Catching Up on 1-6…and 12-14

I recall a conversation with a close friend, a Trumpist, before the election. I was concerned that if he lost he wouldn’t concede the presidency. My friend said that was ridiculous, of course he’d transition power, same as every other president. Is he still a supporter? It’s pointless to ask, I think I know the answer.

It’s sad and we can either despair or get to work and fight back. I’m lousy at despair. To me fighting back involves reaching out to the disaffected and demonstrating that democracy can work. Hence our little committee, and our occasional successes over the past few years.

We support pro-democracy candidates and encourage the community by demonstrating that our system of government is still worthy of support, not overthrow. Yes, it’s inefficient – the authoritarians in China can build a major hospital in a week and a high-speed rail line in a year. But they can also crush dissidents and send millions into concentration camps. Here we struggle to string high speed internet cable.

By working with the loyal opposition – not the irredeemables who won’t condemn an insurrection – we can effect change. An example is a bipartisan bill, sponsored by our Republican Assembly Member – Matt Simpson – who has a good rapport with our committee. The bill was recently signed by Gov. Hochul and it prohibits utilities to gouge internet providers for using utility poles. Matt spoke to us about this seemingly mundane problem at JWDC meeting. It’s not high-speed rail in a year, but it shows what can be done when we work together for shared goals.

At the town level, we helped elect candidates committed to bipartisanship and we’re already seeing results. We speak up when our own leaders fail us – such as the recent ballot questions.

At December’s meeting we learned that a founding member and secretary, Wally Walters, is resigning in order to assume the chair of the Au Sable River Association. Wally’s political skills and experience were instrumental in guiding the JWDC from the beginning and he was a dedicated secretary. Fortunately, Marie-Anne Ward stepped up to assume the secretary position. I think we’ll be ok and I think Wally would still be available as an emeritus advisor.

We nominated Knut Sauer to become an ECDC delegate in Wally’s place, and that’ll be voted on later this month. We had a long discussion on Jay’s recently passed town law regarding cannabis sale and consumption. There’s obviously a lot of confusion regarding the law. But it is subject to a permissive referendum, and I sent the petition to all JWDC members if they are interested in placing the law on the November ballot.

Our next meeting is January 10, via Zoom.