LETTER: Local elections matter

Nov. 12, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

Since taking control of the Lee BOC and the House 51 seat, the GOP has shown its colors. Its officials have talked down to voters on the issue of fracking [and] bullied elected local boards ... and meddled in local elections. The GOP’s reliance on litmus tests written by national conservative media hosts (abhor RINOs) has resulted in the most ideologically committed leaders and candidates, sure, but not the brightest. Its response to the bond issues was weak and unbalanced. Its abdication of the mayoral and Ward 3 races were mistakes. The ad/mailer failed in every conceivable way, and the GOP leadership was either absent (Staley) or silent (Smith) on the question of its defense.

Whether or not Charles Staley resigns, the trajectory of the GOP is fixed, I believe, until the true leaders of the GOP are repudiated as soundly as the entire slate of GOP candidates and issues this year. Mike Stone wanted partisan elections; well, he got them. If national and state Tea Party members are any indicator, the Lee GOP will simply double down on the conservative rhetoric and personal attacks in the coming months. Elections are the only way to stop them.

The lesson of 2013 for voters seems clear: local elections matter. If we do not continue to choose competent, capable leaders for local offices, then we will be stuck with the remainder, who will not be vetted by the GOP for any qualification which matters. Put another way, if the GOP will sponsor Bill Oberkirsch, who was continually, visibly perplexed upon the question of governance, then it will sponsor anyone.

Jay Calendine

Lee County