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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December 30th, 2011

Sullivan County Approaches 2012

Sullivan County enters 2012 in one of the most trying times in recent memory. It is hard to imagine how we have gotten this way.

Our County government has literally run out of money as social service programs are bleeding taxpayers to death. Motels intended for tourism are being utilized for section 8 housing and lodging sex offenders.

Merchants and area restaurants are holding on just to survive, despite questionable statistics that say they are thriving.

Our law enforcement community is combating crime like never before seen. Arrests are up, and so are convictions. Gang warfare and drug trafficking have become a way of life in parts of Sullivan County.

Economic development is dreary. We offer college graduates very little when it comes to employment opportunities. Even plans to develop the Apollo Plaza are being bogged down.

Our hopes for casino gaming has disenfranchised everyone. We have become the joke of the industry as other regions flourish. On top of all that we are still talking Concord.

Yet, it is not all doom and gloom as we approach 2012. There is a shining ray of hope.

Disgusted and angered, our electorate sent a loud and clear message proclaiming “enough was enough,” and elected six newcomers to the Sullivan County Legislature. All campaigned on the need for positive productive change, and I am certain they will begin to do just that when they take office next week.

As one new legislator told me, “a broom and shovel will be needed to clean house.” While I could not agree more, I feel compelled to acknowledge and thank those legislators who are leaving us.

David Sager, Ron Hiatt, and Frank Armstrong decided not to seek reelection, and Jodi Goodman, Elwin Wood, and Leni Binder lost their election bids. Even though I differed with them at times, I am certain they all did their best to serve us admirably and make our quality of life better.

I hope David Sager remains in the public arena and seeks elective office again. He is a true gem of a public servant. And, Leni Binder will always be our “Legislady.”

Obviously, all of our problems in 2011 were not Sullivan County driven. As our state officials face reelection in 2012, their feet must be held to the fire to make certain they work towards ending unfunded mandates and assist in finding meaningful economic development for Sullivan County.

Once the new districts are drawn, it will be interesting to see who runs against Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, State Senator John Bonacic, and Congressman Maurice Hinchey. One also has to speculate if they will even seek reelection to the same positions.

In 2012, I hope our legislators, supervisors, and state officials will work together and meet regularly to discuss issues. We need to see more consolidation when it comes to purchasing and utilizing services.

The days ahead will indeed be intriguing for Sullivan County as there is a lot of work ahead. Change will not happen overnight, but I am confident our new legislature will be the catalyst and new beginning we need to make life better in Sullivan County.

In am convinced incumbents Kathy LaBuda, Jonathan Rouis, and Alan Sorensen will work well with newcomers Scott Samuelson, Ira Steingart, Gene Benson, Cora Edwards, Cindy Kurpil Gieger, and Kitty Vetter.

As a horrific and tragic door closes for many of us, hopefully a new and bright one will open in 2012. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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