Now that the election is beginning to recede into memory, inquiring minds are wondering how Supervisor-elect Will Wadsworth will deal with the thorny issues surrounding the Newman PDD application. Although Will campaigned as a pro-Lowe’s advocate, he was remarkably quiet on the process issues of how to get there. About the most I recall him saying is that he wanted to, “trust the process,” whatever that means.
An early sign of just how much Will wants to trust the current personnel of the Planning Board will come when former Chairman John Zmich’s 7-year term expires on Dec. 31. One of the first orders of business at the town’s organizational meeting in early January will be to either re-appoint John for another 7 years or appoint a more Lowe’s-friendly replacement.
Zmich has butted heads with the current Supervisor over the Newman matter for the past two years. In his final statement before the election, Mr. Kennison accused John of taking more legal advice from Bill Lofquist than he did from the town’s attorneys. Judging from the biased legal advice that had been offered by Underberg and Kessler during most of last year, that seems like good judgment to me.
John’s removal from the chairmanship last January combined with the failure to reappoint Craig Macauley at the end of his term created much ill will that probably was a major factor in both Wes and Hop losing the Democratic endorsement. If Will follows suit by replacing John, it will be a bad sign for any hope for consensus or healing of the wounds that are still festering from this divisive battle.
There is, of course, an argument to be made that good government principles would preclude replacing a key board member in the middle of a long and complicated matter. However, when did good government ever get in the way of politics around here?
Even if Will was disposed to re-apppoint John, however, he might have trouble rounding up a third vote. The Triumvirate (from the Latin “of three men”) of Mike Tenalio, Hop and David certainly have the votes if they want to block the appointment and continue Wes’s hardball ways, but will they?
That will be an early sign of how much Mike has learned from the election results and how badly he wants to be re-elected in 723 days and counting.