After suspending his candidacy for Barnstable County Board of County Commissioners earlier this month, citing a health scare, Ronald R. Beaty Jr. of Barnstable is back in the running – and, perhaps, then some.
Last Friday Mr. Beaty issued a press release announcing that he was back in the race. A day later, in a highly unorthodox move, he issued a second release formally endorsing fellow candidate Eric R. Steinhilber – one of his potential opponents in the November primary.
But the oddest turn came a few days before Mr. Beaty re-entered the race, when he sent out a copy of an e-mail from Norah K. Mallam, staff attorney with the Massachusetts Ethics Commission, saying, basically, that there is nothing in the state’s conflict of interests law that would prevent him from simultaneously holding seats on both the board of county commissioners and the assembly.
“The conflict of interest law will not prohibit you from running for and holding two elected positions in the same county,” Ms. Mallam said, but she added that were Mr. Beaty to achieve this feat, he would have to exercise extreme diligence in avoiding instances when a vote as a member of one body has a direct impact on his role with the other.
“For example, if a matter comes before you as the Barnstable County Commissioner involving the amount of compensation that members of the County Assembly of Delegates should receive,” she wrote, “then you would be prohibited from participating in that matter as a Commissioner.”
Mr. Beaty has not made any public statements indicating he does indeed plan to run for both seats, and my advice is to keep it that way. Pick one race and commit to running it.
Which is exactly what Andrew Putnam plans to do — if he runs at all, that is.
The Falmouth resident announced this week that he is “strongly considering a run for both the Assembly of Delegates and (for) County Commissioner at this time. I will be announcing on Wednesday, April 11th whether I will run for one of the offices or none at all.”
Here’s hoping that he does run for something. I’m a big fan of giving voters choices and making incumbents work for their re-election.
On a related note, the aforementioned Mr. Steinhilber has formally launched his campaign for county commissioner. He held his kick-off event last Saturday in Hyannis.
Notably, both Mr. Steinhilber and Mr. Beaty are going after one of the same targets: the regional wastewater authority proposed by the Special Commission on County Governance – and both men are jumping the gun quite a bit by acting like this authority is a done deal, which it is not.
“Is it the proper role of the County or its newly created authority to have taxation powers to potentially impose billions in new taxes and fees on the already overtaxed, over worked people of Cape Cod?” Mr. Steinhilber remarked at his event, while Mr. Beaty warned that “an autonomous authority would unilaterally seize specific decision-making, fee imposition and taxation powers from the 15 municipalities of Cape Cod regarding wastewater infrastructure issues and/or services. Wastewater/sewer rates and relevant taxes would incessantly go up year after year.”
Readers, be clear on an important point here: no authority has actually been created and none of the details, from its administrative structure to its method of raising revenue, have been sketched out. The special commission made a recommendation, and the county commissioners voted to explore the concept – not to create an authority, not even to endorse the proposal, simply to look into it.
Mr. Beaty and Mr. Steinhilber are straying into the realm of fearmongering, which might make for good campaign sound bites but it also hampers a serious, honest discussion about what is undeniably a thorny issue for all of Cape Cod. They need to dial down the rhetoric and stick to the facts.
For a more in-depth analysis of this issue, check out this installation of Fact-Check Theater.
Finally, another Democrat has entered the race for US Senate: Eno Mondésir, a public health practitioner, self-published author, and ordained minister from Randolph.
Learn more about the candidate at his official website, and don’t be surprised if that’s the only place you can learn more about him. Mr. Mondésir is one of three Democrats who isn’t Elizabeth Warren, and if you’re not Elizabeth Warren, you’re as good as invisible to the big city media.
Political news and announcements may be e-mailed to Michael Bailey, senior political reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.