2009-09-17 / Letters to the Editor

Jamestowners vote person, not party

I was disappointed to read Mr. Rebecchi’s letter of ‘clarification’ in the Aug. 20 Jamestown Press.

In his letter, he claims that the decision to move Jamestown’s elections from odd to even years was proposed by Council President DiGiando and not supported by the Charter Review Committee. In actuality, the suggestion for the election change came from the Jamestown Board of Canvassers and the State Board of Elections.

The reasons cited were irrefutable. Turnout is substantially larger for the state/national elections. The average voter turnout from 1990-2008 is 71.3 percent for general elections vs. 39.5 percent for town elections. Furthermore, in the event a primary is needed for a separate Jamestown election, the current projected cost stands at $10,395.

The Charter Review Committee responsively discussed the issue and came to a consensus (as the Committee did on every issue we examined) that any decision should be left to the Town Council with the final decision made by the voters. It is also important to note that the charter review took place last winter when every city, town and state was reeling from the fi- nancial meltdown of last fall. Fiscal prudence, wherever possible, was a priority that contributed to Jamestown having a 0 percent tax increase.

Mr. Rebecchi suggests that the real reason for the change is so the Democrats can dominate Jamestown

elections. I think that supposition is absurd, as well as insulting

to the voters of Jamestown. I truly believe the town’s electorate has historically demonstrated enough savvy to vote for the person – not the party. It is one of the hallmarks of Jamestown’s political sensibilities.

Mr. Rebecchi contends that dedicated straight-ticket voters unfairly favor one party over another. That supposition does not hold up to the actual numbers in the 2008 general election. Of 3,707 total ballots cast, 413 voted straight Democrat and 253 straight Republican. That leaves 3,041 (89 percent) that made a multi-party choice.

I believe that candidates get elected in Jamestown based upon trust - and the expectation - that they will be fair, factual and aspire to do what’s right for the entire island.

I think it is that simple.
David J. Long
Chairman
Jamestown Charter Review
Committee

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