They’re Still At It… And The Forum was STILL Theater

They’re Still At It…
And The “Forum” was STILL Theater
By Susan M. Halpern
Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)

It’s a shame we couldn’t have had a real forum and an election in which the candidates would actually discuss the issues.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.  It’s also a shame that there can’t be a dialog of real issues, rather than all these efforts to rewrite history in an attempt to bolster the tax-and-spend incumbents.

I find it utterly fascinating that folks writing a faux “newsletter” were provided with more information about this past Monday’s event than was shared with Paul Walden, Jim Duffy and Al Angell.  Direct questions posed by these candidates were continually left unanswered, nor was there even the slightest consideration given to their scheduling conflicts.  They were given ZERO input regarding any aspect of the event.  That included a format designed to make unqualified candidates appear more qualified by providing them with the questions in advance.  Sorry, but it wasn’t a forum.  It never was.  It was always an event for the incumbents.

In the end, these folks are confirming that the whole thing is a PR SCAM.  Here’s how it goes.  First, they set the event up without regard to the schedules of Walden, Duffy and Angell.  They ignore all their questions and concerns, and hide all the details.  That includes who will screen questions, who picked those folks, and what criteria they will employ to do so.  And by the way, there’s still no mention of who the mysterious organizer was, likely because he’s so closely connected to the current regime that what I’ve said all along will be confirmed!

Is it so hard to see that if this was a real “forum,” ALL candidates would have had the opportunity to have input into its planning, its staffing and its format?

But back to the fiction of the event.  Next, they try to create legitimacy by falsely claiming “it’s always been done this way,” when that isn’t true at all.  The event has been held sporadically, and it has always had a troubled and controversial history.  I, for one, have protested the deceptive format for years.  Anyway, next they get sponsors, who I can almost guarantee were not told about the inappropriate tactics and all the controversy.  That becomes a circular argument: you deceive them to obtain their participation, then argue that their participation somehow means it’s all legit.  Clever.

In the end, the point of all this always to drive away the “opposition” candidates, and then use their absence to run the smear campaign we are now witnessing.  And, of course, the inevitable claims of how Walden, Duffy and Angell fear debate??  It just isn’t true at all.  But, riddle me this: what do you call candidates who have to have the questions in advance??  Talk about fearing a debate!

I predicted all of this more than a month ago, when the maneuvering began.  If it walks like a scam and quacks like a scam, it’s a scam.

Add to all this the fact that the rhetoric is becoming even more shameful.  “Three white guys?”  Seriously?  And a letter sent to Republican primary voters claiming that those supporting Walden, Duffy and Angell are a bunch of Democrats?  What’s next, a letter to Democratic primary voters claiming the same folks are a bunch of Republicans?  It’s incredibly offensive and inappropriate on many levels, including the fact that Addison elections are non-partisan.

Meanwhile, Addison’s taxes have been on the rise since these folks took office, and they’ve overspent the budget the last two years.  Our tax rate has been mismanaged to the point that it was set above the rollback rate this year for the first time in our history.  They ignored the overwhelming opposition to the Sam’s redevelopment, instead adopting a pre-arranged, pre-scripted motion that was set in stone in advance of the public comments, and obviously without regard to those comments.  After which, they voted $6.5 million to the project without any idea where it would come from.  And are now disparaging the history of Addison, including prior management and staff who worked tirelessly for years to create the beauty you see around you.  Issues, anyone?

And, by the way, while all this is going on, Meier and his cadre continue to conceal from the public the 19-page memo written by Lea Dunn in January 2015 that will undoubtedly undermine the recycled, two-year-old claims of accountant Larry Kanter.  That’s the new brand of “transparency” these folks have adopted.  They provide one side of the story and hide the rest.  What an outrage.

Addison deserves honest dialog on these and so many other issues.