Beaten at the finish line

Pssst … I’ve got a hot tip for County Executive Greg Edwards and his year-long crusade to sell the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk.

Give it up already. Cease and desist. Twice you have gone neck and neck with Home advocates only to fizzle out in the stretch. Take the blinders off and see what’s going on before your very eyes.

You’re never going to win this horse race. The County Home seems to be under the protection of some fairy godmother – or more like it – godfather. It’s called something you know very well – in-your-face behind-the-scenes politics.

And the Home’s godfather has been known to sprinkle his fairy dust to cast a spell on a county legislator or two when the need arises. Do you really believe, Mr. Edwards, that falling one vote short for a super majority victory for your cause was not a given? Sounds like a bit of arm-twisting went on here as the entire fate of this skilled nursing facility came down to one vote – one legislator.

Still, you were not ready to give up the ghost so, hi-ho hi-ho, off you go to pull another rabbit out of your hat. This bunny’s game plan was to rescind the big, bad law which calls for a super majority vote of the legislature to sell off county property. A second grader could do the math here. Reduce the number of votes needed to sell the Home from a super majority 17 to a simple majority 13 and significantly increase your odds of winning. Since the previous vote was 16-9 in favor of selling CCH yet lacked that oh so critical 17th yea to garner the super majority, 13 nods your way would rescind the current law and replace super with simple. Another vote on the Home’s fate would then result in a “Sold” sign being planted on Temple Road – to your way of thinking anyway.

The race went down to the wire and you seemed to be pulling away, with the news flash that 13 legislators were on board to rescind the super majority requirement on county property sales. Did it cross your mind, Mr. Edwards, that only one legislator needed to change his or her mind and all your political shenanigans would go for naught? Did you really think that the fairy godfather would not be working his magic in time to thwart any backdoor efforts on your part to sell the Home? You proved to be no match, pulling up lame as you crossed the finish line in this political derby.

My late mother was in the County Home for only a very short time, but the priceless memory my daughter and I will carry with us for the rest of our lives is her 95th birthday celebration in the Charles Porpiglia Community Room, named in honor of a former longtime county legislator from Dunkirk.

Many, many families in Northern Chautauqua County have been touched by the County Home in some fashion or other. These people have long memories – and they vote.

Come election time, Mr. Edwards, we got your number, all bets are down and you are sure to be pegged as the odds-on longshot.

Mary Ann Herrington is an OBSERVER staff member. Comments may be sent to mherrington@observertoday.com