Editor, The Spotlight:
I’ve been watching politics for a long time in Bethlehem and have been a Democrat all my life. I’m also a friend and supporter of John Clarkson, our town supervisor; and I want to see him reelected, so you know where I’m coming from. Here’s why I support him.
First and foremost, John Clarkson is genuine. He’ll tell you what he thinks even if he knows you might disagree. That doesn’t mean he won’t listen, consider your point of view, and try to find middle ground. But he doesn’t just tell you just what he thinks you want to hear. We’ve all seen politicians – incumbents and wanna-be’s – who do nothing but pander and promise. They won’t even go near problems where there’s controversy. John isn’t that type of guy, and that’s why he’s been able to do so much in a short time.
John ran for office in 2011 knowing full well that the town was facing a huge budget gap ($3.5 million). He walked door to door talking about the problem and how for years the town budget was balanced by spending down reserves, borrowing, and other financial shell games. Most of John’s career before running for supervisor was in finance and budgeting, and so he was the right guy at the right time.
John didn’t lay anyone off, but he also didn’t replace most of the people who left. That’s the right way to cut back, when you have to. He cut back in many areas, but didn’t eliminate the services people needed. He privatized the Colonial Acres golf course, despite stiff opposition; and now, instead of losing money, the town’s being paid by a private operator. John also saved money by modernizing operations and sharing work between town departments. Those steps not only saved money; they even won the town a special state award – totaling $776,000! This money can be used for tax relief or to pay to cover other costs.