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Hammers: Herbst Didn't Make A Threat

by Elaine Hammers

To the Editor:

Over the last few weeks I have seen a number of letters alleging “fear and intimidation” from the Herbst administration.  One in particular was from a Trumbull resident Cindy Katske.  What Mrs. Katske neglected to mention in her letter was that she is a former District 6 Democratic Town Council candidate who ran on Mr. Baldwin’s ticket in the 2009 municipal election, and that since the day Tim Herbst took office as First Selectman she has been a frequent, and in fact an almost daily, critic of his administration and its policies.   

Mrs. Katske claimed that she received a threatening letter from the First Selectman responding to actions that she took as a former PTA Council president but never provided specifics as to the content of the letter.  This is part of a pattern and adds to a growing list of uncorroborated claims of “fear and intimidation” that rely on hearsay and are exclusively made by other members of the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee and active members of the Thornton campaign.

 I recently had the opportunity to review the letter Mrs. Katske referenced.  Not only did the First Selectman not threaten Mrs. Katske in this letter, he actually made it a point of thanking her for her service to the Town.  The letter stated, “while your community service is commendable and I appreciate your willingness to run as a candidate for the Town Council in District 6 in this past November’s election, you should not use what should be a non-political organization and its email distribution list to espouse your political beliefs.”  The First Selectman’s point was clear - - the PTA is not a political organization and those that lead it should make every effort not to make it political.  Mrs. Katske calls this threatening someone?

Very rarely do you hear Mrs. Thornton, or her surrogates, state their actual plans for the Town if elected.  Instead, Mrs. Thornton’s campaign is more focused on tearing the incumbent First Selectman down at every turn and attacking the First Selectman’s character.  This is a strategy of desperation that you employ when you are behind in the polls. 

Mrs. Thornton does not want to talk about this First Selectman’s record of success.  Stabilizing taxes, turning deficits into surpluses, improving the Town’s financial health, preserving the Town’s bond rating, increasing funding for education, improving the Town’s economic development are just some of the  accomplishments that define this First Selectman’s track record of success. 

I am proud to be running on Tim Herbst’s ticket this November.  It’s time for the Thornton campaign to stop coming up with manufactured political attacks and start talking about the issues.  The people of Trumbull deserve better. 

