The newly formed Cape Charles Historic District Civic League held their Candidates’ Night this Thursday. The event included Adam Charney and Tim McLatchy competing for Mayor, and for Town Council Kenneth Butta, Paul Grossman, Tammy Holloway, and Ellen O’Brien.
This writer remembers years ago talking with then County Supervisor Spencer Murray after the 2015 zoning fight (fiasco), and he said, “Wayne, government should be boring.” If that is true, than this evening did not disappoint.
Let’s face it, do you really want Dangerous Dan and Bombastic Betty at the helm? Not really. You want Dull Darrell and Tedious Tina. One rule of local government is that it should be slow–the turtle always wins the race. Small towns will always be constrained by finances, as well as staff ability and availability. The ability to prioritize, while not sexiest skill, is the most important.
Cape Charles is fortunate in that it has a good group to choose from, and one thing they all seem to have in common is that they all care about the town (the road to hell is paved with good intentions so be careful what you wish for).
The term homogenization comes to mind.
They all seem very similar, and the only real tension came from the new candidates inferring that the old candidates were lazy and out of touch, and old candidates inferring the the newbies were even more out of touch and ignorant of what the town’s priorities really are. It was all nauseatingly friendly and polite though. Essentially, it will come down to a popularity contest–do you prefer battle-tested experience, or do you want all new blood and a fresh start.
The theme that seemed to gather the most traction was that tourism and Airbnb short-term rentals were bringing in a bad element, and that it was destroying the feel of the town. This writer actually said this back in the early 2000s, but whatever. The town spent years and all of its effort to turn Cape Charles into a tourist destination, and now you have it. Did you really think featuring Cape Charles on all of those dumb HGTV shows was going to be a good thing?
It’s almost impossible to put the genie back in the bottle.
Money, and how the town is going to pay for all of its toys, such as the new municipal building allowed candidates to offer several versions of the same non-answer. Mayoral candidate Tim McLatchy did manage to really step in it when he admitted he would sell off the water and wastewater plants as a means to generate cash (probably should not have said that out loud). Oh, and as far as generating revenue, Council candidate Ellen O’Brien really stepped in it when she suggested charging non-Cape Charles residents to park on Mason and at the beach. So, if you live in Cheriton, you will have to pay to go to the beach? Girl, you best rethink that strategy.
There was some drooling blather about workforce housing and a lukewarm effort to try and convince themselves and everyone else that Cape Charles was somehow historic, but it all kind of spun into a great ball of nothingness.
The Mirror does not endorse candidates (so take this with a grain of salt), however, voters should note that Paul Grossman has brought a high-level of meticulous analysis to the job that council has not seen before and probably never will again. Grossman has never met a report or spreadsheet that he didn’t want to pour over for hours (he has a preternatural ability to find the most minute errors), and he has never met a board or committee that he has not wanted to serve on. He also gets that the town is part of Northampton County, and that the relationship needs to be better. Tammy Holloway has been an integral and fundamental, common sense element of the town for several years now. The short answer forum did not begin to illuminate her work over the last few years.
The Cape Charles Rotary Club will be sponsoring the next Candidates’ Forum on October 19, 2022, and it will be streamed to the Town’s Facebook page.
Town Elections will be held on November 8, 2022.
So it goes.