Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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March 12th, 2010

Monticello and Liberty village elections map future

Village elections will be held next Tuesday and all eyes are expected to be on Monticello and Liberty. Two trustee positions are up for grabs in both municipalities.
Monticello and Liberty have their own police departments, court houses, and provide extensive public services to their residents. Both boards are responsible for impressive budgets.
Regrettably, Monticello has become famous for its political controversy. Running the government takes a second seat to infighting and political shenanigans.
Village Manager Ray Nargizian’s hands are often tied due to all the disarray, and it becomes practically impossible for him to properly run the government.

The race card is habitually thrown into the mix as the village continues to sink further into the ground. The New York Times even portrayed the decay of our famed County Seat in a recent article.

Embattled Mayor Gordon Jenkins lacks the desire to bring everyone to the table in an attempt to work out differences, even though he says he does.

Jenkins’ recent arrest for allegedly selling knockoff Nikes in his store must not be an issue in this election. He is innocent until proven guilty. The arrest had nothing to do with his duties as an elected official.

How Nike issues licenses to merchants has no bearing on the Village of Monticello. I remember several years ago, when he was a trustee, Jenkins complained to me how Nike refused to grant him a license, and he felt it was racism.

I do not know if Jenkins later received a license allowing him to sell Nikes, thus having the brand in his store. The courts will have to decide that. I do know that he always kept his businesses separate from his duties as an elected official. And, it must stay that way.

Four credible candidates are seeking election in Monticello. Two of them are vocal and hard working incumbents who often clash. The other two are respected community leaders. Voters must put all the rhetoric aside and intelligently analyze the many issues facing the municipality and elect those whom they feel can do the best job to get the Village out of the shambles it is in.

Voters must decide if they want to vote for Jenkins’ backed candidates TC Hutchins and Rev James Matthews running on the Democratic and G Man Lines, or Scott Schoonmaker and Brian Soller running on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Lines.

Unfortunately the issues in Monticello are getting lost due to all the infighting. Topics such as code enforcement, Broadway’s revitalization, grant dollars for economic revitalization and municipal services and upgrades should be prime focus in the campaign, but they are not.

I implore voters not to elect people based on skin color, party affiliation, or personalities. The only determining factor should be whom will do best job.

The Village of Liberty has its own pile of controversy. We just don’t hear much about the monkey business in Liberty from the media.

The issues facing Liberty are also very real. The police are overworked, the courts are filled with criminal cases, stores are empty, and costs keep going up for taxpayers. There is a desperate need to merge services with the township in order for the municipality to remain a viable entity.
Republicans have complete control over the Village Board, and as one would expect, the two Democratic challengers say they are unhappy with the way the municipality is being run. They allege nepotism and claim certain businesses are treated with favoritism. They are critical meetings are not held as often as they were in the past.
Democrats also claim the board is not treating Police Officers with the respect they deserve during contract negotiations.

Republicans write off all the criticism as nonsense and pure politics, they say they have made encouraging inroads since taking control of the Village and say they can prove it.

The Republicans candidates Dawn Green and David Simon are facing a challenge from two former popular Trustees, Luis Alvarez and Joan Stoddard. Both Alvarez and Stoddard have the endorsements of the Democratic and Conservative Parties.

Ironically both Green and Simon are running on a platform of change, when they are the incumbents.

No matter who wins in all the elections, everyone must work together for the betterment of Sullivan County. We are in tough times and political bickering can no longer be tolerated.

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