Editor, The Spotlight;
In your April 23 issue, Bethlehem Democrat Party Chairman and Deputy Town Supervisor Jeff Kuhn commented on a protest that was staged outside of the Democrat Party’s April 17th fundraiser. According to report he said, “A more appropriate forum to have these discussions is at the Town Board” and opined that the Bethlehem re-assessments weren’t supposed to be a political issue and they had nothing to do with the Democratic Party.
Setting aside his insensitivity to the plight of many Bethlehem residents,business owners and land owners, Chairman/Deputy Superintendent/Town Board Member Kuhn’s comments demonstrate either naiveté or a galling effort to mislead Bethlehem residents. Specifically, the Democrat Party exercises one party control over our Town government and has the means and motivation to control the Town Board, its agenda, and its every decision. The reason we had a public reaction to the Town’s reassessment misadventure on April 17th is because the Democrat controlled Town Board has turned a tin ear to the concerns of residents on this issue. The result is that an operational decision has become a political issue that reflects squarely on the Democrat Party.
Bethlehem Democrats share a belief, sotto voce, that the next election will be decided in the Democrat primary. This is largely true due to the degree of control exercised by the Party over the local electoral process. With this “absolute control” by the Democrats every decision has the appearance and/or the reality of being “political”. Add to that the Board’s demonstrated disregard for the voice of the minority, our experience becomes one with a Town Board that cannot truly represent the interests of the community when those interests conflict with the welfare of the Democrat Party.
It is evident to everyone, except perhaps Chairman Kuhn, that there is now no distinction between the Democrat Party and the Town Government.
By virtue of his position and his comments he seems implausibly unaware of this and the obstacle it creates to democracy in government.