think that only a handful should hold office? This serves the people of Crown Point poorly and gives undue advantage to the chosen few and their friends and families. Public service jobs or appointments should not be allowed to turn into careers.
The people, by their vote, are ultimately responsible for how this nation and this little town fare. When we vote for the same people decade after decade (local, state or national) we are not voting responsibly nor is the democratic process well served (need I mention the U.S Congress as an example).
Every elected or appointed official should have the intent, decency and courage to set their own term limits. And when they fail to do so after holding office for two or three terms at most by showing no desire or intent to leave office and not seek re-election then it is up to the voters to term limit them via the vote. Will this likely happen in November?
As the incumbent assessors had given little evidence of thought as to when enough was enough I found myself in full agreement with the town board decision to spell out what enough meant. If the voters would come to their own understanding of enough it is possible that the vote would not be used as a rubber stamp.
The voter turnout in Crown Point is weak, especially in off-year elections. This allows but a handful to control the town for many, many years. Is this likely to change?
Once in a while it’s necessary for elected board officials to make the hard decisions that will benefit the town. If the electorate would do their job it would not be necessary for the board to do it.
Crown Point is fortunate to have a Beth Kosmider as supervisor with Yvonne Dushane and Bob Patnode on the board. They have the ability to think in the best interests and future of the town and exercise their elected right to do so. Let’s stay with a great team!
Dick Clark, Crown Point