As Cobleskill developer Mark Nadeau apparently announced his mayoral candidacy last week via t-shirt, I began seriously wondering if it wasn’t time for Cobleskill to return to two-year terms of office. It’s not that Cobleskill has had an especially bad run of non-credible candidates over the past few years, it’s that Cobleskill actually votes for them. Then, once they reveal themselves to be, oh I don’t know, pathological liars bent on personal vendettas, the voters are stuck with them for four long years.
With Trustee Bob LaPietra, Cobleskill has essentially been saddled with an absentee slumlord, an admitted liar and a brazen lawbreaker whose word clearly can not be trusted. Did voters adequately consider these potential character flaws when they elected him trustee? Maybe not, or maybe they just gave the guy the benefit of the doubt. Either way, the voters now have no recourse but to put up with him until 2012 when he will again face the voters.
Part of me wants to simply sit back and enjoy these candidates for their entertainment value. However, there’s actually a lot of damage they can do. Just consider the fact that if three of five of the current trustees had their way, there wouldn’t even be a village left to speak of. As it is now, the village is dangerously close to being dissolved despite not having sufficiently studied the move, and despite the fact that the studies that have been done actually show that Cobleskill might be better off becoming a city. This November there will be a referendum on the village ballot on the question of dissolution, not incorporation as a city. Will voters fully appreciate the consequences of voting for this, or will they be told that they are merely voting for ‘consolidation and shared services’, everybody’s favorite new buzz words? If LaPietra’s demonstrated ability to lie to voters during a campaign is any indication, this will be an interesting election.
In his short time in office, LaPietra has attempted to gut the village Department of Planning, Environment and Codes and charges residents a $25 filing fee for codes complaints. This man seems to be out to single-handedly dismantle the village of Cobleskill, and if possible, to do so from his winter home in Punta Gorda, Florida. Because of their poor choices, Cobleskill’s voters may not have a chance in four years to correct themselves.
Assuming the village isn’t dissolved any time soon, voters ought to have an escape clause when they get stuck with maniacs like this. Each village official should serve only two year terms. I’m all for bringing additional voices to the table and choosing from a variety of bold and innovative ideas and characters. But for cryin’ out loud, can we please vet these candidates with a little more scrutiny, or barring that, at least have the option of voting them out after two years once they’ve shown us their true colors?