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_#< TENBY RATEPAYERS' ASSOCIATION. IF AFTER many months of agitation, and in face of many difficulties, Tenby is able to look to a Ratepayers' Associa- tion as a sort of protection in municipal affairs. The new Association has been established on sound, popular lines, and with sensible handling ought very speedily to become a power in the town. One plank in its constitution deserves special mention. It is to be absolutely non political. For many years now Tenby affairs-no matter what phase we deal with—have been tainted with political colouring. Party has obtruded everywhere, with the re- sult that what might otherwise have been good objects for the town have been wrecked and rendered unwork- able. But the new Ratepayers' Asso- ciation is to be kept clear of party politics, and if this important rule is strictly and consistently observed it will mean everything to the movement. In the past politics have been imported into every local election the issue has been made in each case as betweeq Conservative and Liberal, and under the segis of the local Tory Club, whose electioneering machinery has effectu- ally been brought into play, the pre- sent majority in the Council have been kept compactly together, until they are to-day numerically so strong that to obtain a working majority will take the Opposition two or three elections. Had party politics been eliminated from the municipal contests of the past at Tenby, it is not too much to say that the state of things within the Council would wear a different aspect to what they do to-day. Dominated by the Conservative leaders, the rank and file of that party have voted for candidates quite independent and irre- spective of their qualifications for muni- cipal duties, with the result that the best interests of the town have suffered. In municipal affairs there is no room for Imperial politics. They are deci- dedly out of place as part of such a combination; and it is an edifying sign of the times that throughout the country municipal contests are now to be fought without the introduction of party politics. In some boroughs they have even gone the length of passing resolutions to this effect. Political partisanship has undoubtedly been a great drawback to municipal progress at Tenby. Through its help an un- profitable majority have been kept in power in the Town Council, and, of course, the best interests of the place have suffered accordingly. We hope, however, that the approaching munici- pal election will be fought on different lines to those of the past. As far as the nominees of the Ratepayers' Associa- tion are concerned there will certainly be an absence of anything in the nature of political partisanship. Their one aim will be to obtain seats, and thus give their fellow-ratepayers a wider re- presentation on the Council than they have enjoyed for years. The minority have an equal right to representation with the majority, and we hope that things are going to be adjusted on a more equitable basis than has been the case in the past. The new Ratepayers' Association comes with healing on its wings." Party strife is the last thing it wishes to engender. It has been brought into existence to right, if possible, municipal wrongs; to obtain justice for all classes in the town, and to see that Tenby, as a health resort, depending for prosperity upon visitors, receives that measure of fair play through which alone it can attain to prosperity. The new Association has much work to do. There are many grievances which await redressing. Public scandals such as the Borough Treasureship Salary and the Refuse Removal Contract must be dealt with, and their continuance made an impos- sibility. The Association must make up its mind to probe every scandal to its foundations. It must find out why J6200 per annum is being paid to an absent Corporation official; what ser- vices (if any) are received in return; and whether the money goes into the pocket of the said official or the coffers of the bank which he represents. Again, the Association must see to it that in future men who submit ten- ders to the Corporation are given fair play and justice. The Refuse Removal Contract Tender of a few months ago constituted one of the most glaring of public scandals, and was a blot on the fame and name of any town. The new Ratepayers' Association must see to it that there is no repetition of such a proceeding. If all those (more than half the burgess electorate) who signi- fied through the ballot papers their approval of the formation of a Rate- payers' Association will also join it and vote for its municipal candidates on November 1st next, it is bound to score a tremendous success at the poll. Com- bined in such strong numbers indi- viduals ought not to fear intimidation and threats if they join the new move- ment. Let them remember this in the enlightened Twentieth Century, and that their most cherished civic posses- sion should be Liberty in thought and action. They must turn a determined and resolved face against the old, old story that the ballot is not secret, that the powers that be know eventually how a man votes, and take vengeance on him accordingly. The ballot is secret, and the Ratepayers' Association will make it a special point to take advantage, in the -interest of its mem- bers, of every privilege which the Act of Parliament confers. Bearing this in mind, we trust that none will allow themselves to be prevented from voting as they would wish by any fear that it will become an open secret in a certain quarter as to the manner in which they marked the ballot paper. This is an impossible feat, unless, of course, they choose to give away the show them- selves. The ballot is absolutely invio- late, and its secrets will be preserved beyond a doubt. Let the Ratepayers' Association spare neither time nor effort to educate the town to a conception of its duty at the forthcoming municipal election. A change in the constitution of the Corporation of Tenby is a cry- ing need, and until an element of opposition has been imported into the Council Chamber we must expect a continuance of the public scandals which have disfigured and disgraced the municipal annals of Tenby for so many years.

LOCAL SIFTINGS. -I""--

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