Elaine Hammers

Chairwoman, Board of Finance

Mark E Smith November 03, 2011 at 05:34 PM
JimFlynn, You obviously don't have a clue of what goes on in this town and with some of the players. Thats okay you keep living the life of an ignorant happy man. BTW, I didn't slam anyone, believe me you would know it if I did. You just are a wimp with thin skin. I just told the truth, Mr. Palo and Mr. Kelly can correct me, however they know what I say is the truth. As I have said in the past, you can't make this stuff up. So, please keep drinking Marybeth's and the Democrats "Cool-Aid". They have nothing on the real issues so all they do is attack people. The proof is with this website, their mailings which BTW are going over like a lead balloon with many in town including some democrats. Everyone sees their desperation. It is plain to See the Marybeth Thornton condones this type of politics because she has nothing to offer but negativity. Lets start comparing her mailings to Tim Herbst's mailing and it is quite evident who is negative with no content and who has a positive view for Trumbull.
vincent November 03, 2011 at 05:35 PM
M.shapiro, You called me a coward about something I didn't write or delete. Admitting your wrong shows integrity. Where are you?
Patty Sheehan November 03, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Mr.Smith....you need to take a step back from the computer. I know the last week before an election, passions run high.
Mark E Smith November 03, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Patty, So now we allow our members of Board and Commissions to post their Voice Mails on the internet for political gain? Now that Mr. Kelly has done so, or has let someone take one of his voice mails and post them on the net; How can we as taxpayers know that he will bring a unbiased view to the Board of Education. How can we know that Mr. Kelly will listen to the First Selectman or anyone without bias? By this happening he has lost all integrity and as a public official shown poor judgement in this bad example. What Mr. Kelly is saying is that in order to get what you want you have to do whatever it takes including replaying your voice mails on the internet. Am I not correct? Why else would Mr. Kelly post on the internet a recording of one of his voice mails? Now anyone who calls Mr. Kelly (tom-kelly.net) can only assume that their conversation will be recorded and replayed on the internet for the whole world to listen to. Am I wrong, and if so how?
I Love Trumbull November 03, 2011 at 07:24 PM
This should be an easy one for everyone out there. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, Jim Flynn’s attack on Mr. Smith’s military career can not be condoned. Let’s see who stands up.
Thomas Tesoro November 03, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Let me say this while Mr. Smith's actions on the BOF were curious and his posts silly, there are no yellow Marines.
Jim Flynn November 03, 2011 at 07:28 PM
I apologize for the statement about yellow Marine.
I Love Trumbull November 03, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Jim Flynn, I'm confused. (again) You apologize on this thread at 3:28pm. But on the other thread 2 minutes earlier you say: Jim Flynn 3:26pm on Thursday, November 3, 2011 Sorry I Love Trumbull, that will never happen. Mr. Smith has managed to belittle and offend every poster who disagrees with point of view. His comments about Mary Beth are beyond appalling. Just because he agrees with your candidate doesn't give him a free pass. If you want to play in the sandbox you better be ready to get dirty.
Mark E Smith November 03, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Mr. Flynn, The beauty is that I gave up four years of my life defending your right to say such immature things. As for Mr. Kelly, he knows very well I would have no problem standing in front of a crowd at a Board of Ed. meeting the exact same thing. However, I feel that since Mr. Kelly uses this type of forum most of the time and does not engage people that often fact-to-face with his issues I feel very comfortable discussing this issue here? Again, I didn't create the tom-kelly.net website. I did not put a recording of one of my voice mails on it for the whole world to listen to. I haven't aired my grievences with anyone for years and years as he has. So, please don't charecterize me as the bad guy here. I am not smart enough to make this stuff up myself, I am only discussing my opinion on something I feel is not right especially by an elected official. Lastly, I think Mr. Kelly knows from our past that I have no problem addressing any issue with anyone face-to-face. Again from all the U.S. Marines and all the Military veterans past and present I wish you good luck and we are glad that you enjoy your liberty to speak your mind even if didn't donate a drop of sweat for it. Mark
I Love Trumbull November 03, 2011 at 07:40 PM
So Jim, Do you know all these threads can be viewed by everyone? You can't say one thing on one thread and the opposite on another thread. Which is it? Sorry or not sorry? To quote a famous and distinguished attorney – “that is just curious and silly.”
Jim Flynn November 03, 2011 at 07:54 PM
I agree with Mr. Tesoro, There are no yellow Marines and for that I apologize wholeheartedly.
Thomas Tesoro November 03, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Just for the record, Mr. Flynn's errant comment does not excuse Mr. Smith's posts toward Ms. Thornton. The Marines I know show respect. It is one thing to disagree with a persons politics, it is another to show disrespect for a person's profession or gender.
M Shapiro November 03, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Mark, please take a break and go for walk in the valley. You are sounding very reminiscent of that fateful day a few months ago. You're a great guy away from the politics but you just need to let it go. This is accomplishing nothing.
