â€œâ€˜you scratch my back, Iâ€™ll scratch yoursâ€™â€?
The present and future quality of life for the citizens of Woodstock has been in the hands of a select few over the last 15 years. Although we have elections every two years, it seems like nothing changes. The heated issues that exist today are the same issues that existed years ago. Perhaps the biggest single fiasco of the last 15 years was the failure of the Town to purchase the Data General property that is now owned by Hyde School, a non-profit entity that pays no taxes. Then there are the continuing controversies over education, land development and preservation, the Woodstock Academy, and taxation. Party leaders will claim that no one is interested in running for office, but I recall what happened when a group of new republicans tried to take over the party leadership a few years ago â€“ they failed.
Who has led Woodstock over the last 15 years? Ed Neuman was First Selectman for many years before independent newcomer, Ernie Wetzel, unseated him. During Wetzelâ€™s 4-year reign, he was out-numbered on the Board of Selectman by two â€˜old guardâ€™ republican foot soldiers, first Roger Gale and Melissa Weinand (Melissa replaced Ed Neuman who wouldnâ€™t play second fiddle), and then Roger Gale and Delpha Very. Galeâ€™s profession is real estate and conveniently Galeâ€™s wife Nancy is the longtime Judge of Probate. Delpha Very ran Stoggy Hollow with Ed Neumanâ€™s wife before she became a Selectman. Delphaâ€™s husband is now a member of IWWA, the committee that regulates wetlands use and is under fire by landowner, Ken Rapoport, and developer, Nelson Douglas. This is the same IWWA that accepted Margaret Youngâ€™s resignation under fire last week after she was â€˜outedâ€™ for being wife of newly elected Selectman Mitchell Eaffy. Now we have Margaret Wholean as First Selectman who hadnâ€™t expected to beat Delpha and who appears to have no agenda. She is off-set by republican foot-soldiers, Mitchell Eaffy (a democrat) and Delpha Very. Where will these three take us next â€“ probably no where.
Who are the â€˜real playersâ€™ in Woodstock. I believe one â€˜real playerâ€™ is the developers like Douglas, Evans (out of Newton), the Woodstock Building Association, just to name few, who are cashing in on Woodstockâ€™s almost â€˜tax-freeâ€™ open space â€“ â€˜tax-freeâ€™ because Woodstockâ€™s leadership, in its incompetence, has failed to manage PA-490 taxation the way the program was intended. The second â€˜real playerâ€™ is the farmland owners, e.g. the Woodstock Agricultural Society, who â€˜ownâ€™ the Woodstock Fair. Iâ€™m just speculating because Proposition 46 came about long before my time here in Woodstock, but Prop 46 may have been the brain child of the farmland owners to hold the Town in check. Read the rest of this entry »