We've editorialized in the past about our belief that Barnstable County Commission incumbent Ron Beaty should not be returned to office. We haven't changed our tune; we want to reiterate, two weeks before election day, that the county commission race is the most important local contest on the Nov. 3 ballot, and removing Beaty is critical for the continued function of county government on Cape Cod.
Of the four county commission candidates on the ballot – Beaty, Democrats Mark Forest and Sheila Lyons, and Independent Unifying Thinking candidate Abraham Kasparian Jr. – Forest and Lyons are by far the most experienced and the most stable. That may sound odd, but in today's political climate, when legitimate congressional candidates spout QAnon nonsense and the incumbent president is as wacky as a soup sandwich, it needs to be said.
Mark Forest has been a part of the Cape's political scene for many years, working on the town level as a town manager in several communities as well as serving for many years on the staffs of Representatives Gerry Studds and William Delahunt. Suffice to say that he knows the players and he knows the issues, and there can be no better place for him than a seat at the table of county government. Sheila Lyons is a past commissioner and, like Forest, is well acquainted with the issues facing the county as well as individual towns. She would be well prepared to step in and keep the county functioning smoothly for all Cape Codders. Both Democrats would join Chatham's Ron Bergstrom, also a Democrat; is that worrisome? We don't think so. County issues are rarely partisan – at least until Beaty showed up on the scene – and in the past the commission has been dominated by the other party with little or no difference in the services it provides.
The Nov. 3 ballot features little else in the way of competitive local races. Both Senator Julian Cyr and Representative Sarah Peake are unopposed, and both Senator Ed Markey and Representative William Keating are not facing substantial challenges. We're in favor of ballot Question 1, providing independent auto repair shops with full access to vehicle data. Fear that the data would end up in the wrong hands by opponents is unfounded; we trust our neighborhood mechanic more than dealerships and big auto which now have access to that information. We also believe time for ranked choice voting is here, and endorse Question 2.
We offer our views as a guide to voters, but expect each and every one will weigh the choices themselves and come to, we hope, similar conclusions. Most of all, we encourage everyone to vote, either by mail, or in-person, either early – polls are open daily through Oct. 30 – or on election day Nov. 3.