Mark E Smith November 03, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Tom T, Give me one example where I was errant towards Ms. Thornton's Gender? Just one, because I would never use anyone's gender against them.....So, please copy and paste the quote (and link) right here for me to see..... And, if I did said something so stupid and irresponsible I will apologize to Ms. Thornton personally....If not, I would hope that the same is afford to me.
vincent November 03, 2011 at 08:33 PM
M.Shapiro, Yesterday you called me a coward for deleting something I did not write. Once again, I have never deleted a post or made a comment remotely like that. You were wrong. For someone who calls someone else a coward be man enough to admit you were wrong.
Patty Sheehan November 03, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Mr. Smith, since you directly addressed me, I will do so back. 1. Re: posting Voice Mails on the internet for political gain? - What does Mr.Kelly gaining politically from this? If there are others that think like you, then Mr.Kelly may be hurting himself politically. People will listen to the FS's voice on that recording & glean different things from it, depending upon their perspective. 2. Listening without bias? - Does anyone listen without bias? Were you, the FS or other BoF folks able to listen to the BoE without bias? Was your dislike of the Democrat BoF member, using his computer & thus causing you to leave the meeting, not predicated in bias? Did the BoF member's "wrong answer!" response to Mr. Iassogna back in the day show a lack of bias? 3. Loss of integrity & poor judgement - This is your opinion. Please don't post it as fact. There are many examples of public officials showing poor judgement @ the local, state & national levels. 4. Recording conversations - My parents taught me "Never record anything you wouldn't want published on the front page of the paper". People who feel threatened, react. I disagree with Mr.Flynn's characterization of a "Yellow Marine" because there are no yellow Marines. I do appreciate your service to the country & am glad you take every opportunity to remind us of how grateful we should be, lest we forget. . Remember Mr.Smith "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are". Anais Nin I believe.....
bryan henry November 03, 2011 at 09:05 PM
"Expecting more from an attorney..." Herbst writes; yes, for those of us in the legal field, that does have rumblings off in the distance and I'm not talking about hearing the Trumbull marching band-especially when combined that last line of being "met with appropriate action..." Placing the attorney line at the end of the second paragraph within the "sight line"-this guy is good, scary good. Oh yes, my neighbors, this is a poison letter dripping with threat and innuendo and one carefully crafted to signal "back off" with an intention to bring this letter out at election time when he would know that he would be attacked on these issues. Having a letter of an earlier date to use to bolster his position is a master stroke. In fact, if he was clever and Machiavellian, what better way to dispose of a known threat/competitor than to give them something to yell about-let them light a match and then extinguish the fire with a pail of water and a letter you publish at just the right moment? We have here a "Make my day" moment. Now, many of you will say I am a closet Herbst hater, conspiracy theorist or one of 75+ impassioned locals. No, there's just too much noise, too few adults-wait until these kids grow up-they'll be wild eyed and coming after you with pitchforks. I admit to "Herbst fatigue" a camouflage sky blue cell tower taller than the Statue of Liberty-really, proudly reduced two feet! by Herbst but I drive home in the dark; cloudy days-blue sky color, hmm...
Tom Kelly November 03, 2011 at 10:17 PM
Mark, I don't know where to begin with your diatribe, but I will start by correcting several factual errors. First, there are no chairs at or near a craps table in a casino. Chairs are not allowed at a craps table unless a pit boss makes a special exception for someone who is disabled. Secondly, I was not posting on Trumbull Chat all day. I may have read it several times, but my posts that day were very limited. As for the posting of the voice mail, it was not sent to my job, but to my iPhone. That's my property and I pay the bill, not my employer. I did not post that for "political gain." I'm not even running for office. I posted it because I decided that it was my recourse to stand up to the bullying and mistreatment I was receiving. When I first got that voice mail, I wrote the First Selectman an official letter to his town email address....I received no response. Over the course of the next several months, I sent Mr. Herbst another letter, again receiving no response. Mr. Holden tried to prevent me re-joining the Republican Party, and Mr. Testani wrote a letter to the editor accusing me of being a hypocrite. I made every attempt to resolve this in a private manner, and everytime I received the same response: We will not talk to you unless you agree to stop being critical of the First Selectman on Trumbull Chat. I have that in writing. Over the last three weeks, the First Selectman has been writing me emails and calling me on the phone.
Tom Kelly November 03, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I promise you that I am always respectful, have never failed to say hello or ignored anyone, and have tried to be polite in every situation. I will be happy to speak with the First Selectman or any other elected official because at the end of the day, I want what is best for Trumbull, especially our school children. I think everyone can do better moving forward, and I hope everyone does do better. The biggest losers if politicians don't work together are the citizens of Trumbull. When you abruptly resigned from the Board of Finance, did that hurt either party? No. I think it hurt the people of Trumbull. We should not talk about political winners and losers. The people of Trumbull deserve to be winners, and that's it. As for the voice mail, if Mr. Herbst wants me to take that down, all he has to do is ask and I will be happy to do so.
