So now we sit back and see what unfolds in the Referendum Friday. The Democratic sheep (Kitty Kiefer refers to them in her email above as her “little flock”) have their orders to vote “No” on all three ordinance questions, while their overseers chuckle to themselves about Curtis Rand’s and their cleverness getting over on the rest of the town and Mark Lauretano. But they cannot delude themselves that no one knows what they have done. We have exposed them for who they are – obstructionists and political manipulators of the worst ilk. Afraid to forthrightly compete on the issue and let the chips fall where they may. Welcome to Chicago politics on the Housatonic.
The funny thing is that they transfer their own obsession with political manipulation and gamesmanship to the local Republicans, expecting some last minute ploy to overturn the referendum apple cart. Kitty Kiefer reveals those seemingly paranoid suspicions in the emails above that she sent to Democratic Registrar Margie Vail.
It never occurs to her that anyone would not be trying to pull a fast one, because that is the only way the SDTC and its Liberal Progressive Unaffiliated voter allies operate. The fact that it was the Republicans who just wanted a referendum in the first place, and who would gain nothing by trying to stop or interfere with it now, never enters her seemingly conniving mind.
By the way, if anyone wants to make a case that Unaffiliated voters are more virtuous, honorable, trust worthy and unbiased politically than Republicans or Democrats, take it elsewhere. It is not going to sell here. The façade that one is an unbiased or Independent thinker and voter simply by putting that moniker on one’s voter registration form does not fool anyone.
Here’s the game being played. By forcing the Vail-Morrill COE onto the Referendum ballot, in spite of the petitioned purpose of the referendum to have a straightforward up or down vote on the Lauretano Coe and Commission ordinances, Curtis Rand and Jim Dresser have abused their power by unnecessarily interfering with the petition process for the first time in Salisbury history. They did it to confuse the voters and split the votes of those people in favor of some type of Code of Ethics.
On top of that, they have been able to manipulate the ballots designed by Democrat Town Clerk Patty Williams to include the choice of “No” on all three questions. Plus, the Town Clerk has apparently refused to cooperate with Selectman Lauretano’s request that the Ethics Commission ordinance question be on a ballot separate from the two Codes of Ethics, because it is NOT a Code of Ethics and was always intended to be on a ballot separate from the Lauretano COE. Just like the two separate and different ordinance questions at the Town Meeting where we voted to change the way we elect our BOS were on two completely separate ballots, that was all Selectman Lauretano asked. But the Town Clerk predictably succumbed to the relentless pressure from Curtis Rand, who appeared to have taken up residence in the Town Clerk’s Office last week.
For all intents and purposes, that adds to the ballot the question as to whether or not the public wants any COE or Ethics Commission at all. And that specific question is at best improper and at worst illegal because it was not on the referendum petition, nor was it passed by the BOS as an addition to the ballot – which perhaps they should have done at the time just to be perfectly upfront and honest about it.
Instead of simply having a ballot with the two COEs and a box next to each for people to check off their preference between the two (the way candidate ballots are set up), there is a second box for “No.” Presenting it this way, without actually spelling it out, makes it nonetheless possible for those opposed to any COE for Salisbury – like Curtis Rand, his cronies, the SDTC and their “flock” of mindless sheep – to vote “No” in a large block of votes on all three questions, counting on the pro-COE voters to split their votes between the two COE ordinances.
The end result will probably be that even if more voters want a Code of Ethics, neither of the two COEs on the ballot will prevail because there will be more “No” votes than the number of votes for either COE. Especially since we have Mr. Dresser sending out emails (see above) to business people and others outside Rand’s herd of sheep, encouraging them to vote for Vail-Morrill. Anything to divide that COE vote so the “No” votes win the day!
Are we impressed by your cleverness, Curtis, Jim, Kitty and Company? No, we are not. Just disgusted that you seem compelled to con the public this way. Sickened that the Town Clerk appears to be complicit in the ploy. Sickened that such a large number of our so-called friends and neighbors actively participate in these underhanded shenanigans, believing it is a wonderful thing and that they are somehow superior beings by stooping so low.
Oh, and since you appear concerned, Kitty, we have never and do not plan to sabotage the vote during the referendum or at any other election or referendum. So your services to keep an eye on things, although no doubt welcome to Registrar Vail, are not urgently needed by her. Both Registrars, their assistants and all the Moderators, have managed quite nicely for years without any abrasive, apparently paranoid help looking for trouble.
No, Kitty and your herd of sheep, we had no plan to pull a fast one at the COE Town Meeting. No interest in manipulating the referendum that we originally requested. Just wanted a fair vote without distractions, confusions or back door insertion of questions onto the ballot. We just wanted the simple, honest and straightforward two original referendum petition questions, and more than lip service paid to a reasonable date for absentee voters living at great distance from Salisbury.
The approximately two hundred twenty-six (226) signers of the petition wanted the same to be offered to the townspeople, but Curtis Rand could not allow it to happen. He could not take any risk that he and his cronies might actually be held to a uniformly applied standard of professional behavior for the first time in the history of Salisbury. It is truly astounding to see the level of panic and obstruction this possibility has raised among so many people who are involved in the governance of Salisbury. Absolutely astounding.
I nonetheless have hope that the many people in Salisbury who actually use their brains constructively, and who have paid attention to what has been going on with the Codes of Ethics and Ethics Commission, will be wise enough to cast their “Yes” vote for the Lauretano COE and the Lauretano Commission, and leave all “No” boxes empty. Or you can always just vote “Yes” on all three questions to totally offset the block of “No” votes Mr. Rand’s sheep herd will be casting and that would really make this an interesting referendum.