The upcoming election in South Bethany should be a referendum on the Town’s progress. On one side are four candidates with great experience and accomplishments. On the other side there are four candidates who have attacked the council on behalf of the recently retired police chief. These attacks may be the entirety of their “contributions” to South Bethany.
Within the accomplished group is Dick Oliver, who has headed the Planning Commission for many years. Jerry Masiello was asked by other council members to run a second time, for his experience-based insights into police operations. Carol Stevenson is putting together a massive 50th Anniversary Celebration for the Town this summer. Frank Weisgerber is taking major steps to improve canal water quality.
One would think the choice is simple. People who like the way South Bethany is going can vote for the people who have been making it go. People who don’t, you can take a flier on the other group.
It’s not that simple, however. The attackers have exploited a two-year-old piece of nonsense claiming the council has a secret plan to “outsource” the police force. The outsourcing story is not true now and was not true when the nonsense was hatched. I’ve always suspected disgruntled officers who wanted to sue the Town put out the story to gain sympathy.
People in South Bethany appreciate their police force. They wouldn’t look kindly on their officers being treated unfairly. This is why the outsourcing nonsense may be the attackers’ greatest hope. They have used it to charge the council with a lack of transparency for not revealing an outsourcing plan that doesn’t exist. The attackers have claimed a further lack of transparency because the council couldn’t give them sensitive information regarding the chief.
It was recently revealed that attackers have been talking of transparency while hiding behind a secret Facebook group to grouse about the council and plot strategy. Oddly, our previous mayor is an active part of this group.
I have a partial concern that, if the attack group wins, we will be governed by people who have historically shown little interest in South Bethany. The Town’s backbone of volunteers could dry up.
My main concern, however, is that their approach (which mimics national politics) could become the norm.