Such a contrast between candidates in Rehoboth
What a contrast between candidates in this year’s Rehoboth Beach election. On the one hand, we have Sam Cooper again standing for mayor with a distinguished record of service to this community, an encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s infrastructure, and a dedication to public process.
We also have a fresh new candidate up from the planning commission, Francis “Bunky” Market, running for the city commission. Markert is a model citizen who has participated for over 10 years to understand the issues of the ity and to gain hands-on experience. On the other hand, we have Tom McGlone, who has burned to be mayor, and no lesser office, over two elections.
Amazingly, during that entire period, Mr. McGlone has not participated in any meaningful way in the meetings, hearings, comments, studies, or work sessions that make up our city’s planning and decision process. He is truly the invisible man when there is work to be done. He is quite comfortable simply “feeling” that the city should just reverse its careful decision on wastewater yet, for all his bombast in the past few weeks, he expressed no view at the time that alternatives about wastewater disposal were actually under public consideration; he attended no meetings nor submitted comments or alternative analysis.
Without shame, he just wants a new result now during the campaign. He was and is similarly invisible on the broad-based work done to move forward on our municipal building, but once his ambition set sail in the campaign, he has been, without shame, happy to publicly infer that a final choice about the municipal center has already been made (it has not) and to condemn his own imaginary vision of that decision as a McMansion (it is not) and that it is the singular work of the mayor (it is not). This is beyond disingenuous; it is plainly dishonest with the voters.
Bunky Markert, in contrast, didn’t assume that he was entitled to be mayor immediately. He started out in the city more than a decade ago by being an active citizen working and contributing on issues, actually doing the work. In recent years he accepted an appointment to the planning commission. Planning work is a tough and thankless job but it is at the heart of the success the City of Rehoboth Beach has experienced. Markert had a distinguished professional career in accounting and when he arrived in Rehoboth, he became active as a citizen. After 10 years of learning the issues of Rehoboth Beach and working on them, he now offers himself as a candidate for the city commission bearing the experience and knowledge he has earned. The invisible man for mayor has none of this experience.
In Rehoboth Beach, we have a city that is sound financially where many aren’t; we have good city services, but remarkably low taxes; we have a strong and active long-term planning process; we have a rich and attractive environment in our beaches, lakes and trees; and for the big decisions a small city must face, we have a careful and detailed process for evaluating the facts and reaching decisions with broad citizen input.
This did not happen because of good luck but rather by having good leaders over many years and open citizen involvement. That’s how Rehoboth Beach adopted a sensible height limitation along the beach years ago, and how we decided how to deal with their treated wastewater in the best and most cost efficient way, and it why we are now in the process of deciding on a new municipal building - carefully, and with broad public participation.
The contrast between a seasoned and successful mayor and a new candidate of Markert’s fresh approach backed by experience, on the one hand, and on the other, the “invisible man” who really, really wants to be mayor but refuses to do the work to qualify himself, is striking and alarming. I have little doubt that Rehoboth voters will understand this difference.