The election in the Town of Sweden is three months away, but it is already making news. There is an interesting article about the upcoming Town of Sweden election on page 8A of the Saturday edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
The article, by Meaghan McDermott, is about how there is going to be a real election in the Town of Sweden for the first time in decades. The Sweden Town Council has been a one-party Republican dominated affair for years and years.
In the election on November 3, the Town Supervisor and two seats on the Town Council are on the ballot. The winners of the Town Council election will each serve a 4-year term, and winner of the Town Supervisor election will serve a 2-year term.
But this year, things are different. The Democrats are running a Campaign for Change, and the idea is to bring a fresh approach to government in the Town of Sweden.
The three Campaign for Change candidates are: Annie Crane – Town Supervisor, Mary Rich – Town Council, and Lori Skoog – Town Council. Their timing might be perfect, because there have been so many scandals involving the Town of Sweden government recently that people are fed up with the shenanigans in town hall.
Meaghan McDermott points that out in her article, but then she hedges her bets by saying, “There are just over 6,000 registered voters in Sweden, and Republicans have a significant enrollment advantage. There are 2,235 Republicans to 1,686 Democrats.”
But she didn’t mention some key factors in the upcoming election. It is true that the 2,225 registered Republicans make up 37.19% of the voters in the Town of Sweden, and the 1,686 Democrats make up 28.19% of the voters.
But it is also thru that there are 1,526 registered voters who list their voter registration as No Party. They are known in election circles as Blanks, and they are one of the keys to this election, because the Democrats and the Blanks combined form 53.69% of the voters in the town.
Another key factor in the town election is that many of the registered voters in the Village of Brockport don’t realize that they’re eligible to vote in the town election. Just as the Town of Sweden is part of Monroe County, the Village of Brockport is part of the Town of Sweden. So, just as town residents can vote in the county election, village residents can vote in the town election.
One way to overcome this misconception is for Annie Crane, Mary Rich and Lori Skoog to run a door-to-door campaign and speak to every registered voter in the village. A good solid door-to-door campaign could make that fact clear to voters in the village, and get the village residents out to vote.
If Crane, Rich and Skoog run door-to-door campaign and speak to every registered voter in the town, they have an excellent chance of attracting votes from many registered Republicans. The incumbent Sweden Republicans have alienated everyone from senior citizens to the members of the volunteer ambulance corps. That is the political situation in the Town of Sweden this year.
The Sweden Republicans, led by incumbent Supervisor Rob Carges and incumbent town council member Don Roberts have alienated so many people in the town that even life-long Republicans are fed up. If the Democrats play their cards right, they can swing those votes and win the election.
Meaghan McDermott described the series of scandals in the Town of Sweden as, “a confluence of issues: dissatisfaction over property tax assessments; the town’s refusal to grant a tax break package for a distressed property in the Village of Brockport, which quashed redevelopment plans; a recent state Comptroller’s audit of the town court that criticized town leaders for poor financial oversight; and last year’s budget process where Sweden officials not only increased taxes above the limit of the state’s tax cap, but also granted themselves raises in the process.”
She also wrote that, “Skoog, a retired art teacher who led a community effort last year to revitalize the Sweden Senior Center after town leaders cut the facility’s hours of operation and considered closing the site.” After leading the fight to save the Sweden Senior Center, Lori Skoog should draw the votes of some senior citizens away from the Republicans.
But she didn’t have space to mention that the town threw the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps under the bus by giving the ambulance contract to Monroe Ambulance, a for-profit ambulance company. If the Town Council doesn’t change that decision by next week, they will have to answer for their actions in November.
One of the signs supporting the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps reads, “I want & vote for Brockport Ambulance.” The words on the sign show that the writing is on the wall.
The Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BVAC) is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation, so they cannot support political candidates. But the people who support the volunteers of the BVAC vote, and the odds are they won’t vote for the politicians who threw the Ambulance Corps under the bus.
Meaghan McDermott didn’t have space to mention that the town court was so badly managed that in 2009 and 2010 it processed less than half of the parking tickets written by the Brockport Police Department. The missing 1,741 unprocessed parking tickets were found in a cardboard box under the desk of a court clerk.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The village formed a Village Court, and the town budget took a huge financial hit because the town lost all the revenue from the traffic tickets written by the Brockport Police Department. Now the Town of Sweden stands to lose between $80,000 to $100,000 of income every year, because the Sweden Town Court was so badly managed.
Meaghan McDermott didn’t have space to mention that former Town Supervisor Buddy Lester was convicted of not filing his income taxes, and forced to resign. But then was hired as the Deputy Town Attorney anyway. She also didn’t have space to mention the sex scandal involving Council-woman Danielle Windus-Cook and a town employee.
But McDermott could not have mentioned all the scandals in the Town of Sweden. There have been too many scandals, and they seem to keep coming one after another: including an intoxicated judge and the rampant nepotism where everybody in the Town of Sweden government seems to be related to everybody else.
Maybe all that will change after the election in November. It’s up to the voters to decide.