Letter: Keep Cunningham out of Bethlehem government

— Editor, The Spotlight

It is troublesome for me to see a former Town Supervisor seeking Town Board support to fill a Board seat that will become vacant on January 1, 2012.

I am a member of the Independence Party. I vote for the person who I believe will do the best for our Town. I am not alone. In recent elections Bethlehem voters have responded in a clear and resounding way they want elected officials who serve their community, not politics and themselves, first. They have rejected self-serving candidates who have a misguided sense of their right to hold public office.

Apparently Democratic Party Vice-Chairman Cunningham and his protégé Democratic Committee member Kyle Kotary have not gotten this message-- a message that was clearly delivered over two years ago when Sam Messina, Independence Party member, was elected Town Supervisor, defeating Mr. Cunningham and his regime of entitlement, money, and power.

Once again, this year, the residents of our Town made their voice heard when they chose John Clarkson for Town Supervisor. In doing so they rejected Mr. Kotary’s bid to dominate the election process by taking away voter choice and grabbing all major party lines. Mr. Clarkson, a Democrat and first-time candidate, won the primary nearly 2 to 1 over Mr. Kotary who was the Democratic Committee’s hand-picked choice. In the general election for Town Supervisor the people of Bethlehem again issued a referendum for change by voting almost 3 to 1 in favor of Mr. Clarkson.

Despite the fact that there has been a consistent message from the people of Bethlehem, the Democratic Committee has failed to recognize their leaders are out of touch with the voting public. This is an insult to the good and wise residents of Bethlehem.

Supervisor Elect John Clarkson is advocating the vacant Board seat be filled by a Town Board appointment of a professional person who will serve our Town for a term of one year, with the understanding that this person will not seek to run for that office at the end of the year. There are several highly qualified candidates who want to serve our Town in this interim period. I strongly support this method of filling the vacancy as it is clearly in the best interest of the residents of Bethlehem. Clarkson’s proposal is both creative and professional, and promotes transparency in government. It prevents a person from being appointed to the Board, then running as an “incumbent.” The big question is: Will sitting Town Board members Kyle Kotary, Joann Dawson, and Jeffrey Kuhn vote to support Supervisor Clarkson’s proposal for appointment of a professional?

Let Mr. Cunningham and whoever else wants to seek election to the Town Board seat run in a special election to be held in one year. Give the voting public a chance to decide—free of backroom politics.

Neal Sorell


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