Hi gang – first and foremost I wanted to let everyone know we will be at Celebrate the whole weekend like last year and each of the prior years.
If you’d like to make a donation for 2014 we’ll be collecting and if you supported us for 2013 please stop by so we can say “thank you.”
I will be circling back shortly with more details on this over the next couple of weeks.
I would also like to take this time to address a recent issue brought up with our efforts with the Fund and my being the President of the fund and running for Mayor this election season.
Celebrate Wallingford has been run by Wallingford Center INC. since its inception and it’s always been a rule there that Political Action Committees (PACs) as well as Political Parties are not allowed to have or sponsor booths as a permanent presence at the event.
We’ve all seen politicians making the rounds at Celebrate, walking around and talking to people and this was always accepted as a necessary evil by WCI as there really isn’t much you can do with people walking around in public short of them breaking a law.
This year however with my running for Mayor there was some escalating discussion with WCI regarding changing the rules to permit Political Action Committees (PACs) as well as Political Parties to have or sponsor booths as a permanent presence at the event. This was partially predicated on my being there in my capacity for the Fireworks despite the fact that I ran a successful Council campaign in 2011 and ran my booth at Celebrate for the fireworks without issue or “confusion”.
This change was voted on and approved. The pressure was on to make the change effective this year but it is going to be deferred until 2014 as there just isn’t enough time for WCI to undertake all the changes.
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency I am making public my email exchange with the Director of WCI on this matter:
From: Elizabeth Landow [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 11:03 AM
To: Jason Zandri
Hey Jason -
Just wanted to let you know that I did decide to postpone letting the two parties have a food booth until next year - we will be allowing it in Celebrate 2014 - but taking the time to come up with proper guidelines.
As we already spoken about, I have been getting much feedback positive and negative about this - one concern that has been expressed is that you have a booth for the fireworks and the other party is concerned that the booth will be used as a "Democratic" booth and they cannot have a "Republican" booth - and that there will be fundraising done for your party out of that booth.
I explained that is a "FireWorks" booth only and you reassured me that you will be not be campaigning in the booth - you have (avoided doing) this in the past and respected the fact that the booth was for fireworks fundraising only - you always leave the booth and walk around in order to do your meeting and greeting.
I love having the fireworks booth at Celebrate - I think it is very important - but I do want to make sure that the politics are left outside of the tent - I am confident you will do that because you gave me your word and that is good enough for me - I guess what I am trying to say - is just if you could keep it from becoming a "democratic" hangout - I would appreciate it
Thanks for your help and for listening to me the other day - I do appreciate the fact that you always give me your support!
Thanks so much
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 11:43 AM
To: Elizabeth Landow
Cc: Jason Zandri; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: celebrate
Thank you for taking the time to have the phone conversation the other day with me regarding all of this.
Please feel free to forward this email directly to anyone that needs to see it as an on the record response for any questions they have from what you've communicated below and I will make the response as part of public disclosure. As to the main concern - I'll address that current point now.
"One concern that has been expressed is that you have a booth for the fireworks and the other party is concerned that the booth will be used as a "Democratic" booth and they cannot have a "Republican" booth -and that there will be fundraising done for your party out of that booth."
As I mentioned to you prior, I ran for Council in 2011 and fundraised for the Fireworks for 2012 out of the 2011 Celebrate booth. I did zero fundraising for that whole campaign (I spent less than $1,000.00 on that election so there was no fundraising to speak of). I have two formal fundraisers planned for later in October so I have neither the need nor the desire to “mix or confuse” the funds being donated at the Fireworks Booth – those funds are all to be for the fireworks in the event that funding is needed for 2014. If someone wanted to make a campaign donation I would hand them my treasurer’s contact information (my sister) and ask that they contact her. This would be no different in my opinion than someone approaching the Mayor in the Recycling Booth (or wherever he might stand that day) and doing the same – I would presume he would pass the supporter along to his treasurer so in my estimation that playing field is equal.
I am content enough in the interest of fairness to allow Mr. Prentice, Mayor Dickinson or any Republican candidate that wishes, full access to the booth so they can walk around and inspect. I have nothing to hide in there.
Steven and Wayne are scheduled to help me in the booth and I will tell them they can wear the Fireworks shirts or any other ones but not my campaign ones in the booth. As long as I am in the booth I will not wear my campaign shirts either.
I would expect the same courtesies from the Republicans as well. As an example – if John Letourneau is selling lamps out of a booth I would not expect it to become a “long term” Republican “hangout”. I am sure 10 to 15 minutes of collective group standing can be presumed to occur “naturally” at an event like this but if it happens more than two or three times it’s going to be assumed to be done intentionally.
The same can be said in my prior example of the Mayor standing at the Recycle booth; let’s collectively agree that we all should keep the times to where the candidates are grouping together accidentally and unintentionally to a couple of occurrences and for less than 15 minutes.
The same would be true at the Registrar’s booth where Chet Miller works; let’s be mindful of the collective gathering there.
I think we can all agree with the considerations above that the playing field is level but if there are still concerns please let me know right away and I will address them directly.