It seems likely that some Yorktown residents — at least those who enjoy tranquility, and the smooth operation of local government — will be relieved to see the locally turbulent year of 2014 come to an end.
• In March, a former Yorktown Town Council member was placed on probation for 180 days, the consequence of a battery conviction stemming from an unpleasant encounter with the council’s president, Bob Ratchford, after a January 2013 meeting.
• In June, a member of the town council entered into an “agreement for withheld prosecution.” She had been charged with battery and criminal mischief after a March 21 incident that allegedly saw the council member slap her brother-in-law in the face and shatter the windshield of his pickup truck with an iron plant hook.
• And, of course, last week, on Election Day, town council candidate and government critic Rick Yencer was arrested at a polling site, accused of stealing the campaign signs of other candidates and leaving the scene of a traffic mishap the previous night, during a confrontation with incumbent council members.
Because of its timing, the latter incident drew national attention — even a story in a New York City newspaper.
To those who live far from the banks of Buck Creek, it must for all the world sound like the basis for a reality TV series, albeit with elements of two scripted shows from television’s past — “Peyton Place” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
And Yorktown’s controversies of 2014 might not be at an end.
The Yencer matter might be resolved in a court setting. (The Democrat’s attorney, Bob Beymer, has said the account of the Monday night incident provided by council members to police was not accurate.)
And on Friday, Mike Blanch — like Yencer, a Democrat who tried to win a seat on the council, which remains entirely Republican — filed a series of complaints with the Delaware County Election Board.
Four of the complaints stem from an email circulated by the board of directors for the Yorktown Junior Athletic Association, encouraging support for a quartet of GOP incumbents seeking re-election Tuesday — Ratchford, Lon Fox, Rich Lee and Dan Flanagan. Those complaints — which target the councilmen, not the J.A.A. — allege the email lacked a legally required disclaimer.
A fifth complaint also targets Fox, over a campaign mailing also alleged to lack a disclaimer.
And another complaint is reportedly being contemplated over still another email, this one circulated by an official with a local youth soccer organization, also touting the four Republicans, and — you guessed it — lacking a disclaimer.
Great. In addition to the soap opera elements of Yorktown politics, all we need is to see some of that well-known international “soccer riot” drama injected into the town’s politics. And by “all we need,” we mean, yes, we do need that.
The authors of this column did surprisingly well in predicting the outcome of Tuesday’s local contested races.
Walker — still smarting from forecasting a win for Sharon McShurley in the 2011 mayoral election — rebounded by correctly picking the outcome of nine of 11 races on Tuesday’s ballot.
Roysdon elected to forecast the outcome of 10 of those races, and got seven right.
First out of the gate?
In Delaware County, it sometimes seems that we’re in perpetual election mode. The good thing about that is it gives this column plenty of fodder. That bad thing is that it means we’re in perpetual election mode.
So we were not surprised when the first candidate in the 2015 city election declared during general election activities on Tuesday.
Ray Dudley, a county police deputy who competed in the Democratic Party primary for sheriff four years ago, is the committeeman for Precinct 15.
On Tuesday, Dudley told W/R he intends to seek the District 3 seat on Muncie City Council in 2015. That’s a post that’s long been held by Democrat Mary Jo Barton, who hasn’t yet announced if she’s seeking another term.
Dudley’s early candidacy doesn’t take into account Mayor Dennis Tyler’s intention to run again next year, of course. Tyler told W/R last week he hadn’t yet heard of an opponent, either among fellow Democrats or Republicans.
County Building grumbling
Some employees of Delaware County government were irritated and concerned Friday after Chief Deputy Sheriff Jason Walker announced, via email, that due to budget constraints, “there will no longer be door security” at the front doors of the building effective Nov. 17.
Security bailiffs equipped with metal detectors had monitored the arrival of visitors to the County Building for several years, perhaps since soon after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
That level of security is expected to continue across Washington Street at the Delaware County Justice Center, which houses the county’s five courts and the sheriff’s department.
Walker’s message did reflect the County Building’s “metal detectors and X-ray machine” would be moved to the third floor, for use when the child-support court is in session.
To contact the authors of this column: Keith Roysdon at (765) 213-5828 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Douglas Walker at (765) 213-5851 or email@example.com.