30 October 2017
As this election comes to a close, I am writing to thank all the people who I have spoken to in my door-to-door campaign throughout the Town of Lewiston. I’ve seen many good things and some bad things.
The bad things first. Too many households contain no voters. Unless you have the registration list, you would never know. I have walked streets where every third house contains no voters. I think this is terrible but honestly, I don’t know what could or should be done.
Almost as bad are the voters who are registered but don’t vote! What’s with that? I would like to make a personal appeal to these voters, Please vote this year. Absentee ballots have always been available by mail. Just call the Niagara County Board of Elections. Make it a practice to vote and vote every time. We need your votes and your voice to guide us.
The good news is that voters who consistently vote are consistently informed. I have heard literally hundreds of ideas for better government, reduced expenditures and yes, legitimate complaints. These knowledgeable people see things not as members of a political party or no party but as citizens. To be honest, walking and talking to you in your home is the best part of the campaign for me.
For my part, as a sitting Trustee in the Village, I am able to explain many things that are often misunderstood. It is important to me to remind the voters that there is close cooperation between the Village and the Town Government. This cooperation is not something that is in the papers all the time yet it exists in many informal ways. I tell people that we are all in this together and we help each other succeed. The Village Trustees deal with a different set of circumstances unique to Villages. However, both governments deal with municipal budgets and that is our tax money that must be properly managed in each case.
Voters spoke to me about development. Before I was elected as a Trustee, and as a longtime Chairman of the Village Planning and Historic Preservation Board, I am able to explain how developments are processed and what citizens can do when they see a development plan that they don’t agree with. I advise them that their voices are heard.
Unfortunately, everyone can’t always get everything they want. Councilmen and councilwomen and Trustees must themselves go by the law. Developers are property owners with rights and duties just like a homeowner. Even then however, the health and safety of the residents comes first and developments are changed for the better from the time they are merely concepts until final approval. My advice, get the facts, then act accordingly.
I have heard pro and con about wind towers, protection of farm land, solar power developments, and of course, taxation. I find that the majority understand that taxes are necessary to protect the community, not the least of which is the protection of your property values. Properly maintained public infrastructure is important to all of us.
These conversations are not just, “I’m Vic Eydt running for Council, Thank you”. But are often 15-20 minute discussions about many things. Homeowners interrupt what they are doing to have conversations with a sitting Trustee and a hopeful Councilman on a one-on-one basis; an opportunity for both me and them to discuss things face to face not filtered by the press or “word of mouth”. And fortunately for me, I have been in government and I have to take responsibility for the things I did that they like and for things they didn’t like.
Finally, I’ve been given a great education by the residents. I see things with fresh eyes. Better ways to accomplish the mission. Deeper understanding of the people I have served. Thanks for inviting me into your home. I appreciated every invitation. Some voters are, I admit, angry about something the government has done. Others have sincerely thanked me for successes I have had a part in.
Many have told me that they see a new tone in Town Government, more transparency, fiscal stability, and more cooperation between the Supervisor and the Councilmen and Councilwoman on the Town Board. I have met many voters new to Lewiston and many that have come home after years away only to say how glad they are to be home.
Again, thanks for taking your time to discuss our Town and its issues with me. Please remember to vote on Election Day, November 7th.