New Paltz: An election for village mayor

Three of the candidates — Jason West, Sally Rhoads, and Tim Rogers — are three faces of the same political organism. The fourth candidate, Amy Cohen, is sui generis (as in a type unto herself) but not really cut out for this business.

This is an election where all sides of radical green opinion are fully represented, except perhaps for that of purified vegan fascism.

Let’s try a process of elimination.

Cohen is a businesswoman, who owns with her husband a downtown clothing shop called “Groovy Blueberry.” Apparently it thrives. Why she would want to be mayor is a mystery to me (despite her various explanations that she is in favor of everything good), but I see campaign pleas by her in which the terms “good vibes” and “it takes a village” are prominent, and I think that’s enough right there to earn her a hearty, “thank you, but we already have one alternate universe running on the New Paltz holodeck.”

Then there is West, the current mayor, who is the perfect storm of slob, performance artist, and unfortunate historical artifact. The last four years he has experienced the purgatorial suffering of hearing, and no doubt feeling, the hard fingertips of Mrs. Rhoads, as trustee, hammering her diktat into the tabletop, so I think it is to his credit that he needed only one mental health break during that time. (If I run into Jason in a suitable venue, I’ll stand him a drink, if he hasn’t had to forego that pleasure. Just to say “I saw that.”)

Next is Rhoads. I don’t want to be unkind. It behooves me to not be unkind. It would be reckless of me to be unkind. So I’ll stick with my favorite Sally Rhoads moment, the day I saw her — surely it was fire in her eyes — at the wheel of a station wagon that looked eight sizes too big for her as she hung a wild left off of North Front Street onto North Chestnut. She raced on toward Main, an Obama sticker on the rear bumper, and I said to myself, “that woman is fucking nuts.” And thus she will always be to me.

Finally there is Rogers, who tried the old “I’m bigger than this place” by having Zephyr Teachout come to town to endorse him. What that actually means is that he’s smaller than this place, which is getting pretty small. Rogers is also just a tad too generic in a town where the generics are starting to crowd out the funkys. He’s even more therapeutic in his tones than West, and is therefore perfect for the school board, where he already serves.

So, on the basis of his prolonged purgatorial torment, his resistance to the long running local civic fad of wanting the village merged back into the town, and what I believe (but do not know for a fact): That he treats the men down at the Department of Public Works with the respect they deserve, as flawed and truly vile as he is, it would be best to let West continue as mayor.

As for the two trustee spots, I would do Terry Dungan and Don Kerr both a big favor and let Jack Murphy and the other guy, Dennis Young, have those jobs. Not that I have anything against Jack or Young.

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