I had hoped the last election which led to Former Mayor Karin Tome being defeated by Mayor Jeff Snoots would result in Karin tome returning to the generally personable person I have known her to be throughout my time here in Brunswick. While I am diametrically the opposite of her on many political issues I found her to be generally pleasant and polite in everyday life. When I first moved into town back in 2002 it was winter time and we were still settling into our recently purchased home. July of 2003 saw my family going to our first local fireworks celebration. It was a great turnout…I could tell the small town atmosphere was in full swing and we talked casually with the folks around us during the runup to the show. My late wife drew my attention to something that was unusual for her to see. There was a woman literally nearly diving into each trash can. My wife thought she was a bit nuts….I told her that no there are people that through either environmental concerns or the financials like to grab the cans and bottles because each container is worth a cent or two. Get enough of them and it really adds up. I did agree that it was a bit extreme in the manner of the gathering but otherwise we moved on. What further surprised me is nobody else even took a second glance…as if this was expected. I put it out of my mind at that point. I ran into her several times throughout the city but mostly at the city library where she worked as a volunteer there. I never had anything but the most pleasant time interacting with her and even my youngest daughter liked to see her. While we disagreed vastly in the political realm personally I had zero problems with her.
Years later Karin Tome was elected Mayor of Brunswick. While I again opposed her agenda and did not vote for her I took the time to congratulate her. I also informed her that the only way i would not vocally dissent against Pay as you Throw(known here on as PAYT) is if the minimal fee was zero. She asked why. I told her i would then startup my own neighborhood trash service because I could do it for less than anything the city could do and with no worse than the level of service the city could do.(I could…i had already figured the numbers). There was no hostility no threatening..just a statement of fact.
I think her biggest stumbling blocks were the following:
- Her refusal to lead as a representative of the entire city
- Her inability, either by political inexperience or by choice, to not let her personal agenda lead her decisions
This led to her nearly loosing her office via a recall and to choosing a city administrator so polarizing that he would only get along with a small subset of the entire city population. I will say this..i could still walk up to her..address her as Karin..and who would greet me with a smile. I ran into her multiple times at City Hall..out in the community…and at the library and personally she was still the pleasant person I had run into for years. We never made real friends but it was nice to see that two totally polar opposites politically could have a civil conversation.
Over her term as mayor she was set on her agenda nearly to the point of being an ideologue. The citizenry made it clear to herself and the council that PAYT was a non-starter. The council defeated multiple attempts at trying to move forward. When the council had gotten browbeat enough and showed signs of wavering the turnout against PAYT was strong. Even in the face of such strong opposition the mayor would not budge. She brought in outside “consultants” and even representatives of the sole source for the special bags that would have to be used as part of PAYT trying to “sell” the citizenry on the idea. The results were not pleasant for her or the city. The fight that ensured lead to her nearly being removed via a recall election. this tension continued until the next election cycle began.
The subsequent election was brutal….one i was not happy to see take place in our small town. I am not blaming the former mayor for it…but her style of governing contributed to an already tense situation. Folks from outside the city brought in their big guns for this election. Local parties, county parties, in a few cases even the state parties were brought in. I, being normally politically inactive, even decided to support Jeff Snoots. This was nothing personal(though i was accused of making it such), I just opposed the current mayor’s agenda style of governing. I considered a run of my own…until I asked around and found out two things:
- Jeff Snoots was vacating his council seat
- His support amongst the citizenry was going to crush anything I could come up with.
It was an easy choice at that point. I supported Jeff Snoots. Wit the considerable resources being thrown into this race I did not stand a chance to get enough support to make a dent in either candidates support level. The hype grew until, mercifully, it was time to cast our votes. The turnout was good for our small town and Jeff Snoots was the new mayor. I hoped our lives would return to normal.
I haven’t run into former mayor tome in person since that day. I had no reason to believe that her behavior would continue. I figured(maybe with a bit naivete) she would settle down into the personable Karin Tome I had run into many times over the years. I was rudely awakened to reality today on facebook. A post showed up on the City’s Facebook page announcing the City Administrator was stepping down. It was announced the Dave Dunn was stepping in as the interim City Administrator. Folks are disappointed but I made a remark about at least it isn’t Bob. The former City Administrator who was generally disliked by the citizenry. The response from Karin was what I have come to call snowflake mentality. While trying to demean me she also pretty much demeans the ENTIRE city..including many of her supporters.(That would the Original Brunswick citizens Facebook Group).
That was it for me. I then posted my response to her three posts: