Newsmaker of the month: Reveling in the mundane battles
So this is where local governments that are supposed to look out for the best interests of its constituents become heavy handed. Instead of looking at the significant issues — such as the continuing water problems in the village of Fredonia, or the drying up of revenues from state aid to assist in the closing of the NRG power plant in Dunkirk — it’s the mundane stuff that is grabbing all the attention.
Well why not? It is easier for local elected officials to sweat the small stuff than take on tough decisions.
Fredonia, for its part, is caught up in dictating fees to users — specifically in the food trucks. Within the last four years, the fee was put in place to balance some of the competition between longtime eateries in the village and those making a road trip for a day or two to see some revenues.
From the looks of the battles between Mayor Douglas Essek and Trustee James Lynden, it’s become more of a personal battle than a contest over what is right.
Add to that, the village code enforcement officer thought it was proper to reprimand residents to shovel the walkways in front of their home. When asked about the village sidewalk plow — purchased by taxpayer dollars — the response was insulting. They use that only if there is enough staff available.
How convenient, especially with those same property owners paying high taxes on top of ridiculous water and sewer rates in a village with a $10 million budget.
It is just as eye-rolling in Dunkirk as earlier this month another petty 3-2 decision was made by Common Council that stole the attention. In a sense, the vote announced: Let’s shut down a car show because we’re not exactly sure that is the element we want in the parks. But, by the way, another car show can stay at Point Gratiot because we like that group.
Nothing discriminatory about that, especially when you do not reach out to the group who is asking to use the city land.
“It was kind of a slap in the face, because they didn’t give us an explanation,” said Lowringer Car Club member Joe Colon. “They didn’t even let us explain ourselves to them, they just saw ‘car show’ and they denied us. Instead of saying ‘no,’ they could have tabled it and talked to us first.”
Let’s remember, for those of you collecting a paycheck for part-time local representation, your job is to work for the community — not against certain members. There are bigger issues than these that need to be addressed, such as runaway spending and delivering services without excuses.