By Dale A. Burk, Stevensville
The receipt of my mail-in ballot for the 2013 Stevensville town election this past week spurred me, as I’m sure it has many of my fellow citizens, to more carefully examine what has been and is going on in regard to politics in our community. In doing so, I was reminded of the phrase attributed to Tip O’Neill, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives that, ultimately, “All politics are local…” What we see, hear and do in regard to the notion of “being governed” at any level ultimately begins with what we experience at the local level.
This truism, and it is a truism, is readily apparent in the politics of our town this year. Conflicting factions vie for our favor, and as is normal we are led, or misled in some instances, to believe certain things. We get forthrightness in some instances. In others we are fed information that is questionable at best and patently false at the worst, but then misrepresentation of oneself in the political arena is as old as politics itself.
Let me give an example of this latter point. One candidate for mayor, a former council member, Clayton Floyd, in his campaign literature and ads, is blaming the current mayor for our high water and sewer rates when it was Floyd and his henchman (henchwoman?), Robin Holcomb, a candidate for re-election to the town council, along with other council members at the time the high rates were established. Floyd and Holcomb, and the other council members at the time, gave us those rates. Now, they have the audacity to promise us they’ll “take every action to REDUCE water and sewer rates” while ignoring the fact that they are the reason we have those high rates. And they want us to put them back into power! They also, to their convenience it seems, overlook the fact that the incumbent mayor HAS accomplished something positive in mitigating the impact of those rates during his tenure, and for that fact alone deserves re-election.
Floyd has also claimed that Mayor Mim Mack violated the policy that any elected official must be a resident of the town because, for a time, he maintained a residence outside the town limits. Yes, Mim Mack did that. But before he did, he sought and received from the council approval for that temporary out-of-town residence for the explicit purpose of allowing his wife to recover from surgery in a home more suitable for that purpose than their residence in town. Never mind that the Mim Macks did retain their residence in town and were back in it later. But even after being informed of the facts in this case, particularly that the council had properly okayed this request, Floyd continued his diatribe in a campaign ad run just a week ago, insisting that Mim Mack “must vacate” his office. I find Mr. Floyd’s stand on this particular issue a cheap shot that is both misleading and heartless! And, I might add, a position that reveals a deep character flaw of insensitiveness and nastiness in Mr. Floyd. In my mind, the moral high ground in this case and every other issue raised by Floyd rests with Mayor Mim Mack.
In this regard, I could go on with a long list of accomplishments of Mayor Mim Mack – positive accomplishments for us and our town. However, they’ve been enumerated on these pages before by many others in Stevensville who realize that Gene Mim Mack has been a blessing to our town. He has dealt, steadily, with our problems. He has communicated clearly. He has acted in good faith and openness – and most of all he has never misrepresented himself or the issues at hand. That’s a claim his opponent, or his opponent’s supporters for that matter, can’t make. Nor can any of his detractors deny it has been he, and not them, that has worked hard to bring this community together over the past couple of years so that the stage is set for us to accomplish even more on behalf of this wonderful town.
For me, the choice of who to choose for mayor, and the town council for that matter, was easy. Go with the good and deny access to power to those who created our problems in the first place and who misrepresent the facts now. Vote for Gene Mim Mack for Mayor, and those town council candidates who support the same values, Paul Courteau and Paul Ludington. Do what’s best, and right, for our town.