To the editor:
Your latest attack on Franklin County Legislator Gordy Crossman (Enterprise editorial, Nov. 8) seems unnecessarily hard-hearted. In an editorial published prior to the recent election, you already harshly criticized him at length for doing little for the southern end of his legislative territory, and now that he has been re-elected, you have chosen to do it all over again. Why?
I'm sure you know that Gordy's District 3 territory, as far as southern towns are concerned, includes only Brighton and Duane. They represent few votes compared to the northern end of the district, which includes part of Malone and Brandon. The county Legislature, in its wisdom, formed the district boundaries in order to achieve the statutorily required population balance across all seven county districts. However, clearly the legislators were focused on mathematical convenience, not fair representation. So most of Gordy's voter base is in the north, but is that his fault? If it is, it is only to the extent that he was a member of the seven-legislator board that come up with this bit of gerrymandering.
Incidentally, when I was Brighton town supervisor in 2010, Gordy Crossman was instrumental in helping us get a town road bridge rebuilt. The bridge had been yellow-flagged by the state Department of Transportation for years, and it looked as if a red flag was in the offing, but Gordy stepped in and worked out a plan with the state and county highway departments that got the job done even sooner than anyone had thought possible, and at a limited cost to the town. And by the way, that bridge provides access to the Paul Smith's College sugar bush, so you might say that was something good for the college as well as the town.
There is no doubt that the southern region of Franklin County is under-represented at the county Legislature. I would like to see the five southern towns in the 19-town county break away and form their own county, but as that act would require the approval of the rest of the county, we can be sure that would never fly - those five towns give the county 60 percent of its property tax revenue. Still, there is one option we could consider, which is changing the county Legislature back to the supervisor system; i.e., the legislature would consist of the 19 town supervisors in the county. The voting power of the legislators would be weighted according to population, just as it is in Essex County. This would not mean a dramatic change in the distribution of voting power from the current system, also based on population, but at least we would have people from every one of our towns at the table. And because those people would be town supervisors, they would have the experience and sense of responsibility to do a reasonable job as county legislators.