To the Editor:
The 2022 General Election here in Surf City is in the books. We thank the more than 300 voters who gave their votes and their trust to each of us.
We did not win this time and the incumbents will return to their seats for yet another term. We wish them well and, in turn, hope for the best for all of us. We challenge them to properly support our fire and EMS service, take aggressive and forward-thinking steps to control annual flooding problems and harden our infrastructure. We challenge them to spend to fix problems, not overtax us to grow a surplus and simply sit on the funds. We challenge them to be aggressive in their search for available state and federal funding to support this process. “Doing it the way that we have always done it” is unacceptable.
We appreciate that they have already adopted some of our ideas to make borough government more transparent, including the online posting of agendas, but lament the fact that the council has not posted email addresses for all members and remains, essentially, unaccountable to the ongoing concerns of citizens between monthly council meetings. And no one, except those folks who winter here, will ever see a council meeting. Business will still be conducted without a video record and in the dark.
We challenge our council to maintain the highest ethical standards and place the public good above personal business opportunities. Before acting – or failing to act – we ask that they think about what the quality of daily life in Surf City means to all of us. And there must be no more residential construction on the Boulevard.
Could we have been better candidates? Yes. But many of you, as voters, must be better as well. We challenge you to think outside of the standard Republican/Democrat boxes that local partisan elections create. Too many people simply vote for their party and not their local interests. They fail to consider that local elections have nothing to do with party affiliation. Deciding if we as a community should buy an ambulance or buy a property to improve public recreation space is not a red/blue issue. It’s a “who has the best independent judgment” issue.
If you insist upon a “Republican” council, we challenge you to run candidates against the incumbent mayor and council in the 2023 Republican primary to breathe some fresh air into our local elections. The only viable way onto the ballot here in Surf City is to run as a Democrat or actually force the Republican Party to consider candidates who are not related to or hand selected by our mayor. Only you can make that happen.
We were surprised that the first contested council election in many years went largely unreported by The SandPaper. Additionally, we have raised several very important issues during the campaign that could have been the focus of reporting: the recently published financial records and audits and the oft-repeated claim that “Surf City has no debt.” We suggest that these issues, reflecting a lack of transparency, need to be examined. If the council continues on their path of needing to be pushed to let us know what they’re doing, then who better to shine a light on the processes than the fourth estate?
Next summer, the primary elections will decide who will run for mayor and for two three-year council seats. We look forward to that challenge and encourage you to join us. We need fresh and independent voices. The conversation continues …
Lydia and John “Jack” Bashwiner