Final thoughts as election nears

Another silly season comes to a close Tuesday evening once the polls close and voters have decided on future leaders. No one is more relieved once it is over than those who are battling through tough races.

Our tip of the hat to all who have taken the risk of running for office.

However, a quick glance shows there is a large segment that are uncontested. In the north county alone – not counting the races for County Legislature – there are only four contested races.

These include: three people running for two Arkwright Town Board seats; two candidates running for Hanover town justice; three candidates running for two Pomfret Town Board seats; and two candidates seeking the post of Portland highway superintendent.

In all, there are 66 candidates running for 62 positions.

These positions in the towns and city of Dunkirk are not about running a democracy. Instead, it is about maintaining a failing system that has been in place for 200 years, and by today’s standards, out of date. Anyone else reading this using the Pony Express to communicate today? Of course not. We use cell phones, text messaging and the Internet.

Why can’t our governmental systems evolve and become more efficient for the 21st century as well?

Here are some other final thoughts before Election Day:

Most interesting county contest – The race for county clerk. Though no politics are apparently involved in running the office, few could deny the lack of it between Lori Cornell and Larry Barmore. Additionally, there is growing animosity between the two that was not as noticeable in the Legislature.

Clean campaign – Vince Horrigan and Ron Johnson have stuck to the issues for county executive. It’s been a fair fight without any smears.

Best prop – County Legislature candidate Michael Sullivan brought a toy camel equipped with baskets for straw sticks to illustrate our county’s plight in the debate Tuesday. Each time he mentioned higher taxes and a lack of cooperation, he added a straw to the baskets on the camel’s back. At the end of his time, enough straw added to the basket led to the camel’s back breaking.

Best campaign vehicle – Legislator candidate Susan Baldwin wins that in no contest.

No party favors – Current Legislator Bob Scudder can thank fellow Republicans, particularly Barmore, for his opponent incumbent William Coughlin. Despite excellent representation by both candidates to their constituents, one will be leaving the Legislature due to the downsizing and redistricting.

Divine int-IRV-ention – Former Channel 7 news anchor Irv Weinstein’s voice is unmistakable – and makes you take notice. Janet Keefe could ride the famous voice, heard endorsing her on radio ads, to a seat on the Legislature.

Point of no return? – County Executive Greg Edwards announced last April he would not seek a third term, but for some strange reason he looks and sounds as if he is still campaigning. If Horrigan was looking to separate himself from the current executive, recent actions by Edwards have not done him any favors.

The empty chair – Two of the three Pomfret Town Board candidates attended the debate at Fredonia village hall. Christopher Schaeffer had a nametag, but was not present. At the end of the debate, moderator Marcia Merrins asked candidates Brett Christy and John Sedota if they had any questions for each other. Both replied, “No, but I did have a question for Mr. Schaeffer.”

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to or call 366-3000, ext. 401.