Full mailbag for this election week.
The Stamford Taxpayers Political Action Committee has taken responsibility for endorsing Independent Party candidates Joe Tarzia, Bob Kolenberg, and Cynthia Reeder, stating in a letter to Stamford Patch:
On Saturday, November 5, 2011, a political telephone call was sent out from the Stamford Taxpayers Political Action Committee that inadvertently had a City of Stamford telephone number as the call back number...we sincerely apologize to the city and to anyone who was misled by this error.
Many who received the automated calls immediately recognized the callers as STPAC, as they identified themselves at the conclusion of their message. Stamford Democratic Party president Jim Diamond described his own suspicions in his written reaction to statements made by the Stamford Independent Party in to his party's charge of unethical campaigning:
"What we need is a full blown investigation into the involvement of the candidates Tarzia, Kolenberg and Reeder into the use of the Government Center by political operatives to send out a call to thousands of voters which listed the Board of Finance as the caller. Somebody had to make the decision to list that number as the caller-ID number, which was deceptive at a minimum, if not illegal."
In his written response, Diamond further elaborated on his opinions regarding the SIP's Board of Finance Candidates:
"The Independent Party is not really independent, they are an arm of the Republican Party, and this so-called taxpayer's PAC are not independent of Tarzia, Kolenberg and Reeder. It's all the same people, a group we've all had enough of. The voters should retire them Tuesday and reboot Stamford with Mary-Lou Rinaldi, John Louizos and David Martin, a team of ethical and responsible public servants."
According to STPAC chair George Stadel, STPAC has endorsed Democratic Party candidates several times in the past.
Yesterday's Board of Finance election poll placed former Board of Finance chairman Joe Tarzia as a favorite to win a seat on the Board of Finance, behind David Martin (D) and John Louizos (D).
If made by most, if not all of Stamford's civil service unions are any indication, they would prefer that Joe Tarzia not be allowed anywhere near the Stamford Government Center. However, as evidenced by Tarzia and Kolenberg's promotion of the , they still have the ability to call for an assembly, and that assembly can be taken seriously.
Joe Tarzia may not be the only Board of Finance candidate who's earned the ire of a local civil service group. In response to a recent Scott Mirkin op-ed piece in the Stamford Advocate, Brendan Keatley wrote the following to Stamford Patch and the Advocate:
"Shame on Scott Mirkin for electioneering over the bodies of the 9-11 heroes.
This is the same Scott Mirkin, who as a member of the Stamford Board of
Representatives called our city’s fire fighters who risk their lives on a daily
basis terrorists merely because they sought an open public debate about the
wisdom of Mayor Pavia’s proposed fire service plan...as Stamford, like the rest of the country goes through challenging times, the last thing we need are elected leaders who spend more time name calling and demonizing than trying to constructively solve problems."
Meanwhile, Board of Finance candidate Cynthia Reeder(I) seems to have made no enemies in the course of her campaign, and chose to write the following in response to allegations that she, like Joe Tarzia and Bob Kolenberg, engaged in "deceptive campaign practices":
"Stamford faces serious financial issues...voters should be judging for themselves which candidates are most qualified and committed to fixing these problems and setting Stamford on a sound financial path. Partisan rhetoric and unfounded accusations about campaign practices are just noise in the system and a distraction from the real issues that voters care about."
The Board of Education's candidates maintained a far than their Board of Finance counterparts, and remained focused on three critical issues:
- The Achievement Gap
- The selection of a new superintendent
- Middle school reform
As the only candidate to receive endorsements from both the Stamford Education Association's Political Action Committee and Stamford Residents for Excellence in Education, Gary Klein may go into today's election with a considerable amount of support.
While Karen Murphy and and Micheal Bayonne also received endorsements from SREE, SEA claims Michael Bayonne did not submit a required questionaire, and Karen Murphy was not endorsed by SEA. In announcing their endorsements to Patch, SREE wrote:
"Gary Klein "gets it". He is a supporter of middle school reform, and he is an advocate for getting it right..."
"Karen Murphy is sharp, fearless, and intelligent. She approaches issues based on fact and believes that good solutions to Stamford's education challenges should be driven by applied common sense."
"Mr. Bayonne is a straight-shooter who believes in accountability, responsibility, and giving every child in Stamford the opportunity for success."
With an ever-widening achievement gap and Stamford preparing for a major shift in it's economy through , today's winners have a long road ahead.
Good luck to all candidates!