‘Enemies’ are unhappy voters
If you ask your Chautauqua County legislator to speak about their accomplishments, normally you will get a discussion about issues. What you will not get is an answer.
That is because the County Legislature can barely speak to any action that has helped boost the county in terms of jobs and businesses in recent years.
One of the accomplishments they may have been able to point to, if they had listened to their constituents, was downsizing the Legislature. But the legislators, especially those who served for a long time, could not downsize for themselves due to the fear they could be out of a job.
So legislators called for a referendum vote in case their ears were deceiving them.
In 2011, residents sent a message – loud and clear. By a margin of 87 percent to 13 percent, voters backed a plan to downsize the 25-member County Legislature to 19.
Do you hear us now, Mayville?
But voting “no” on downsizing was never about the constituents. It was about keeping a job or a hobby.
Already through a primary vote, there has been one casualty. Legislator Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, who had served his district well nearly two decades was defeated by David Himelein on Tuesday. Croscut was gracious in the loss and he deserves some praise for his service.
“I wish Dave the best,” Croscut said. “We had a good race. After 16 years, you win some friends and you get some enemies.”
But Croscut never really embraced the downsizing, which may have been the fatal flaw. He, as we recall, is not the only one who had his doubts about the reduction. Those others, who fought downsizing, include Larry Barmore, Jay Gould and – of all people – Himelein.
Legislators’ efforts to squash the downsizing was a waste of time and smacked of arrogance. Some voters may forget. Others, however, may not be as forgiving.