“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

Groucho Marx

First I must give credit to Michael Buffer for the title of this column. I am sure the vast majority of people my age know where that saying comes from, and it certainly is a classic. The shame is that it is more prevalent in politics today, even in Windham. There definitely is an increase in elected officials browbeating other elected officials, some without a clue how bad they really look. As a matter of fact, some attacks have me thinking it resembles a person being a stalker. It is unfortunate that in Windham, where all seemed calm for years, outbursts and attacks are on the rise. These only come from a minority, but one attack is too much.

Maybe the answer is that the town should conduct background checks on any candidate for local elected office and make the results public. That will probably be declared illegal by some, but nowadays one can do an excellent background check online for relatively cheap money. I have done it myself but never make it public – yet. Since many elected officials of one particular party want to see President Trump’s tax returns, let’s add that to the to-do list for local candidates as well. No tax returns, goodbye. How do you think that one will go over? After all, what’s good for the president of the United States should be good for us at the local level.

We might as well get a good look at our local candidates before it’s after the fact and too late. Unfortunately, those who wrote the Windham Town Charter made darn sure the only ones who could remove town councilors from office were the town councilors themselves. That’s really sad. It goes to show that if not constantly watched, elected officials will protect themselves as best as they can without being caught by the general public. And if the general public is asleep at the ballot box, it can only become worse. Every municipality, county, state and federal elected official must be subject to recall by the voters if they feel it is necessary. Instead, even in Augusta, there are attempts to lessen our ability to petition our government.

I’ve also been thinking about the search for a new town manager in Windham. It would have been nice if we could have had, to put it as nice as I can, a new manager at least in training during our town’s budget season. Guess that ain’t going to happen. The state of is canceling road and bridge repairs because the bids for those projects have come in so high. Is Windham prepared for that? Years ago I remember when Windham was hundreds of thousands over budget in its social services budget. I’d like to know how that was settled because it never was publicly discussed.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham is soon retiring.

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