People Generally Get What They Deserve In An Election

It was nearly 50 years ago when I sat on an election night at the Holiday Inn and watched the results as they came in. There were about a dozen adding machines being feverishly manhandled by volunteers to tally the sheets that were being ripped from the back of the Automatic Voting Machines citywide.

Large four foot by eight foot white boards had been strategically placed in one end of the hall so that everyone gathered could see the results as they were posted. That particular night I was seated at a table that included the then Chairman of the County Legislature Frank Bratt.

Frank was a farmer from Busti and was impeccably dressed, as usual, in his three-piece suit, shined shoes and a great tie that must have been given to him by one of the grandkids. His suit stands out in my mind as I look at some pictures of the current legislature and wonder why I don’t see that many suits or ties.

I was much younger then and had lots of questions on an election night. I asked Frank what he thought of the election as we watched the returns come in. He said something to me that I hear in my head every election night, “People generally get what they deserve in an election.”

There was nothing vitriolic in his tone of voice. He smiled and spoke with the same quiet assurance that I had heard him use while at the helm of the legislature. Civility in politics seems to have taken a back seat to the careless rhetoric we hear locally, regionally and nationally.

We have a President who condemns athletes for having the nerve to exercise their First Amendment rights. We have a Congressman who very seldom has one of his “town hall meetings” in the cities of Jamestown or Dunkirk in favor of the more rural areas where he hopes for a friendlier crowd and claims to be a bipartisan representative to the people of his district.

The chairman of the Republican Party and a county legislator goes out and collects signatures on nominating petitions for someone who is running against incumbent City Council member Marie Carrubba and collects signatures on the wrong side of Lovell Avenue, outside the ward, and that should make the petition invalid for lack of signatures from within the Fourth Ward. It went unnoticed at the Board of Elections and the time to challenge the petition has passed. Marie’s opponent should withdraw from the election for this blatant lack of signatures.

Even if he does, his name will still appear on the ballot. As for the District Eleven Legislator and Republican County Chairman who collected the signatures on the wrong side of the street, he too should withdraw from this election. In local politics the head of a given party should not appear on the ballot, know where the boundary lines are, and definitely not hold office.

The “Woodchuck Empire” in Mayville needs to find some balance and stop making sweetheart deals like the recent sale of the South County Office Building. What do you think the chances are that the County Executive will use the proceeds of the sale to balance his 2018 budget? Then there are the races for at-large seats on the City Council.

The loyal opposition has chosen to endorse two candidates who are using the playbook that proved to be a success for our current President in Washington. Everyone has heard the “dog whistles” that were used in the last national election. These two gentlemen claim that we can solve all of our problems by getting rid of the folks who don’t look like us, speak the same language, or have a different skin color. One, in particular, advocates more police and a crackdown on those who are different. The other seems to think that saving taxpayer dollars in the city of Jamestown through annexation is wrong. Whose interests will he serve if elected? Maybe he should be looking for a solution like annexing all of the municipalities that border the city. That just might eliminate duplication of services and save everyone money. Where do the municipalities that border the city get water, sewer and electric?

Some, if not all, get them at the same rate we pay in the city and we shoulder the costs of maintenance and repair. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. What they are not entitled to is their own version of the facts. If you boys are looking for the good old days, they’re gone

This November let’s get what we deserve. Get out and vote. Be the catalyst for the change you are looking for.

You only have until october 12th to register to vote in this years election!

Jim Walton is the current Chairman of the Jamestown Democratic Committee. He served in two administrations in Chautauqua County headed by the Honorable Joseph Gerace and Mark Thomas. He has lived in Jamestown since 1966 and has been active in Government, Public Service,and Community Organizations since his arrival. He is a former President of the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation (DJDC).