Sept. 2, 2004 The no-shows at the Coral Bay Community Council's Primary Election Candidate's Night on Thursday probably didn't win many votes with those who got their cold shoulder.
"That's very rude. If they can't keep their promises," Coral Bay resident Kathy Damon said as about 50 people gathered at the John's Folly Learning Institute listened.
Of the four Democratic at-large candidates, only Craig Barshinger appeared.
"If I make a commitment, I'm going to stick with it," he said.
Organizers said that at-large candidate Harry Daniel called on Thursday to say he had been invited to a similar forum on St. Croix and would have to cancel his commitment to the St. John group.
Additionally, organizer Bonnie Blair said that at-large candidate William Belardo's son called Thursday to say he had a family emergency in St. Croix.
And Alvis Christian, an advisor to at-large candidate Lorelei Monsanto, said that she had not made a concrete commitment to the St. John group. Instead, she told them she hoped to come, but had told the St. Croix group she would attend their event before they were sure of their date.
Both Democratic candidates for the delegate to congress seat appeared. They are the current office holder, Donna M. Christensen, and Basil Ottley Jr.
The questions and the comments covered a lot of territory.
Coral Bay resident Bonny Corbeil said that she sees the delegate's post as the link between the Virgin Islands and the mainland.
"You, I think you should be running for governor," she told Ottley.
Corbeil, a Canadian by birth who has lived in St. John for decades, drew applause when she announced that she was a newly naturalized U.S. citizen who planned to cast her first vote as an American in the upcoming elections.
Christensen acknowledged that she drew flack for sponsoring a federal bill that calls for a territorial chief financial officer. She said that if she hadn't, she wouldn't be facing Ottley in the Democratic primary and other candidates in the November general election.
"Everyone of us has a right to know where the money is going," she said.
Ottley said he wouldn't have confidence in a CFO.
"We don't know the kind of person we're going to get," he said.
Barshinger said that protecting Coral Harbor from silt and runoff was one of the area's most pressing issues. He said the problem could be alleviated by paving the roads and suggested that the federal government make Coral Bay a pilot project.
Christensen noted that some of Coral Bay's roads carry federal designation, but it was up to the local government to decide which ones get paved.
While all the main roads are paved, many of those that snake up the hillsides through continually developing residential areas remain dirt. That dirt washes down the hills into Coral Harbor in heavy rains.
Barshinger said that he would not force boaters out of Johnson Bay, as the Planning and Natural Resources Department is trying to do, until a plan for the area is developed.
"It should be a group decision. It should not be DPNR pushing them around," he said.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice.. click here.