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Truth in numbers

November 16, 2011 - John D'Agostino
We all know there is dishonesty in politics — and it is easy to point the finger at those who are farther away from home.

But this corner is having trouble with the huge margin in the approval rate for downsizing the County Legislature and those legislators who refused — for years — to allow it to happen until a week ago.

Republican legislators, led by those who have been there for an extended period of time — Fred Croscut, Larry Barmore, Doug Richmond, Dick Babbage and Jay Gould — fought against the downsizing from 25 to 19 members time and time again.

Their rationale? Their constituents appreciated the abundance of representation on a county level.

Fortunately, the Conservative party became involved and told these legislators to win their endorsement, they needed to not only say they believe in smaller government, but then act on it.

Once these Republicans did that — by approving the referendum with the rest of the Legislature — the endorsements for those running contested races came.

The result of allowing the people to decide? Exactly what we — and all the legislators had been hearing for years. By a 74 percent margin — 87 percent to 13 percent — downsizing passed in a referendum vote.

Honesty may be the best policy. But elected leaders saying what they want us to hear is bad government and just plain dishonest. Nineteen legislators will bring more accountability and transparency to Chautauqua County government.

Maybe it also will force a little more of the truth from those who serve.


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