Here’s to a happy retirement for us both!
Photo: East Hampton-Portland Patch Blingee: Jeffery Lebowski
You heard right, Ms. Parker. Exhibiting behavior more commonly associated with Bell’s palsy, after months of silence, East Hampton Council Chairwoman Emeritus Melissa Engel — having discharged shoutypants Attorney Ken Barber — has retained the honorable lawfirm of Lobo and Associates (YES THAT IS THEIR NAME, FOR REALS) and is filing suit in federal court against Reimondo, Kelly and the Town of East Hampton, alleging violations of first amendment rights, malicious prosecution and severe emotional distress!
Your Dude has been more or less enjoying semi-retirement. Oh sure, Anger Bear, Babs and Curious George were kicking up a ruckus over Reimondo’s 90 day hire (ZOMG, ABROGATION! MALFEASANCE! BURN HIM!) though in this actually quite well done and circumspect article Jeff Mill lays out all the deets, including the tidbit that apparently East Hampton’s Democrats have avowed to remove Town Manager Maniscalco should they ever regain control of the Town Council. Yes, you heard that right.
So what’s the takeaway here? My guess: since birther-queen-dentist-lawyer-real estate agent Orly Taitz remains unavailable, Engel has been likely casting around for someone with the right combination of credentials and total lack of common sense to file suit on her behalf in federal court.
Hot tip for the guys at Lobo and Associates: I hope to heaven you are not taking this case on a contingency, lest you end up on the hook for penalties as well as all the defendant’s legal fees. You might even get in trouble with the state bar, as federal judges tend not to take kindly to frivolous filings.
Still, there’s a part of me that would love nothing more that the hear the tortuously convoluted legal argument wherein it is explained how precisely Engel’s first amendment rights were violated. Please tell me, Messrs. Lobo, when ever during her tenure did Councilor Engel lack access to a platform to promulgate her years long crusade against Reimondo, not to mention sanity and prudent governance in general? Most of us who experience reality normally recall it being the over way around: Engel is, in fact, frequently on record as seeking to stifle opposition in town meetings with the imposition of entirely arbitrary rules such as time limits and threats of removal. The documented evidence of this in meeting minutes alone is enough to keep your interns busy for a month.
Then there’s the matter of Reimondo’s settlement with Engel and the town. Please tell me, Los Lobos, that you have read that agreement, particularly the part where then-defendant Engel agreed to hold harmless, et cetera, et cetera. Might want to give that a look.
It is just like Bukowski said: Hatred is the only thing that truly lasts. See you around the inter tubes, friends.
By now this letter from Babs and Curious George has made the full rounds. The sauce is weak, and the letter does, of course, take entirely too long to get to its point:
That is where the planned process ended. After trying unsuccessfully to have a special Town Council meeting, the Town Manager released a letter to us saying that he had made the decision to rehire Chief Reimondo. This meeting was cancelled due to improper notice. As the news spread throughout our community, we realized that the process that the 7 members of the council had agreed upon was violated.
Our community needs to respond and continue to guide us back to making decisions that are right for you. This is not right!!
And we know this is true because of the punctuation used in the concluding paragraph. Double exclamation point = extra-truthiness!
The haters, particularly EOTT (likely our friend Rita, a long-time superhater ne plus ultra of the Chatham Party) have been burning up the comments over on Patch, but unlike the bad old freewheeling days on the Middletown Press, the same 2 or 3 are bouncing around in their own echo chamber.
Meanwhile, Maniscalco puts out this perfectly cogent response as Jeff Mill puts in all in context in this article over at the MP. Doubtful it will mollify those now inexplicably calling for Maniscalco’s resignation, (seriously folks, do you really want to trot down that road?) but better that he get out in front of it and invite his critics to address things with him directly. Oh, I’m sure one or two might venture in to rail and wail, but it tends to mute the frothier of the Candide keyboard commandos.
Never mind the long tradition of anonymity in political speech that goes back to before the founding of this nation. Never mind that some of the greatest authors ever to put pen to page wrote under pseudonyms. Ted Hintz, John Tuttle, Sheila Barton Engel and their friends want you all to know — for the umpteenth time — that writing under any sort of assumed name totally invalidates your opinion. Yes, even if your opinion is supported by a preponderance of evidence, or is shared by the overwhelming majority of governmental oversight bodies dealing with local municipalities. In their gospel, if you write under an assumed name, your opinion is utterly without merit, no matter how sensible your views.
As I often say, here’s the thing: almost 2 and a half years ago I sat in a high school auditorium with a few hundred or so concerned citizens of East Hampton and witnessed impassioned, reasoned pleas from a broad majority of residents regarding the attempts of the 2010 Council to get rid of Matt Reimondo for reasons that, in the years since, have stubbornly refused to materialize. I was left with the stunning, indelible impression not only of the utter tone deafness of elected Councilors to their own constituents, but of their unveiled contempt for the same. I found it sickening. In that moment, I vowed to act, and this this blog was born.
With the relative saneness of recent months it has been easy to forget how thick and fast the excrement was flowing back then; during the TC6 tenure it seemed that every day brought a new, fresh hell. From the moment they tried to fire Reimondo, town governance was effectively ground to a halt, and in the end several local political careers and reputations were forever trashed. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars lost in the vacuum of settlements and legal fees. But somehow, in the haters’ narrative it was all the fault of the Chatham Party and bloggers such as yours truly.
