News That Matters - December 6, 2013 - The We Can Do What We Want Edition

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Jeff Green

Dec 6, 2013, 9:05:30 AM12/6/13
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Good Friday Morning,

Within a few days, if they have not already, the Putnam County legislature will select a county legislator to represent the majority of the Town of Kent for the seat once held by outgoing legislator and Chair, Richard Othmer. It's not like they didn't know that Legislator Othmer was stepping down from his office: They knew last summer as did we, and certainly within enough time to have held an election for his seat. But they can't control the government if the public is allowed to select its own representation and so they'll do it for us and tell us that it's good.

From a political perspective, the handful of people who run this county must assure their control and so it's logical that they'd take this action. But from a moral perspective their actions undermine the very basis of our democracy and they'll do it with their eyes wide open and a chuckle and back-slaps all around and know that regardless the outcome they'll remain in power.

Will the person they select do a good job? Who knows? They haven't been vetted in an election. They didn't send out flyers or mailers, they didn't go door to door asking your permission and we simply do not know who they are. But we do know one thing: whoever is selected will owe their primary allegiance to the political machine that selected them - and not to you. You can be assured that the person selected will be of the local political class and unlikely to speak to power in your favor.

It's entirely possible this will all turn out just fine for you and me. But don't you think we should have had the choice? Don't you think that with the several months between Mr. Othmer's notice of intention and the last election there could have been an election to replace him? In a right world there would have been - but in Putnam County the powers-that-be would never give it a thought.

If you feel as I do that the actions of the County Legislature are an affront to democracy why not contact them and say so. It probably won't change anything, but at least they'll know they've been outed and are not taking this action in a vacuum: that you'll be watching and listening and your trust level in their ability to govern effectively has been further undermined by their own actions.

You can reach them here:

40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, New York 10512
(845) 808-1020
Fax (845) 808-1933

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