By George Young
This Nov. 5, the voters have a stark choice on their choice for Mayor of the Town of Matthews.
On one hand, you have the incumbent Paul Bailey, who as a sitting mayor has embarked on the most negative election campaign I have seen in twenty years in Matthews, not only against his opponent John H. Higdon, but also individuals like Mark Tofano, who is running for Matthews Commissioner.
The position of mayor is fundamentally different than that of a town commissioner as you must be impartial and open to each commissioner. You must treat developers with fairness and respect and the same with citizens that come to Town Hall to speak of grievances. Decisions of zoning need to be fair with respect to all parties involved. At this point, per Paul Bailey to be at the table you need to write a check. How is that fair to a developer or a Matthew citizen?
When I watched the vote on a controversial rezoning #269, I heard nothing about, “Is this a good zoning long term for the Town of Matthews?” Instead, it was how “we need to say yes as this would scare away developers.”
I saw commissioner John Urban spend over ten minutes berating the citizens of Matthews who had come to show support for a NO vote. What gave me great pause was the fact that Mayor Bailey sat idly by and did not stop Urban’s verbal abuse from his chair.
So I must ask if this is who we as Matthews Citizens want as our representable government? Do we want a fair hearing in town hall or should we stay with the current board who is hostile until election time and then demands our vote?
When I went to my first town hall meeting, I saw a rezoning and heard the mayor at that time, Lee Myers, pose the question: Will a yes vote on this be good for Matthews, not just now, but in fifty years?
I have not heard this for years in town hall meetings now that Lee is gone. We need to change the direction of our governance in Matthews for the future of our children and their children. It is interesting to note that in this election, with all the endorsements that Mayor Bailey has stated, one is surreptitiously missing: that of former Mayor Lee Myers.
It begs the question, why has Myers withheld his blessing?
George Young is a former Matthews Commissioner who served from 2005 to 2007.