I read with interest the column written by Peter Rosenstein about the upcoming mayoral election in Rehoboth Beach (“Paul Kuhns for mayor of Rehoboth Beach,” July 3). The column is so full of inaccuracies, falsehoods and dangerous innuendo, it is necessary to respond with facts.
The first, and most frequent, inaccuracy is that the incumbent mayor made several decisions regarding the need for, and construction of, the new City Hall. This could not be further from the truth. A City Hall Task Force was formed to oversee its design and construction. The Task Force includes every city commissioner, including the candidate Rosenstein endorses, Paul Kuhns. This group met over five years and held dozens of meetings, all open to the public. The minutes and presentations from these meetings are published on the city’s website. The budget for the City Hall, including an increase due to higher than expected construction bids, was approved unanimously by the mayor and commissioners, again including Paul Kuhns. And funding for the City Hall was approved by a public vote of the citizens.
Rosenstein alleges that the incumbent mayor “does not understand nor want to acknowledge how the business community in the city drives tourism.” Let’s look at the facts. Some of the gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses patronized by tourists like Rosenstein and the readers of the Blade, are celebrating many decades in business, including the Blue Moon. Others are expanding, by buying existing businesses or opening new establishments. This only happens in a city in which businessmen and women find a vibrant, active business community, and an environment where the city leadership allows them to be profitable and flourish.
The column alleges that Mayor Cooper does not have adequate relationships with local, county and state peers. This is also untrue. The good relationships Mayor Cooper and the city have with federal, state and county elected officials and agencies have resulted in well over $35 million coming to the city for important projects like the Rehoboth Avenue Streetscape and boardwalk improvements, dollars the taxpayers of the city are not asked to pay through local taxes.
Throughout the column, accusations are made of fiscal mismanagement or “incompetent” decisions. On this point, Rosenstein does not even agree with the facts as characterized by the candidate he supports. At a public meeting in March of this year, Kuhns stated, “The fiscal management that’s been going on over the past 25-30 years has been spectacular.”
Finally, and perhaps most dangerously, Rosenstein implies that the incumbent mayor is homophobic. There is absolutely no evidence offered to support this, because the inference of homophobia is simply not true. Rosenstein simply states, without specificity, that the mayor “has made homophobic remarks” over the years. I suggest he talk to the many LGBT business people who have prospered in Rehoboth Beach, the LGBT officials who have served with Mayor Cooper on commissions and boards, LGBT members of the city staff, and many ordinary LGBT citizens with whom Mayor Cooper and his wife have business and personal relationships. He will find that there is simply no evidence of homophobic beliefs or behavior.
Rosenstein states that people like himself who have been coming to Rehoboth Beach for decades “love that it is still in some ways the town we first fell in love with.” No one is more responsible for that than Mayor Cooper. I do not doubt that he loves Rehoboth Beach. However, he is seriously misinformed. Perhaps this is because he does not live in Rehoboth Beach, does not pay taxes in Rehoboth Beach, and has almost never attended a meeting of the City Commission or any other city agency. I suggest that he do more research. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously said, “’Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Let’s not follow the national political trend of repeating falsehoods about political opponents and hoping they stick. Let’s deal with the truth.
Frank Cooper is a resident of Rehoboth Beach, Del. He is not related to Mayor Sam Cooper.