The editorial staff of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle gave the Sweden Democrats a “Thumbs Up” in today’s paper. Every Saturday, the D&C published a Thumbs up, thumbs down, Cheers and jeers from the editorial staff column on the editorial page of the newspaper. In today’s paper, the D&C’s editorial staff gave a backhanded compliment to the Democrats in the Town of Sweden.
The thumbs up and thumbs down can be about anything. In today’s paper the editorial staff gave a thumbs down to another poor turnout at the polls in Tuesday’s election; a thumbs down for all the uncontested races in Tuesday’s election; a thumbs down for racial slurs allegedly yelled at a soccer team during the Section V boys soccer championship, and a thumbs down for incorrectly installed car seats.
The editorial staff gave a thumbs up to the three toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum; a thumbs up for the honorees at the annual Human Service Worker of the Year Luncheon; and a thumbs up for the record-setting warm temperatures we’ve had lately.
But there was also a thumbs up in the section on all the uncontested races in Tuesday’s election. Here’s what the D&C’s editorial staff wrote.
Thumbs down: To the Democratic and Republican parties, for the lack of competitive races across Monroe County. Except for countywide races, Republicans were missing from city ballots. And in many suburban contests, Democratic candidates were just as scare. If Democrats in the town of Sweden could mount competitive races, why not in the rest of the suburbs?
If Democrats in the town of Sweden could mount competitive races, why not in the rest of the suburbs?
This year, for the first time in anyone’s memory, the Republicans in the town of Sweden did not run unopposed. The Democrats in Sweden ran candidates for all three vacant positions on the Town Council: Town Supervisor and two Town Councilor seats. That’s why the Sweden Democrats got a thumbs up from the D&C.
The Democrats won both races to the Town Council. But since the Republicans won a narrow victory in the race for Supervisor, they will hold a 3-2 Majority on the Town Council. The Republicans had done everything humanly possible to lose all three races. They had broken the tax cap and raised town taxes by 5.09%. They had tried to close the Sweden Senior Center. They had thrown the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps under the bus in favor of a for-profit ambulance company, and they had given themselves pay raises that exceeded the tax cap.
But some registered Republicans in the town of Sweden voted the party line anyway, despite the obvious incompetence and corruption of the Sweden Town government. That is a disgrace, but that’s the way it is.
In February 2014, the New York State’s Committee on Open Government said that the Sweden Town Council violated the NYS Open Meetings Law during their January 28th meeting. But some Republicans didn’t think that was important, so they voted for the incumbent Town Supervisor anyway because he is a Republican.
In February 2015, the New York State Comptroller’s Office issued a damning report on the financial practices of the Sweden Town Court. In the Comptroller’s Audit of the Sweden Town Court, the Comptroller’s Office chewed the Town Council’s backside for gross management of the Sweden Town Court. The auditors wrote that, “The Town of Sweden (Town) is located in Monroe County and is governed by an elected Town Board (Board) consisting of the Town Supervisor (Supervisor) and four Board members. The Board has the overall responsibility for overseeing the financial activities of the Town, including the Justice Court.”
But Supervisor Rob Carges denied any responsibility, and told the Suburban News, the exact opposite. “The court is kind of its own entity,… Towns are not supposed to be involved; oversight of the court itself is not the town’s duty.”
Rob Carges was dead wrong about that, but enough Sweden Republicans either forgot about the State Comptroller’s criticism or chose to ignore it. The situation is no different from the situation in Chicago where the corrupt Daily administration was re-elected time and time again despite national headlines about how corrupt the Daily administration was. Some people, even well respected local Republicans, just don’t have the moral courage to vote against the party line.
Maybe the editorial staff of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle should have given a Thumbs down to all the people who vote the party line no matter what. And that goes for Democrats and Republicans alike.