Smithson Has the Edge
Last week the Pilot endorsed David McNeill for mayor over longtime councilman Chris Smithson.
A hard choice for sure between two fine and honorable men, but the given reason for that endorsement is not among the few differences that can be drawn between the candidates. Rather, it is a fiction created in the endorsement itself and, as such, does a disservice to the community.
The fiction centers squarely on the town’s long-term strategic plan. The Pilot implies that Smithson believes the plan is “an inflexible document.” Those who have read the plan know this is simply not true. The plan is instead a sweeping statement of community values, a vision of how the people want the town to proceed. By its very nature it is flexible and adaptable.
The criticism then of Smithson as one who sees the plan as a “rigid set of marching orders” is patently false. It is not possible to rigidly follow a flexible plan.
Moreover, it is hard to imagine how Smithson, whom elsewhere the Pilot lauds for “his dedication, diligence, and willingness to burn the midnight oil” on behalf of the town, would suddenly adopt some kind of hard-line stance that is incongruous with the “leadership role” the Pilot so recently praised him for.
The Pilot’s endorsement creates a straw-man position that is not Smithson. Its conclusion is an argument from false premises and therefore should be rejected.
Between two fine men, among the actual differences are that Smithson has the most experience on the council, his work ethic and what the Pilot calls his “awesome grasp of the issues,” and his status as a business owner.
In a close analysis of excellent choices, the edge goes to Smithson.
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