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The Sun letter to the editor: The danger of perception as reality

The script was written and stage set for the 2013 town of Hamburg elections. At stake: all three seats on the town board.

The false notion of Hamburg having a dysfunctional board was seemingly inescapable for the two Republican incumbents, and appeared to consume every waking moment of each Democratic candidate’s campaign.

The nonstop proliferation of untruthful information and negative campaign material slowly ate away at the Republican slate. The prize was the opportunity to shift the balance of power.

Residents were beleaguered by mailer after mailer, with the idea that this was reality; that the people who were in charge of leading our community honestly had no concern for the residents they served. This message could not be farther from the truth.

As a longtime resident of Hamburg, I have seen firsthand the positive transformation this town has undergone. Almost all of this progress can be credited to the hard work of Walters and Ziegler.

Taxes have been cut, five out of the past seven years, and services have not suffered; commercial vacancy rates have been lowered from 23 percent, in 2005, to 7 percent, in 2013. The town will soon open a new senior center, and has successfully taken over Woodlawn Beach State Park.

These examples do not do justice to the amazing record Walters and Ziegler had complied to run on, and running on their record is exactly what they did.

Appallingly, perception prevailed. Factual inaccuracies and negative campaigning cost this town an incredibly devoted, charismatic councilwoman; denied first-time Republican candidate and small business owner Larry Speiser a spot on the board and almost cost us an extraordinary supervisor, who ultimately solidified victory this past Tuesday.

Let’s just hope that the progress of this town is not compromised by the pernicious smoke and mirrors campaign, which stole this election.

Joseph Smith

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