Open Letter to the Community: Temperament matters

Monday, November 4, 2013
by Ellen Adnopoz, Emily Haft Bloom, Ann Styles Brochstein and Lauren Kraft-Rothberg

As you consider your options tomorrow on Election Day, we would like you to read a few thoughts we have, all of us residents who have lived here for decades, raised and educated our children here, and choose to remain here still, even as our children move on.

While the past year or so has been terribly contentious regarding the future of the former Reader’s Digest property, and the Affordable Housing issues, the last month has been beyond the pale. We are concerned that, while we are disappointed with some of the decision-making in our town government, the tone that some candidates have taken regarding the election is frankly terrifying, and we believe indicative of what kind of leadership we should expect if Team New Castle should win even one line of the ballot tomorrow.

We all believe this election is about temperament. We need leadership now that will build consensus among us, not divide us further. We need leaders who won’t belittle us when we disagree or worse, intimate that our opinions don’t matter. We need leaders who will work with others to pave the way forward for New Castle. Perhaps these are skills that come with age, and the wisdom of a few more years under one’s belt, a few more years of raising kids and managing those challenges, and a few years of getting one’s feet wet in community service work and serving on other boards.

The Team New Castle slate has stepped well beyond the boundaries of propriety and neighborly disagreement. The word bully leaps to mind in many instances; some comments in response to letters to the Editor of this website set the worst possible example for children, when bullying is a concern for many. From the safety of anonymous postings, and, we suspect, a very small handful of IP addresses, mud has been slung, personal attacks have been made, and while those of us who oppose the slate have not sat idle, we have not resorted to the sophomoric behavior this slate has relied upon to respond to any criticism. Our concern is this: if this slate feels it’s appropriate to behave this way as candidates, what might we expect from them if they are elected?

Claiming private property as their own for their signage, lawyers violating federal law to stuff flyers in mailboxes, screaming over anyone on the Town Board with whom they disagree, obfuscating when asked specific questions about plans for other projects around town, taking credit for events where no credit is due, using a dues-paying non-political organization to promote a candidacy, claiming there is not one person in favor of retail at CC when significant evidence to the contrary has come to light, lambasting a survey, and its creators, intended to help us figure out what’s next, and using sneaky verbal sleight of hand to promote themselves as endorsed by a seated Democratic official are but a few of the reasons you should think twice before voting. Handing these individuals the keys to Town Hall will make the last month seem like a cakewalk.  Team New Castle has demonstrated no leadership, integrity, or even a desire to listen to opinions contrary to their own. They have not held, nor have they run for public office, they have not run any of our town’s worthy charitable causes or political organizations, and they are running on a Republican ticket but continue to distance themselves from the GOP, saying repeatedly “We’re not Republicans, we are just running on their line!”

We are clearly at a crossroads given the enormity of issues at the fore that must be resolved. We believe the way to do that is with experienced leaders who show sensitivity to the interests of others, keep an eye on potential astronomical legal expenses that may impact our taxes, and behave in a way that makes us proud, not ashamed, to be from New Castle.

We are sure the hostile, negative, accusatory comments in response to this letter will come fast and furious, and anonymously, (we dare you to take credit for your comments) but we believe that the residents of this town should be fully informed before any levers are pulled or chads are punched. Choose the candidates that you truly believe will represent your best interests and in a way worthy of your trust and faith. As Euripides wrote, “When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”

Ellen Adnopoz
Emily Haft Bloom
Ann Styles Brochstein
Lauren Kraft-Rothberg

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