Politics is a dirty business


Every political entity, whether on a national or local level, has its movers and shakers as well as its detractors and destroyers — our city on the shores of Lake Erie is no different.

As I have watched much of what is happening in Washington this past week, I have found many similarities to what is happening here in Chautauqua County and especially here in the city of Dunkirk and village of Fredonia. Lines have been drawn based on purely political reasons; it is the Democrats vs. the Republicans and the residents and taxpayers be damned.

Village of Fredonia trustees played opossum and stayed away from a special meeting with the newly elected mayor out of nothing more than sour grapes promising a rocky road ahead.

In the city of Dunkirk, a re-elected council member joined forces with three newly elected council members on a purely political basis. They came in with a chain saw and took out three key members of the mayor’s cabinet because their preferred candidate was defeated in the last election for mayor. This action will not only take the mayor away from his efforts to continue bringing in businesses, industry expansions, jobs, and revenue through lake front development and encouraging visitors to our areas, but it will force him to handle many of the day to day human resource activities as well as be more hands on with many of the daily confidential administrative duties and legal issues. This bull in a china shop approach by the council will cost the taxpayers of this city, and services will suffer as a result.

In all cases, the elected officials promised to “work together” for the good of the community they were elected to serve — but while their promises were made their words were false.

We can follow the parallels between Washington and the Fredonia and Dunkirk political climate. Half-truths, hidden agendas, finger pointing, and us vs. them is the mantra of the day. When did our elected leaders become so “fork tongued?” When did we have a councilman sitting on our front porch visiting and having a cool drink in the afternoon one day to being a traitor to all they promised the next? When did we have trustees stand for the people of the village in October only to see them stand against its very progress the next? When did we see our senators in Washington call for witnesses to an impeachment trial to now denying witnesses? Politics! It all boils down to personal greed, fat bellies, and fatter egos.

Now let me close this diatribe by saying I don’t understand. I don’t understand the actions of those in Washington — why can’t they just sit down, look at the information before them, ask questions, get factual answers and then make a reasonable and fair decision that is in the best interest of the country? That seems sensible to me.

I don’t understand why a newly elected mayor cannot be given the courtesy of attending a special meeting or at least be given a phone call to discuss a possible different date? When a newly elected official promises to work with other elected officials, shouldn’t the other elected officials at least be willing to give him a chance without getting their backs up?

I don’t understand why a council member who has worked with a mayor and his cabinet for up to four years would suddenly turn colors and take a buzz saw to the mayor’s cabinet — could it be because he is afraid of losing his support from a few union members?

I don’t understand how three newly elected individuals who have no idea of the work that has been done and is currently being done in the City by three valuable cabinet members would just come in and terminate them — and do so without cause and without giving a reason. And moreover, I don’t understand how the re-elected councilman could join this group of individuals who don’t have a clue as to what is going on in the City. Especially after he sat in my living room and told me it wasn’t what he wanted to do, but was feeling pressure from outsiders to do so. Politics is a dirty business when the incumbent is governed by personal greed and ambition.

I don’t understand … what’s happening in Washington, what’s happened in Fredonia and certainly not what has happened in Dunkirk.

To all who were elected to serve those who voted for them, I leave you this from 1Peter 5:2-3,

“2 Be shepherds of Gods flock that is under your care, watching over them not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Winter has finally arrived, there is snow on the ground, and spring is just around the corner — that I understand!

Have a great day.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com