How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth
François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)
It would seem that County Commissioner Bill Doherty is the exception to M. le Duc’s cynical rule. While still advocating for the human services community, and their myriad wants and needs, Mr. Doherty has been castigated for abandoning them and called to task for not furthering the most extravagant items of their expensive agenda.
At issue last year was the sum of $685,000. That was the amount sought by the human services advocates for various committees and good causes from county funds. This amount was appropriated for human services at great political cost to Mr. Doherty. You see, the towns felt that the surplus amount should be returned to them, during a tight local aid year, when school budgets and municipal expenses were demanding override votes in several towns – recall the brou-ha-ha in Harwich, or the Dennis-Yarmouth funding crisis as two examples of how the towns could claim to need this money especially. The Assembly of Delegates voted with the towns to lower the assessment, and it was vetoed by the Commissioners – including Mr. Doherty.
Porcupine is familiar with Republican circles, and knows that Mr. Doherty faced opposition, and a potential primary challenge, as a result of that veto. Indeed, Porcupine is not certain that he even agrees with Mr. Doherty’s stance on the matter – but, he does respect his political courage in expending personal popularity in support of human services, and concedes that he is well studied and hence perhaps better informed than Porcupine.
Now, about $400,000 in new initiatives are being proposed, and Mr. Doherty is not supporting them. While those in government circle are well familiar with the concept that a failure to increase is a cut, the average taxpayer does not see it that way. Mr. Doherty, who was very candid with these activists last year about the potential lack of future funding, had some right to expect a lack of attack, if not actual support, from these agencies. Instead, like many moderates, he is attacked for not providing more from the liberals, and despised for every providing anything at all from the conservatives.
Any dunce knows that there has been an increase in interest rates and a general cooling off in Cape real estate. It was the hyper-driven real estate market and refinancing that created the artificial and temporary surplus through County deeds fees in the first place. The towns wanted to take a share of this bounty last year, but the Commissioners felt that since their assessment had remained stable, they were not being taxed too much by the County, and chose instead to expend the money on human services, with a warning to those who received the funds that the golden goose was looking a little peaked.
“If you fail to take the warnings you are given, you must accept the consequences.” Mr. Doherty wrote in the Cape Cod Times on March 30. He writes as if he is addressing adults who can compromise and comprehend instead of professional advocates who routinely behave like recalcitrant children, romping behind Mr. Bernardo as their unlikely Democrat savior. It is to be hoped that their sharp teeth will not inflict a fatal wound.