Editor, The Spotlight:
Earlier this year, we voted as a town to keep the position of Highway Superintendent as an elected office. One of the reasons many of you chose to vote “No” on this proposition was to prevent it from being yet another that is appointed at the behest of the politicians with a keener eye on the loyalty of particular individuals to politics than on the subject matter at hand. Quite often we hear friends and colleagues lament the ills of these politics as usual. All the partisan bickering, cronyism and entrenched interests have driven even the most apolitical to pine for a simpler time. Running for town office used to be far more about lending a hand to your community in your area of expertise than about anything else. Now it seems more often to be a reward for party minions who have slogged countless hours in service to their local political headquarters. If you long for a move back to its more traditional roots, look no further than this year’s Democratic Primary race between Brent Meredith and Frank Zeoli.
With all deference to Mr. Zeoli, Mr. Meredith’s engineering background, experience and credentials, along with his Army engineering experience makes him by far the more qualified candidate for this position. Yet when the power brokers of the Democratic party were asked to endorse a candidate, they paid far less attention to who would best serve the interests of the community than to who had acted in political service to their party. This is exactly the cynical politics before all else that many of you rejected by voting down the referendum this spring. Brent, to his credit, decided that with or without the political power brokers’ endorsement, he would launch his own Bethlehem-based grassroots campaign supported by family, neighbors and friends like me. This is a mirror image to Mr. Zeoli, whose latest campaign finance disclosure forms indicate that less than 15 percent of his campaign contributions have been identified as having come from folks within the Town of Bethlehem.
While I feel strongly on the topic and urge you to vote for Brent Meredith on Sept. 10, please don’t just take my word for it. Rather, instead of just pulling the lever for the endorsed candidate, take a hard look at Brent Meredith by going to votebrentmeredith.com and decide for yourself.