Editor, The Spotlight:
The elections are over. Thank heavens! As Ed Koch famously said, “The voters have spoken and now they must be punished!”
My first observation is that the rumors of the demise of the Democratic machine in Bethlehem were wrong. They have, however, been completely co-opted by the “Reform Democrats”. Secondly, Ms. Sasso outpolled the incumbent Reinhardt on the Democratic line. Let’s hope that enables her to have some independence on the board. Lastly, almost 10,000 voters came out and while this is short of the 17,000 that came out for the Presidential election and way short of the 21,000 registered voters, it is a good thing.
The challenge now is not to let ourselves sink back into lethargy. The Town Board needs active participation of residents in their deliberations so that there is not a temptation to go off “half cocked,” otherwise we could end up with electric car charging stations all over and a “green brand” stamped on the Town.
Next comes the school board and budget election in May. This is something that impacts all of us directly in our sizeable school taxes. It has, however, significantly less participation. Last year only 3,800 people stirred themselves to come out to vote and we got an appointed board member without much of a fuss. School board meetings are very poorly attended, except by faculty and students condemned to be there for credit. The board is spending your money like water and treats taxpayers like a free ATM machine. It is a bargain if you have children but not so much for the rest of us.
This is an important year. There will be three openings on the board and we need people to run who will remember that they are also responsible to the taxpayers. Our erstwhile State Senator and assembly member will be there before the Dec. 4 board of education meeting to address issues like common core, unfunded mandates and state funding to school districts. If no one shows up, they will assume that their constituents are all as happy as a clam!
Philip W. Carter