New Paltzians, aren’t you waiting with baited breath to hear my thoughts on incoming Village Board member—and now deputy mayor!—Patrick O’Donnell?
I felt those vibrations, and am answering your unasked pleas. Mr. O’Donnell came to a New Paltz Green Party meeting tonight, and we had a great talk. If you recall, he had declined to fill out our candidate’s questionnaire prior to the election because the election was non-partisan and he felt that we should just talk at a meeting instead (all candidates who filled out questionnaires were also invited to meetings). We couldn’t make the time before the election for him to come to a meeting, so we finally met tonight. Some impressions:
- If Brittany were to give him a nickname, something she probably isn’t wont to do as she now lives on the exact opposite side of the country—insert giant heartrendering sob of awfulness here—, a good nickname would be Mr. Nicey Nice.
- He’s a nice guy.
- He seems sane. Sanity is, without a doubt, the #1 quality most lacking on the VB, so this is wonderful.
- His views don’t seem nearly as leftist as I would like them to be, but then again neither do Castro’s.
- He seems to lack a vision for NP and sense of creativity, but those are not necessarily bad qualities: we need people who will get the job at hand done well, as well as grand dreamers with wildly creative plans to make NP awesome. We’ve got a lot of grand dreamers, and not many of them have the skills to see their dreams through. We need people who will put the work in to make sure this town begins to run efficiently again. He is one of those people, and this is good.
- He seems to be a level-headed person who is slow to anger. Other qualities in dire short supply on the VB.
- He gave a big speech about how he had never run for office before and made a big hoo-ha about not being a “politician,” but all of his answers were consummate politician answers. He refused to be pinned down on pretty much anything (he said he was in favor of a moratorium on development in both the Town and the Village, but gave a lengthy disquisition on how that was contingent on the Comprehensive Plan revision solving some of the development issues so that developers didn’t just wait out the moratorium. I thought it was prettty obvious that that was the goal of a moratorium.). I understand that part of this is because local politicians need to sometimes change their views on issues as more information becomes available and situations change. On the other hand, it absolutely disgusts me that no one seems to have any sort of bedrock viewpoints they will open up about. Why would we want to vote for people who refuse to admit that they have opinions on anything? Yes, I recognize that this is what politicians have done from the beginning of time, but it still makes me heartsick.
- He’s a pro at talking without saying much and explaining concepts everyone already understands. See #7.
- He seems to have a healthy belief in open government and hard work. Also, his own awesomeness. (Nothing wrong with that. I am, after all, the most awesome person I’ve ever met. One Green said after the meeting that they were distressed he used a whole lotta “I”s and not a lotta “we”s, but I got the sense that he could work in coalition when necessary.)
- Here’s a tip though: do you really think it’s smart to give a little speech about the importance of honesty? That scared me. One would think that honesty would be taken for granted and that politicians wouldn’t need to express their view that honesty is a virtue. (I know, I’m an idiot.)
- He’s part of a group none of us had heard of, some sort of Huguenot St community organization, and one of their missions is to “remove graffiti on the Rail Trail Wallkill bridge.” Graffiti removal always irks me. This is some of the graffiti in question: The phrase “get a life” springs to mind, does it not?
- His answer to pretty much every question (development moratoriums, unification, wetlands law): “Well, there are advantages and disadvantages.” Hrumph. See #7. Then again: though it certainly didn’t thrill me, I think maybe someone who can see both sides of an issue (even if one side is not to my liking) is needed on the VB because sometimes, puke puke puke, compromises need to be made.
- Bottom line: he’s a good guy who wants to please everyone. I’d prefer bitches who want to turn New Paltz into a 100% off-the-grid anarchist utopia and have giant hearts and brains and thus alienate idiots all over town, BUT I’ll take a good guy who wants to please everyone, for now at least. It sure could be worse (and it is!)
- I wish Brittany had been there, she would have such a smarter take on him. Damn. This sucks. Come back, BT!