The Talbot Integrity Project (“TIP”) is the non-partisan citizens’ organization that recently arose out of disgust with the Lakeside subdivision in particular, and deep concern about the domination of the County Council by development interests who care little about protecting Talbot’s rural character and unique quality of life.
Because we believe these candidates all support sound land use principles and protection of the rural character of Talbot County (TIP’s criteria), TIP recommends that citizens should vote as follows in the Talbot County Council Democratic Primary:
VOTE FOR PETE LESHER. Pete Lesher consistently stands with fortitude and intelligence to fight against destructive land use policies, most dramatically as to Lakeside, but likewise as to many other questions less well understood by the public. He has been the leader on this issue.
VOTE FOR PHIL JACKSON. Jackson lives at the Preserve at Wye Mills and was the one person who stepped up responsibly as head of that HOA to deal with problems at its failed sewer plant, pressing the County and MDE forcefully to do what’s needed. He is knowledgeable on these matters, and told us that he believes Lakeside, where the same technology is proposed, will face the same problems—just 50 times bigger. Jackson is an experienced IT executive.
VOTE FOR THREE OF THESE FOUR:
JIM BRUCE. A retired engineer and lawyer from St. Michaels. Seems studious and no-nonsense on land use. We liked this commitment in particular: “[going to] work hard, so the Council is not snookered or outgunned where vital citizen interests are concerned.”
KEASHA HAYTHE. An Easton resident who has run several times in the past and finished just 150 votes behind Frank Divilio in 2018. Her career is in Economic Development, but she understands that our Comprehensive Plan focuses on growth in Talbot’s towns and seems committed to preserving the rural County her family has known for generations.
SCOTT KANE. Has had experience in government (he was mayor of Chevy Chase years ago). Kane chaired a solar power task force as well as Talbot’s Short-Term Rental Review Board. The TIP panel believes he would bring a constructive voice to that discussion, knows how government works, and has a sound view on protecting our rural environment
MICHELE DAPPERT, an extraordinarily energetic and focused young woman who has done her homework on very many aspects of local government, including the role and substance of our Comp Plan. An Easton high school graduate with a career in communications and marketing.
TIP’s interview with the remaining Democratic candidate, Buddy Harrison, left us unclear at best on what to expect from Mr. Harrison when land use matters come up. Well known in the community as a restauranteur, he confirmed his close link the tourist industry. He also professed not to have followed matters in much detail in recent years (e.g., the Planning Commission or Lakeside). Mr. Harrison was elected to the Council twice, in 1998 and 2006; he explained to us that he was defeated in 2004 because of having aligned with certain interests at the time to back development of Big Box stores north of Easton.
(TIP’s recommendations for County Council in the REPUBLICAN PRIMARY were published in the Spy on Saturday, and are available here.)
All of TIP’s recommendations were established by a bipartisan panel of five individuals intimately familiar with local land use matters and approval processes (2 Rs, 2 Ds, 1“unaffiliated”) after a long interview with every Council candidate who offered any transparency. The process was detailed last week in a letter to the editor, here.
If citizens are ever going to influence the question of Talbot’s transition into “just another place” like every other, we need to take back our County. Let’s get out the vote!
Monica Otte, St. Michaels (D)
Kirke Harper, Claiborne (D)
The Talbot Integrity Project