Effective immediately, I am suspending my campaign for Town of Chatham Supervisor. All monies donated to my campaign will be returned to the respective donors. All monies spent to date will be accounted for as in-kind donations from me to my campaign.
Unfortunately, I was out of town for the emotional town meeting on June 20. While watching the meeting video and the outpouring of public sentiment, I saw a town board that was tone deaf, intransigent, and out of touch with the citizenry. As Supervisor Lull stated in her monologue, “The new law will make property attractive to developers.” This lays out clearly the intent of the zoning as well as the board’s actions to date.
Supervisor Lull was elected four years ago by a razor-thin margin with no clear mandate; that questionable mandate is diminished even further now. Mr. Richardson was appointed by Supervisor Lull with *no* mandate from the citizenry. Ms. Sperry was also appointed by Supervisor Lull, and, as chairperson of the Town Planning Board, is uniquely responsible for the input into the lopsided zoning currently on the table. I am a realist, and know a single, unified ticket will have the best chance of beating Maria Lull and her appointed cronies at the ballot box this November. Around the time of the town meeting, I contacted the Chatham Republicans with a proposal to consolidate their ticket to include me. My proposal was rebuffed. Therefore, the principled thing to do for My Town is to withdraw my candidacy so the Collins/Mesick/Pitkin slate can move forward and concentrate on beating the slate led by Supervisor Lull. And they Must. Be. Beaten.
To be clear, I believe the comprehensive plan is a roundly good document, reflecting a consensus of the town’s citizenry. However, and contrary to the board’s protestations, the proposed law does not accurately reflect the comprehensive plan. It is a cut-and-paste document, compiled by the lowest bidder from suburban towns’ code. It is filled with non sequiturs and regulations that do not speak to the “rural character” espoused by the Comprehensive Plan. There is ample ambiguity, inconsistency, grammatical errors, and misspellings. In short, the proposed zoning law reflects a general lack of care and seemingly random disregard for the comprehensive plan. It unfairly levies de facto taxes in the form of registration and permitting fees. It creates a surveillance regime vis-à-vis the Town’s contract with Host Compliance, LLC to spy on short term renters. Lastly, the law is unenforceable by a single enforcement officer, which will inevitably lead to either additional enforcement staff, or selective enforcement of the zoning law against whomsoever the board chooses.
I am eternally thankful for the financial and moral support I have received from my liberty-minded friends. I am proud to have been the first citizen to declare my candidacy for Supervisor, and the first candidate to have publicly and consistently denounced the proposed zoning laws. I am proud of my having raised public awareness about the Draconian and arbitrary zoning changes, and for my part in moving the town to concern and action. The Republican candidates and I have, from what I can tell, few to no differences on the issue of the proposed zoning laws. I believe their hearts are in the right place, and their concern for the Town of Chatham is true. I call on Donal Collins, Vance Pitkin and Abi Mesick to adopt publicly libertarian ideals in their campaign, standing up for property rights, fiscal responsibility, and transparency. In the spirit of part-time public service, and as private citizens, I also call on them to reduce their taxpayer-funded compensation and eschew any fringe benefits.
I look forward to the Collins/Mesick/Pitkin ticket unseating the autocracy currently inhabiting Town Hall.