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Hamburg voters fooled by smoke and mirrors

The script was written and stage set for the Town of Hamburg elections. At stake: all three seats on the Town Board. The false notion of Hamburg having a dysfunctional board was seemingly inescapable for the two Republican incumbents, and appeared to consume every waking moment of each Democratic candidate’s campaign.

The proliferation of untruthful information and negative campaign material slowly ate away at the Republican slate. The prize was the opportunity to shift the balance of power. Residents were beleaguered by mailer after mailer with the idea that the people who were in charge of leading our community honestly had no concern for the residents they served. This message could not be further from the truth.

As a longtime resident of Hamburg, I have seen firsthand the positive transformation this town has undergone. Almost all of this progress can be credited to the hard work of Supervisor Steven Walters and Councilwoman Amy Ziegler.

Taxes have been cut five out of the past seven years and services have not suffered; commercial vacancy rates have been lowered from 23 percent in 2005 to 7 percent in 2013; the town will soon open a new senior center; and it has successfully taken over Woodlawn Beach State Park. These examples do not do justice to the amazing record Walters and Ziegler had compiled to run on, and running on their record is exactly what they did.

Appallingly, perception prevailed. Factual inaccuracies and negative campaigning cost this town an incredibly devoted, charismatic councilwoman; denied first-time Republican candidate and small business owner Larry Speiser a spot on the board; and almost cost us an extraordinary supervisor, who ultimately solidified victory. Let’s just hope that the progress of this town is not compromised by the pernicious smoke-and-mirrors campaign that stole this election.

Joseph C. Smith

Hamburg