EDITORIAL: Time for a New Team
A CAPE CHARLES WAVE EDITORIAL
May 5, 2014
Although the ballot for Tuesday’s municipal elections in Cape Charles contains eight names, deciding whom to vote for is not as complicated as it might appear. There are really only two teams – the old team and the new team. All a voter has to decide is whether to keep the old team or elect the new team.
True, of the eight candidates, only two of them are running for re-election: Town Council members Chris Bannon and Joan Natali. They form half of the old team. The other half is composed of George Proto for mayor and Charles “Sambo” Brown for Council. But the only reason those two are running is because the Sullivans, Dora and Mike, decided not to run.
While it can be argued that Mr. Proto and Mr. Brown have very different styles from Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, it is a certainty that neither of them would have run against the Sullivans. They are, in fact, Mayor Sullivan’s hand-picked successors.
The new team is a very different story: each of the four candidates is running because they are alarmed by the direction the old team is taking the town. Understanding that in a democracy the only sure way to effect change is at the ballot box, they are opposing the incumbents and their designated successors.
The new team is Frank Wendell for mayor and Deborah Bender, David Gay, and Lynn Mitchell-Fields for Council. Each has his or her own ideas, but on the over-arching issues they agree: town spending is out of control, as are town utility bills. The town is borrowing like there is no tomorrow, and a number of full-time residents who work here for a living are moving out of town to avoid the extortive water bills and high taxes.
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Meanwhile, the old team is in denial: they believe that things have never been better, and give themselves the credit. But the renaissance that Cape Charles has enjoyed over the past 20 years is not due to the current tax-and-spend policies. We hope voters will remember that last year when property values fell 36 percent, and Town Council voted to raise the tax rate even higher than 36 percent, Vice Mayor Chris Bannon voted NO. Why? Because he wanted an even higher tax rate!
Voters need not worry that the new team would gut the town. Far from it. But we like Frank Wendell’s phrase: “Together we should strive to reduce spending where we can and spend wisely where we must.” Cape Charles government needs that kind of attitude, and will find it only on the new team.
We observed yesterday how fortunate our town is to have a robust list of candidates: two choices for each of the four offices. Meanwhile, in Cheriton there are only five candidates for six seats and in Nassawadox four candidates for six seats. We hope that Cape Charles voters will turn out in force to take advantage of the real choice they have between the old team and the new team.
And may the best team win!