Dear Supervisor VanLuven:
According to Ana Kasparian, the essential belief of a “Progressive” is the belief that candidates’ political campaigns should be financed broadly by donors making small donations without expectation of reward instead of financed narrowly by special interests making large donations with the expectation of reward. About what I am writing is elected officials’ abuse of governmental power: rewarding for political benefit the favored few over the many.
Below is correspondence with your secretary, Robin Nagengast. I inquired about the town’s policy on town hall room use. Ms. Nagengast asked me for what purpose the room was to be used. I answered that it would be an educational forum regarding the explosion (approximately 800%) of county Medicaid costs over the past 26 years in which candidates for the Albany County Legislature could present their solutions to this expensive challenge to county finances. Ms. Nagengast told me that such a forum is, “political,” and therefore forbidden under the town’s room use policy. I responded that I understood how such a forum could be deemed, “political,” but I then did not understand how the Bethlehem Democratic Committee had been allowed to hold a “Meet the Candidates” event this spring, in which the committee’s endorsed candidates were allowed to speak and at which Bethlehem Democratic Committeewoman Michelle Sanders was positioned at a table in the hallway next to the entrance to your office collecting designating petition signatures for these candidates, at least when she was present, since I witnessed the petitions with at least one pen on the table without anyone behind it before she appeared. Ms. Nagengast claimed she knew nothing about this event and asked if I could provide the date this event occurred so, as the room scheduler, she could prevent it from happening again. I provided her the link to The Spotlight article promoting the event: https://www.spotlightnews.com/towns/bethlehem/2019/02/27/endorsed-candidate-names-start-rolling-out-in-bethlehem/.
Attached is the flyer for a “Canvassing for Newbies” public event sponsored by Bethlehem NY Indivisible, i.e. Bethlehem Democratic Committee 1st Vice Chair Pam Skripak et al., and Bethlehem Morning Voice Huddle. From the language of the flyer itself – “Get ready for the 2020 elections,” etc. – it appears to be a political event.
I do not care whether the town’s room policy allows for political events or not. Other Bethlehem citizens and I rightly expect, however, that we apply this policy equally, whether the room is requested by Pam Skripak, Jared King or even … Keith Wiggand.
The next time I request to reserve a town room for an educational forum in which Bethlehem citizens can see the stark difference among candidates – for example, those, like George Harder, who focus on Progressive solutions to problems routinely expressed to me as concerns by Bethlehem voters, e.g. preserving green space, building to zoning code, increased traffic congestion, versus those, like Joanne Cunningham, who focus on problems identified only by Working Families Party headquarters, e.g. mandating Albany County businesses pay for sick leave, I hope you will allow it.