In an intercollegiate sailing race years ago, an opponent lied to race officials in order to have my team disqualified and his standing improved, something he boasted about when he did not recognize me at a different event a few months later. Refusing to be embarrassed, he said it couldn’t have been cheating because the officials were involved. I learned then that some people imagine winning is always justified, by any means necessary.

A petition is circulating in town to force a special election to recall School Committee member Jennifer Lima. I hear they were even gathering signatures at the town transfer station recently.

The recall provision in our town charter is meant for cases of corruption or abuse of power, not just because you hate losing. Town Council members Kerry McKay and Mary Brimer and losing School Committee candidate Hannah Zangari are using a difference of opinion with Lima as an excuse to waste town money and time, and to bully an elected town official. There are a few others involved, but Brimer spoke for the organizers at a Board of Canvassers meeting, and Zangari will take Lima’s place if the recall succeeds.

If you don’t like Jennifer Lima, please vote for another candidate next time. Until then, she won the election – with more votes than any other town candidate and 1,500 votes more than either McKay or Brimer. The strategy here is cynical: they hope that only a few people will turn out to a special election and so a minority can overturn the clear majority opinion of our town.

Government is more serious than a sailboat race.  Agreeing to be governed by the winner of an election is a bedrock principle of democracy. Zangari was never sworn into office, but Brimer and McKay took an oath to support the laws of Rhode Island and the Constitution of the United States. Do they imagine the Constitution has a clause about “by any means necessary”? Think of that next time you see one of them with hand over heart, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a town council meeting. What do they think those words mean? Can they really think it patriotic to subvert the will of the electorate like this?

If someone asks you to sign the petition to recall Jennifer Lima, please refuse. Our town deserves the government we voted for. Until the next regular election.

Tom Sgouros

North Kingstown

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