Chautauqua County Legislators such as Fred Croscut or soon-to-be former legislator James Caflisch just do not get it. There is a growing sentiment for downsizing and dissolving governments in Western New York - and it is much stronger than either longtime legislator and lifetime politician would like to acknowledge or admit.
Three villages in neighboring Cattaraugus County decided Tuesday it was time to end another layer of burdensome government.
The historic village of Seneca Falls, one of the birthplaces of the women's rights movement led by Susan B. Anthony, has approved dissolving in Central New York but is still awaiting absentee ballots.
Neighboring Erie County has approved all proposals for downsizing Town Boards.
The total number of votes cast approved both the Westfield and Ripley and Fredonia and Brocton proposed school mergers.
So where does Chautauqua County go from here?
If Croscut and Caflisch are so correct about more legislators being the answer, then where is the progress from the last 10 to 20 years that they have been in the Legislature? Why haven't these legislators come up with better solutions for job creation or ending our economic slide?
Population has decreased by about 9,000 residents - or 6.4 percent - since 1990. Chautauqua County, with 1,550 employees, is now our county's No. 1 employer.
Maybe if county legislator representation is so important - like Croscut and outgoing legislator and soon to be Clerk of the Legislature Caflisch really believe - then we should add more part-time legislators.
If one legislator is having trouble representing 5,280 residents of our county, then maybe we should double our representation. Let's have 50 legislators - or one for every 2,640 county residents.
Our county taxes - or spending will not go down - but we will probably all feel better knowing there is another lawmaker listening to our concerns - even when they really do not want to make the tough decisions.
ON THE WEB
Read Publisher John D'Agostino's "In our neighborhood" blog that looks back at last week's State Legislative Breakfast, which was held by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. This latest blog deals with the question of school mergers.