To the Editor:

Doctrinaire party politics, so prevalent in our national elections, really has no place in local elections.

After all, there isn't a Republican versus a Democrat way to resolve a local zoning or school board or public health issue.

Unfortunately, just this sort of politics-as-usual is occurring in Washington. The Republican Party refused to nominate their 11-year veteran on the zoning commission, Valerie Friedman.

Instead, they filled her slot with a fellow who has no experience in zoning.

As someone who has served with Valerie on the zoning commission for 10 years, I deplore this purely political gamesmanship.

Those of you who serve on any board know that, when you look around the table at your monthly meetings, there are some folks who are just along for the ride, and others whom you can depend on to do the heavy lifting.

Valerie is one of the latter: she prepares thoroughly for meetings; she reviews files and applications; she studies our regulations; and, most importantly, she spends time actually pondering the issue on our agenda before we convene. That's dedication.

When she speaks up at our meetings, which she always does, others listen.

They don't always agree, but they listen, because Valerie offers thoughtful analysis and a decidedly independent point of view.

She may not always change minds, but she helps every other zoning commissioner to focus and better decide which way to vote.

I know what a loss it would be for Washington to let Valerie's experience, sharpness and diligence go to waste. Fortunately, my party (Democratic) nominated Valerie, despite her party affiliation.

The Democrats believe petty politics should not get in the way of choosing the best qualified volunteers to carry on the hard work required on our boards and commissions.

On Nov. 3, I will vote for Valerie Friedman because she takes her elected office seriously and stays sharp even when our meetings run past midnight.

Andy Shapiro

Zoning commission alternate

Washington Depot