Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Election May Be Over...

... But the issues remain, on both sides.

During the recent election, I was closely tracking the race for the seat on Sussex County Council that serves my area. After a squeaky close race, challenger Jud Bennett conceded to incumbent Lynn Rogers. Last week, Jud published a letter to the editor thanking his supporters, suggesting that he may be back, and outlining his immediate plans: going fishing.

Maybe the fish weren't biting. This week, Jud is back in the paper with a letter critical of the County Council on the issue he made the main focus of his campaign: development. What's wonderful, as an observer, is that Jud's letter this week immediately follows Lynn's "thank you" on the Cape Gazette Letters to the Editor page.

Lynn Rogers is a very nice man. He is a business leader and a leader in the local volunteer fire company and a true gentleman, from all that I have observed.

His letter to the editor ("Thanks to Sussex Countians for support") is a fairly well-written thank you, with appropriate credit to supporters:
I would like to thank all the people who worked hard in my re-election over the last several moths. Your hard work and kindness will be ingrained in my heart and memory for the rest of my life.

He reflects on the wonder of our democracy:
Our democratic process has proven to be still functioning after 200 years. Many times during an election people get the attitude that one vote will not make a difference. I believe my race has confirmed that every vote counts, that the majority rules and that your voice can be heard.

And he looks towards the future:

I am committed to following the laws of the land, continuing to improve the quality of life for Sussex Countians and protecting your property rights. While we may have many tough decisions to make in up coming years, it is time for all Sussex Countians to join together and work towards a better future.
Immediately following this is a letter from Jud Bennett ("County council is paving over Sussex") in which he takes County Council to task for approving a rezoning of the old Three Seasons Campground [PDF] to high-density, with duplex units and townhouse units. Ironically, Lynn Rogers recused himself from the vote, one of the engineers for the project having solicited campaign contributions for Rogers in the recent election.

Bennett argues that the Council should have followed the recommendation of the Planning Commission and kept the property zoned for single-family homes:
This is what the existing AR 1 zoning permitted and this is only what should have been allowed. The Council however chose to permit a zoning change which allows the maximum coverage of this property and the maximum profit for the developers.
He goes a step further and the barbs come out:
We cannot blame the developers because they are in business to make as much money as possible and move on to the next enterprise. We can only blame the elected officials who allow these abominations. Soon you will see a Lynn Rogers sign advertising the development and see the Tyvec application advertising Dukes Lumber covering the buildings. It is "business as usual."
Things are heating up here in eastern Sussex County. Issues do remain.

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