The results of last week's Village of Port North's annual trustee election points up the importance of exercising a citizen's privilege to vote. In what was thought to be an uncontested election for village trustees, all assumed that the two incumbent trustees would be re-elected; instead, a write-in candidate, Ross Altman, won with 32 votes, versus incumbent Pat Loveland's 20 votes.
I wish that Mr. Altman had declared himself a candidate before the election. Then I would have had the opportunity to interview the new trustee prior to the election, as I routinely do in contested elections, so that the residents could form their own opinions and choose a trustee whom they feel best represents them. Voters should have the opportunity to assess a candidate's opinions on various issues that affect them and judge for themselves a candidate's integrity. Unfortunately, some elected officials have been known to misrepresent themselves, while others have been publicly tagged for contradicting themselves. Astute and educated voters need to be well-informed.
Also, (to state the obvious), it's patently unfair to any unsuspecting candidate who has been led to believe that the election is uncontested. They don't campaign, or have the opportunity to defend decisions that voters may have issues with (one of the disadvantages of being an incumbent!). And of course many of their supporters often don't vote in what's billed as an uncontested election...unfortunately.
I'm by no means impugning the character of Mr. Ross. He may very well turn out to be an outstanding public servant. He says that he hopes his actions over the next two years will demonstrate the high quality of his commitment to Port North and its residents. I feel he's sincere. But I would have liked to have seen the campaign waged in a more aboveboard manner.
Also on the topic of voting, the library budget vote is April 7. I hope those who support the budget, which I feel is fair and reasonable, will come out and vote for it. I'm a bit disconcerted by an "unveiled" threat made to the board of trustees at its March meeting. A resident who's opposed to the board's decision to demolish the Baker house and create additional library parking said that people from her group may vote against the budget as a statement against this decision of the board.
While I applaud and respect residents who want to retain as much of the character and history of Port as possible, these noble sentiments should be separated from the funds needed to operate one of the jewels in the crown of Port Washington. It's not fair to the many residents who use the library. Other forums where voices of oppostion can be expressed are available.. A budget should not be ransomed for one issue.
I'll get off my soap box now...but I hope that the taxpayers do get out and vote in every election. You never know when your vote will make a difference.