Letter: We Deserve Candidates Who Offer More Than Condemnation

Having just returned from the candidate’s forum at Haldane I am compelled to take a moment and raise a few points regarding this election as well as share some of the experience with the residents who were unable to attend. I must admit that I have been a bit surprised by the level of mudslinging coming out of the “BOFA” campaign regarding current board members and the running of all the Village Boards.

All of the boards, Village Board included, are filled with residents making an effort to serve their community to the best of their ability. They do this while continuing to juggle all the other aspects of their lives. In the years of living here and attending village meetings there has been an undeniable and substantial shift in the manner village government interacts with its residents. Things are far more open and engaged than ever before which most would agree is a good thing. The processes of administrating and governing are in constant need of improvement, but this small village does a lot with little resources.

Although it is election season, sadly we are not having substantial discussions regarding the best manner to move the village forward and strategies to address both the present challenges and the coming ones. Rather than discuss the complexities of large development projects in small communities, or how to implement the substantial grants to improve Main Street, the discussions revolve around finger pointing and newspaper hype.

Instead of substantial plans of action from all the candidates we have instead two candidates who have teamed up to run a campaign based on accusations and fault-finding. I think it is a detriment to both village life and productive administration of village business to give any credibility to issues that BOFA chooses to raise as cause for their candidacy.

Here’s a few points from tonight to show we all need and deserve more than these candidates offer. Despite repeatedly mentioning civility and “working together,” BOFA has demonstrated an extensive ability to be derisive, and finger point while providing virtually no solutions to issues they tout as problems for the village. At tonight’s forum I personally asked them to provide actual steps they intended to take to address the issues facing the village — here is what was stated:

  • Put a document scanner into use at village clerk’s office
  • Install cameras into the courtroom
  • Use existing good relationships to work with other board members.

These are the only items they listed as points of action, when they have strongly criticized the handling of so many aspects of village governance.

Furthermore when another resident asked each candidate to explain what steps would be taken to address the village’s most pressing issues of sewer, water, and dams, the first response was to lambast the lack of action by the village. Only when directly challenged by an audience member to answer the question, did Michael Bowman say “form a committee,” and avoided explaining exactly how that would solve the issues.

Bowman also lamented that Cold Spring is not the village that he remembers from his childhood. As three decades have passed, there are very few places anywhere that resemble the places they were of 30 odd years ago. Actively touting “lived here all my life” as credential No. 1 of his door hanger is the outdated and divisive kind of rhetoric that I would hope to never come into play in an election. Just living in one place does not constitute a qualification for serving the broad constituency who live and pay taxes in this village. Choosing to advertise it as the top of the list of qualifications in your advertising media implies attitudes that have no place in our Village Board.

I believe board members who are looking to the future, not the past, best serve the village residents. Members who will rely on and utilize talents and expertise they have accrued through life experience to meet the challenges facing our village.

Lastly, accusing potential co-board members of unethical conduct over issues dismissed by the village attorney does little or nothing to foster good working relationships. How does someone who so readily slings allegations in an attempt for personal gain justify or even rationalize a claim that they will “work together?” And if Bowman winds up on the board with the people he accused of impropriety? How does his “good relationships” then further the village resident’s agenda?

Essentially all of this is to say that as residents we deserve and should demand better than this from our candidates. The time has come to move beyond these non-issues and empty rhetoric. We deserve candidates who are not quick to insult, and have more to offer than criticisms and condemnation. Our litmus for handling our taxes and guiding the village into the future should be much, much higher.

Thomas Ambrose
Cold Spring

4 thoughts on “Letter: We Deserve Candidates Who Offer More Than Condemnation

  1. Your comment policy clearly states: “Commenting using a civil tone is important. Personal attacks will not be accepted.” Does this also apply to letters? This clearly is an attack on Mr. Bowman. The supporters of the other camp have adopted a method of pulling comments out of context and using them as propaganda. They have become that which they accuse.

  2. This is the simply the best and most accurate analysis of this election and this slate of candidates by far. While some may not like these facts, it is unfair to simply call them attacks or propaganda without offering a reasoned and logical argument that disputes the merits. Otherwise it’s just a characterization without any basis. If one calls a pear an apple, it’s still a pear.

  3. I believe if you review the video you will see that Tom asked a completely different question than quoted here. Sounds to me that a certain group is twisting the facts. I urge all readers to please watch the video, or at least the last 20 minutes when Tom asked the question and was given a proper and educated response.

  4. “Put a document scanner into use at village clerk’s office, Install cameras into the courtroom, Use existing good relationships to work with other board members.” Yes, these are real points of action. In fact, all three candidates agreed on them during last year’s election and here we are still talking about them! The same goes for a Capital Projects Planning Committee that was put forth by all candidates last year, and again no action.