Friday, July 23, 2010

Local Politics: The Gloves? They Are Off

My neighbors here in the Lewes area will probably already have seen this, but for the rest of you, who maybe don't habitually follow Sussex County politics, here's an interesting moment and reaction from our County Council this week.

As Cape Gazette reporter Ron MacArthur wrote in his On the Circle blog, a Lewes woman had a bit of a run-in with some of the council members at their weekly meeting on Tuesday. Dixie Boucher, an active citizen, had come before Council to try to find out the status of proposed changes to the manufactured housing codes that she helped to write.
[She] blasted county council in one of the most tersely worded criticisms I’ve heard recently. She used words and phrases like “total lack of concern,” “abhorrent” and “detrimental” in her dissertation on the ills of county government.
Mr. MacArthur's post title -- "Just answer her question" -- tells the story. They didn't answer, apparently. Instead, Council member Sam Wilson (pictured above), never afraid to say what he's thinking, blasted her back.

Ron MacArthur doesn't give many details, but you get a pretty good sense of what must have been said from a letter to the editor from Ms Boucher that appeared in today's edition of the Gazette.

Her letter is titled "Everybody came here from somewhere." I include it below because the letters to the Cape Gazette don't get their own pages, or persistent URLs, on the paper's web site.
I often hear grumbling when, as “locals” call us,” transplants “ speak up with regards to issues affecting the county as well as the state. It is as if we do not exist.  We, appear to have no rights, and according to a statement by Councilman Sam Wilson at a recent council meeting, “People come here and they want more services and more government. I tell them to go home and then they come back and be glad to live in Sussex County.”
No surprise, but once again Mr. Wilson, you could not be more wrong. We “transplants” in most cases aren’t looking for more government; we just want the government, like your Sussex County Council, to be responsible in its conduct of county business. We want the council to hear what all the citizens say and want for Sussex County. And we want you and the other council members, Vance Phillips and Michael Vincent, to understand that an awful lot of the voters in this county, “locals and transplants alike,” are fed up with your “good old boy” attitude. It is not cute and it is not quaint and it is not good for Sussex County.
And by the way, I dislike the term “transplant.” We are citizens of this county and we pay taxes and spend our money and should have the same rights as “locals” do. Everybody, transplants and locals alike, came from somewhere. You didn’t just grow out of the dirt, did you?  And the reason you hear more from the eastern side of the county is because that is where most of the development is occurring, thanks to those who continue to approve it regardless of concerns about the effects.
Frankly, if the three primarily western council members are removed, it would be a blessing to the entire county and that is in reference to Sam Wilson, Vance Phillips and Michael Vincent. You all need to go.
I guess Sam Wilson isn't the only one around here willing to speak their mind.

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