On October 5th, I reported on a candidate forum organized and advertised by Ward 6 school board candidate John DiPietro. Having read his press release and visited the Facebook event post he published, it was clear that this was an open invitation to any candidate running for office and any member of the public who wanted to discuss a variety of issues facing the city’s schools. That NH Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut agreed to moderate the round-table, I thought, was a great catch for the event. Not only would he hear from both from local elected officials, candidates, parents and interested citizens, he would be able to provide information relevant to the listed topics, all of which have significant state involvement.
Two days after DiPietro created the event, and later on the day we reported on it, members of our Large and Loyal Listening Audience forwarded bewildering and baseless complaints and accusations levied by several school board candidates against DiPietro and Edelblut. They also used their complaint to attack their opponents. All of a sudden, a local school board candidate and the commissioner of education were conspiring to stack a publicly announced event against candidates across the city. (Click here for this morning’s story.)
The behavior of these three candidates, David Scannell in Ward 2, Kathy Staub in Ward 5 and incumbent Constance Van Houten in Ward 12 begs multiple questions, not the least of which is:
- How can people who’ve seen the invitation complain about not being invited?
- Given that it is an open invitation, what’s the basis of their claim that the event is “exclusive” and “partisan.”
- Why would they attack Commissioner Edelblut for accepting an invitation to an open public forum that was so effectively publicized on social media that they knew about it within hours?
- Why didn’t they simply post a comment on the event page or send DiPietro a message asking where their invitation was?
- Are they to self-important to accept an open invitation or is this just an attempt to create controversy for DiPietro, who many believe will beat incumbent Dan Bergeron, whose left wing, ideological politics are the same as their own?
Truly, there aren’t any good answers here, which leads to the conclusion that this is a political stunt designed either to give them, and others like them, cover to not attend. There is another possibility, though.
DiPietro called in during this morning’s show (archive to be linked to once published) to say that Scannell called him demanding to know the rules and format of the round table. If past performance is an indication of future actions, once that conversation takes place, and DiPietro said he will return the call, Scannell will claim victory for compelling DiPietro to change plans to eliminate the alleged bias so he and the others are attacking. Lest you think that’s beyond the pail, let me encourage you to never underestimate the power of self importance as a motive for bizarre behavior. Remember, it was they who chose to draw attention to themselves by publicly attack DiPietro and Edelblut instead of inconspicuously questioning whether or not they were invited.
We hope that the voters will see this for what it is and reward their opponents, incumbents Debra Gagnon Langton in Ward 2 and Lisa Freeman in Ward 5, as well as DiPietro and Ward 12 challenger Kelly Anne Thomas with their votes in November. If they don’t, the putrid and puerile politics we’ve seen from Van Houten and Bergeron over the past two years will be incalculably compounded by the Scannell and Staub, who will, apparently, conduct themselves by the same petty and personal political play-book.
By the way, YOU’RE invited to attend. Just click the link above and show these candidates how it’s done!