Friday, August 21, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Mayor Drew Should Apologize for Comments

As originally posted as a letter to the Editor in the Middletown Press August 21, 2015. Original link: here 
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This week Republican Mayoral Candidate Sandra Russo-Driska's campaign manager issued a press release titled "Democrats for Sandra 2015." As the chairperson for that newly formed political action committee, I must set the record straight on the comments within the article, "Democrats for Sandra formed" published on Aug. 14.
Mr. Drew's attack on three lifelong residents of Middletown is the exact reason this PAC was formed. As it was stated in the press release and subsequent story, the Democratic Party "bullied" a long-standing councilwoman into attempting a primary to regain her nomination to the Common Council. Mr. Drew did not address those facts and instead chose to attempt to impugn the reputation of those people who disagree with his politics.
On May 9, 2014, the Middletown Press published a story that announced the nominations of a new fire chief and a new deputy fire chief. In that article, Drew stated, "Both men have had long and distinguished careers within Middletown's fire service and both are scholars in their field and have earned the status of 'executive fire officer,' an elite designation granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that requires intensive preparation and the meeting and maintenance of rigorous federal standards.
"They are visionaries who understand that the demands on the fire service are evolving in the 21st century beyond just the core missions carried out in the 20th."
If what he stated in those comments were true and I was not given the promotion I wanted, then I have to wonder why the mayor nominated me, was vetted, and was unanimously approved by the Common Council by a 12-0 vote. In Ms. O'Hara's case, she has never applied for a city job and she has her picture on just about every billboard in Middletown. She is an upstanding businesswoman in our community.
Ms. Zimmitti made it clear what was done to her and the reasoning behind it. Maybe he meant I had applied for the fire chief's position originally. But I'm fairly certain he does not want to venture down those avenues.
I am stating for the record one more time, as the press release read, and all of my heart believes. I am supporting Sandra Russo-Driska because of my lifelong friendship with her, her ability to govern by reaching across both aisles, and because I am tired of lifelong city residents being bullied and impugned because of their political beliefs.
My career and reputation as a fire officer is impeccable, and although I know it won't happen, it would be proper for Mr. Drew to apologize for his personal attack and innuendos directed at me, the non-candidate.
Steven J. LaRosa
Middletown

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