J Strouse November 04, 2011 at 01:54 AM
Mr. Kelly You note that he's been calling you and emailing you over the past few weeks? Have you answered those calls and, if so, what is the status? Thanks.
Tom Kelly November 04, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Yes, I have spoken to him several times and exchanged emails.
Tom Kelly November 04, 2011 at 11:11 AM
That being said, Mr. Strouse, the public doesn't really care about my phone calls or emails. They do, however, care if elected officials work together for the benefit of Trumbull. I could point out countless examples from the past two years as to how the leadership was not present in town hall to make that happen. The budget process was filled with acrimony, and aggressive taunts and accusations from the First Selectman in the newspaper. As one of my friends said to me, "Why does Mr. Herbst run the government like Trumbull is at war?" We had a locked Board of Finance for the first time in 18 years, and this despite the fact that every Board had the maximum number of Republicans, Mr. Herbst's own party, allowed by law. If Mr. Herbst couldn't facilitate a smooth budget process, it was due to one reason, and one reason only--he couldn't even work with people in his own party. That's very telling. And it's completely true...Ted Lovely from BOE ran with Herbst in 2009, so did I, Andy Palo from the Board of Finance ran with Herbst in 2009, so did Rob Pescatore, so did Martha Mark, and Lisa Valenti was Vice Chairman of the TRTC until 2009---everyone now endorsing Mary Beth Thornton, and the last two have become Democrats and are now running on their ticket. Whomever is elected in November MUST do better. If it is Mary Beth, I know she will. If it is Herbst, we should wipe the slate clean and do better for the people of Trumbull. It's time for mature leadership.
J Strouse November 04, 2011 at 11:45 AM
I'm part of the public too, and I actually do care about whether the two of you were able to patch things up....In fact, I care more about that than his obvious frustration as expressed by him on your voicemail or the obvious disappointment expressed by you by virtue of you making it public. I think the public would be most interested in knowing whether your follow up calls with Mr. Herbst have been civil. I am hoping so...b/c the public is tired of both sides fighting.
Tom Kelly November 04, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Mr. Strouse, this really isn't about me. It's about mature leadership, and the need for it in this town. There are many of us who have been treated in the same fashion. If we have dared to publicly disagree, we have been ostracized, criticized, ignored, mocked, etc. There are pages and pages full of Republican insiders who regularly mock those who have dared to disagree, including calling us names. If this is the way Mr. Herbst wishes to conduct his affairs, the people suffer, because as you see, he can't even work effectively with the biggest majority his party is allowed to have on every Board and Commission. If however, he chooses to do what is right, and engage in constructive and respective dialogue, I can assure him he will be met with willing partners who want to work with him to make our town a better place. I think, however, that the point will be made moot if Mary Beth Thornton is elected on Tuesday and I hope she is. She is a capable and mature leader who has always demonstrated her willingness and ability to work with everyone to find solutions.
J Strouse November 04, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Mr. Kelly, it certainly is about you. And me. And our families. And friends. Maturity matters. Not just within the Town Hall. But through all of Trumbull. Frankly, the comments I've seen on here and actions taken by some (certain Democrats included) arguably reflect lack of good judgment and childish behavior. We can all work together if we ALL start acting like adults. Reasonable adults. Rational adults. That said, people get angry at each other. People say things they shouldn't. People do things they shouldn't. So that is why I am hopeful that you and Mr. Herbst worked out the issues between you. He left you a voice mail in which he was clearly frustrated and angry (though I wouldn't say he threatened you in any way). You aired that voice mail for anyone to hear. And now I'm hoping the two of you can put it behind you. So....how did it go? Did you patch things up? I sincerely hope so. In any event, in the end, this election is not about a first selectman who left a frustrated voice message or a voter who made public a voice message; it's about our current economic situation. Most voters of this town cannot support paying higher taxes. And I truly believe that if Thornton is elected, we'll be paying more. While I respect both candidates (and their experience and capability), for me it's really about this one fundamental issue. Fiscal responsiblity is key. And Herbst ranks higher on that issue in my opinion.
tchatter November 04, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Strouse - You have not backed up a SINGLE comment you've repatedly made like "I truly believe that if Thornton is elected, we'll be paying more." yet you plead with voters to believe you. Please spare us the Mayberry routine and put your money where your mouth is and back up something you say.........otherwise, take your own advice and show better judgement.
HL November 04, 2011 at 01:52 PM
She was hiding in my front yard recently, when she came by and took the time to speak with us about issues.
1WayElephant November 08, 2011 at 08:44 PM
The election is almost over Elaine. We can now admit that they were threats because we are going to get 4 more years! Yes! I am celebrating early! Our ruse worked! You better watch out dems, because the sheriff is back in town!
Amy Palmer November 08, 2011 at 09:52 PM
1WayElephant ~ You can not be serious....what the heck does your commenst mean?
1WayElephant June 06, 2013 at 11:10 AM
You know what it means Amy. Don't pretend.

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