I have a history of complaining about the fact that the Wellington Village Council has catered to the wishes of the chamber and other business interests. Occasionally, previous councils have even caused some harm to citizens in order to accommodate commerce. But in my eight years’ residence in the village, I have witnessed nothing so frightening as the way the new council majority is catering to a very small group of wealthy individuals.
This new majority has no respect for precedent and no qualms about spending money to defend their unprecedented actions. They are using a back-door approach to overturn legitimate decisions made by previous councils.
I spoke by telephone with one of the new majority. Among other things he told me that he wants to overturn those previous decisions because he is afraid that, if allowed to stand, those previous decisions would establish “precedent” for land use changes. Never mind that land use changes are not subject to precedent. And never mind that overturning decisions made by previous councils establishes the precedent that no decisions can be counted on to be final. He and his new majority may succeed in causing great expense to those who have relied on council decisions and also succeed in forcing citizens to pay the legal costs to defend the new majority’s unprecedented actions. The village will probably not survive.
This new councilman also said that he ran for office because he was concerned that previous council members had been too “cozy” with business interests. This is a member whose very election was financed by private interests with whom he is clearly as cozy as it is possible to be.
Unfortunately, village citizens are saddled with this new majority for at least four years. The only way to remove any of them from office before that time is through a very difficult recall process. But making that effort may be absolutely necessary. If such a move takes place, I would hope that previous council members would join in. It is a matter of principle, not politics.