Thank you to the NT Common Council for publicizing the names of six people who applied and interviewed for the additional Alderman at Large position. We appreciate the attempt at transparency although more notice should be given to citizens in the future so that our input might be offered before the final choice is made.
A letter to the editor appearing in the February 4-10 edition of the Reporter addressed to Sweeney Payne identified the sender as Remington Nash. The third ward Alderman and the most recent former Alderman at Large are residents of the Remington Drive-Nash Road neighborhood.
We will identify our correspondent's comments with RN and our responses with SP.
RN: Why does "Sweeney Payne" sign off on His/her smarmy "Open Letter to Mayor Pappas and esteemed NT Common Council" as being from the Citizens (Taxpayers, Voters, and Residents) of North Tonawanda?
SP: We ARE all citizens (taxpayers, voters, and residents) of North Tonawanda! We were expressing RESPECT for the offices held by the newly appointed Mayor and soon to be two-fifths appointed Common Council. In verifying the meaning of "smarmy," we assume that your intended meaning was "similar to snobby, behaving in a way that seems polite, kind, or pleasing but is not genuine or believable." That sounds like most politicians! We are completely genuine in our opinions and many of us have been abused for trying to be polite about expressing those opinions in the past.
We have respect for ALL of the citizens of North Tonawanda and for the OFFICES of the elected and appointed officials. We believe the time has come for ALL of our opinions to have EQUAL RESPECT from our public servants. We are very genuine. We wish only that our opinions be given the same respectful hearing as those of the ruling clique. Then all of us may be able to respect the officeholders as much as we respect the offices they hold.
We elect people to be OUR public servants, not to create a new career path or to continue a current career path as politicians, nor to pad their retirement funds or to give patronage positions to friends and family. Once elected, we expect them to be public servants for all of us, not just those in the Remington Nash neighborhood or just those in their political party. While in office, they are supposed to represent and seriously listen politely to all of us, not just the ones who say what they want to hear.
The City of North Tonawanda belongs to ALL of its citizens, not just those who have for too long called all the shots based on how they can use our great little city for their own personal gain.
RN: First off, know that does not include this NT resident, voter, & taxpayer. Payne's complimentary closing of "Respectfully" is laughable. Writing an opinion column is one thing. Passing it off as a letter from me and my neighbors is another.
SP: Our regards to you and your neighbors in the Remington Drive-Nash Road area, some of whom are indeed part of Sweeney Payne. Because of that fear of retaliation or ridicule for making public their opinions in the last decade, you are not aware of them.
Many of North Tonawanda's citizens don't feel they have been treated "respectfully" by those in public office here for a long time. Those who represent the citizens of NT are supposed to treat all of us "respectfully". They are elected to represent—AND RESPECT—all of the residents of NT, to be public servants to us, ALL OF US, not just the ones they agree with...
Too many North Tonawanda officials have forgotten in the last decade that being a public servant is what it is all about. Transparency in government and accountability to the citizens and RESPECT for every citizen and every citizen's opinions are badly needed in NT.
How dare you tell the residents of the rest of NT that they have to want what the residents of one neighborhood do? Every neighborhood should be properly served by every elected or appointed official, not just those who help fund their campaigns and vote for them. If they cannot do so, they don't belong in office.
Congratulations to Catherine Schwandt and Robert Pecoraro as our newly APPOINTED Aldermen at Large until the next election. We look forward to their representing ALL of us and teaching and leading the rest of the current elected and appointed officials in properly representing and respecting all of us.