Maybe there ought to be a training program for new city council members just as there are training programs for new judges before they actually take the bench after an election. Case in point: Glen Cove’s newly minted City Councilman Roderick Watson.
Mr. Watson ran for office on two party lines, the Republican Party line and the Tony Gallo-created Glen Cove United Party line. If one is to believe the PR that each of these parties puts out, then it should follow that Mr. Watson ought to favor smaller, less intrusive, simpler and more expeditious government. That’s what his parties are supposed to stand for. At least that’s what they say.
So if a proposal came up at a city council meeting to amend the city code to simplify a Zoning Board of Appeals provision and make it easier for homeowners in Glen Cove to process their building applications, you’d think that it would be natural for a Republican/Glen Cove United Councilman to vote “yes” without even having to think about it. The proposal just reduces red tape in the zoning appeals process.
But did Mr. Watson vote “yes?” Well, not exactly. In fact, on this issue of streamlining the building permit process, Mr. Watson voted a resounding, “No!”
Now you just have to ask yourself why new Councilman Watson would do such a thing. The answer seems self-evident. He never went to a city council training program to learn how to be a city councilman (since, unfortunately, there’s no such thing), and he obviously never spent a minute of his time in observing his colleagues on the city council to see what the job entails. Instead, he showed up on day one with an “I am against”attitude, and this is how it has played out.
Mr. Watson has now managed to convince his critics that he intends to spend the next two years leaning more toward the Glen Cove United Party’s dyed-in-the-wool obstructionist approach to governing.
This is what happens when someone becomes an accidental public figure because some low information voters decide to vote party lines instead of voting for the best person suited for the job. Mr. Watson ran on the Glen Cove United Party which actually opposed nearly every position of the Republican Party, but he also managed to accidentally find himself on the Republican line as a result of Tony Gallo’s unfortunate Republican primary in which Gallo lost while Watson got just enough votes to get on the ballot as a Republican candidate. By running on both lines, he defeated a well-known, well-liked Democrat who should have won the seat in which Mr. Watson now sits. So being both a Republican and a Glen Cove United person, Mr. Watson, if he follows party political positions, is now required to talk out of both sides of his mouth.
To sum it up, then, here’s Mr. Watson, with a Republican side that says, “yes to more simplified government,” while his Glen Cove United side says, “no, I’m committed to voting against progress.”
Glen Cove, it appears, now has its very own “Push Me-Pull You” Councilman.