It is the last weekend before the April 2nd election, a time when candidates use the last of weekend sunlight to drop literature on the doors of frequent voters. This is democracy in action. It is a time when candidates should speak honestly about their positions and their vision for the future. But the lure of the dais and the onslaught of opponents' signs are just too much for some. They lie. Every election there are always outcries about damn liars and damnable lies. Here are a few tales from our subdivisions.
Recently-censured Council Woman Tammy Shea, who is running against Dr. Ken Remy for a Ward 3 council seat has engaged in a whopper of a flip-flop! This one even exceeds her recent claim that she is now a champion of Councilman Bopp's preferred seating when just months ago she voted against him being seated at all.
Shea surprised online onlookers as she blocked some residents from commenting on her social media page. Shea, who is considered an ardent anti-Mayor crusader has been interminably arguing that the Mayor has been inappropriately blocking critics on social media. She even posted on May 25th, 2018 that a court decision had direct bearing on what she alleged was illegal and unethical use by the Mayor of blocking critics from his Facebook account.
Screen Shot of Shea's Facebook account.
But it appears as if difficult political realities have caused Shea to abandon her commitment to free speech and she has taken to blocking residents who disagree with her. Shea does attempt to assure viewers that those blocked really had nothing to say. She declares them all "liars".
Screen Shot: Shea Strong For Wildwood Facebook Page, March 31
She even assured residents that one individual who she was barring from her site was engaging in "propaganda".
Screen Shot: Shea For Wildwood Facebook page March, 31.
The "propaganda" that was eliminated by Shea was the following post.
Screen Shot: Shea For Wildwood Screen Shot
Shea's use of the words "propaganda" and "liars" to describe her constituents is a puzzling political move. But Shea is no stranger to the inflammatory as she is only the second council member to be censured in Wildwood history.
In Ward 8, Candidate Chris Young has unleashed a controversy serious enough to elicit allegations of defamation of character. Young, who had missed the Wildwood League of Women Voters Candidate Forum, decided to go negative in the last days with attacks based on guilt-by-association and allegations of wrongdoing that had been previously disposed of by Wildwood's Ethics Commission.
In a strikingly McCarthy-like statement, Mr. Young said of incumbent Joe Garritano, "My opponent has a record of alliance with the mayor who has been named in a civil lawsuit." The cryptic statement never gives any proof or reason to believe the claim of a "record of alliance."
This guilt-by-association tactic then gives way to a even more controversial statement that is based on a long-dismissed ethics complaint. Young's campaign door hanger states, "His campaign donation to the Mayor's political favorite (Rob Meinert) in 2018 violated campaign finance rules and had to be returned."
Today, Rob Meinert released the following statement to Wildwood Matters:
"Once again the hand-picked candidate from the Woerther/Shea group are using the same tactics they used in the last election. They are using misinformation, facts out of context and making statements which are categorically false.
"While their actions were ignored in the last election cycle they will not be ignored this time. Every legal means will be employed to shine light on their deplorable behavior, especially since my name was used on his recent door hanger. The card had a false statement over a trumped-up ethics violation that was dismissed. A possible legal action would be a defamation of character lawsuit."
Garritano, who serves a Mayor Pro-Tem, stated that Mr. Young's flyer was so egregiously misleading that, "My opponent who has not been visible throughout this campaign, and did not show up to the League of Woman Voters Candidate Forum is now engaging in a last minute smear campaign against me."
He concluded, "I am disappointed that Mr Young, who did not air his thoughts at a public forum is now propagating lies about my voting record. We have had enough of dishonest politics."
The anti-mayor group has been heavily criticized for filing tens of thousands of dollars in failed ethics complaints, including the one referenced by Mr. Young.
This has been a long campaign season and as editor of Wildwood Matters I personally have been given such honorifics as, Slime Dog, Nutty Professor, Tyrannical Taylor, and even had a reader who posted a comment called a "piece of crap." To be clear we have had many more nice things said, but the epithets let us know we are on the right path and are speaking truth to power.
I am honored to have been able to bring you News and Views over the last several months and I am planning to enlist additional writing talent for future iterations of the blog. It is my sincere hope that new and different voices can share in the critical success of News and Views. I am sure there are still some unclaimed epithets. Slime Dog is taken.
Steve Taylor- Editor