Flattering, to say the least, but like so many things promulgated by the East Hampton Candide Posse, totally fictional. To this day Beth Shephard’s CHRO case against the town remains unresolved, and not one person can satisfactory answer: if Jeff O’Keefe was in fact so utterly innocent, why did he resign? The FOIC and State’s Attorney clearly came down on the side of reality, and the TC6, less Barbara Moore, paid the price, with stunning losses both in the Ordinance 109 referendum and the council election a year later.
Today, with a new Town Manager seated, it seemed better days were ahead. But the moment he made a decision — a perfectly sensible, rational , legal decision well within his own authority that did not sit well with Reimondo’s enemies — suddenly all hell breaks loose and its 2010 again, except this time it is Ted Hintz and a half dozen or so of the East Hampton Candide membership desperately looking to gin up the specter of malfeasance where none exists. The press at large is, of course, nonplussed and has to rightfully trot out the entire narrative; this is once again parsed as “bias” rather than objective reality.
So what’s this really about?
My take: a sad, desperate attempt to retake even the smallest shred of ground the TC6 and their supporters long since rightfully lost. Matt Reimondo is all but done with East Hampton; at this point it is merely a question of when. Maniscalco decides to resolve the difficulty of filling the interim Chief position by effectively postponing Reimondo’s retirement by 90 days, and the haters literally go apeshit, hoping we won’t remember how their antics cost the town the last time. Ted Hintz attempts to co-opt the methodology of TBOT’s wildly successful 2010 grass roots campaign, failing to realize it is all but impossible to rally people to your cause when you have neither sanity, prudence or common sense on your side.
It’s like in that movie “200 Cigarettes” where the unpopular girl throws the New Year’s Party and no one shows up. Except Ted is the girl.
Sorry, I’m late to the party, but OMG you guys, Ted Hintz and a smattering of Tissa’s pals are JUST SO MAD because Matt Reimondo will be around for another 90 days. FROWNYFACE EMOTICON!
Obviously this is cause to IMPEACH the new Town Manager!!!!!
I would say more, but do I need to?
Melissa H. Ziobron (R) 5,902 (55%)
Christopher Goff (D) 4,846 (45%)
Happy to see meddling from the usual suspects did not affect the outcome. Were there in fact any write-ins for Devine?
In any event, a 10 point margin is quite respectable and a remarkable turn for an area that has not elected a Republican in a very long time.
Enjoy your victory MZ. You worked hard for this and earned every vote. I’m confident you will do a great job in Hartford.
SO! Some brave soul over at Goff Campaign Headquarters decided it was time to try dip their toes in the water of Lake Nastytown:
This little nugget attempts to make an inference against MZ that totally flies in the face of reality.
Anyone who knows Melissa knows that when she grabs on to a cause or an issue, she digs in long and hard and is the last one ever to give up. The only possible events this cheap shot could be meant to reference are MZ’s service on the East Haddam BoE and the MIddle School Conversion Committee. So let’s unpack this and set the record straight:
Oh, and while we’re throwing around inferences about things uncompleted, I guess when making this accusation against his opponent he forgot to check his own East Hampton property tax bills:
Again, seriously? At least this time East Hampton fared a little better than the surrounding towns. Jeff Butler’s replacement, William Quinlan, seems a bit more on the ball than his predecessor. East Hampton is down to 7% and East Haddam is at 33% which is much better than last time during Irene/Snowmageddeon 2011. Hope everyone came through safe and sound and it won’t be too long before we all have electricity back. The shoreline took the worst of it.
As noted in the previous post, the Ziobron/Goff Debate came out pretty much as expected. Ziobron comported herself with obvious energy and intelligence on a broad range of issues. Not widely reported was some last minute meddling on behalf of William Devine from everyone’s least favorite former East Hampton Town Council Chairperson:
But according to sources, Devine declined a proffered invitation from Patch, citing unavailability due to work. Which more or less makes for a giant “WTF?!” Why even bother asking if you’re just going to turn it down? EHRTC, if you are looking for credibility, this is not the way to go about it. Just saying.
In the aftermath, Ziobron has picked up a couple of key endorsements. This from the Chatham Party:
Members of the Chatham Party voted to support Melissa Ziobron, a Republican from East Haddam, based on her qualifications, experience and openness to engage with the Chatham Party, which holds majority on the East Hampton Town Council. Additionally, members expressed that Ziobron has been consistent in her message throughout the campaign by setting realistic goals about the economy, community and the environment that she can address as a freshman State Representative. Further still, members believe that Ziobron is better suited than her opponent for the office and will be more responsive to her constituents throughout the district.
And this morning, in the Norwich Bulletin:
In terms of pure energy, Ziobron wins. Although we found a number of issues where we disagreed with her, the energy and dedication she has demonstrated was far more appealing and impressive. We have no doubt that her commitment to serving the best interests of all citizens is sincere and serious.
Goff is equally dedicated by his years of service to the community. However, in our conversation with him we found that his knowledge of issues beyond that of local concerns not as well developed. As such on important issues of education, tax reform, state spending, and others, his responses were vague and priorities contingent on further study and review.
A closer reading of Goff’s recent record would be far less flattering, of course, but little reason at this point to drag out what many local voters already know so well.