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Democratic Officials Attempt To Rewrite History Ahead of Field Ceremony

By on Sep 11 2013.
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Springfield Democratic Party Website Screenshot

Springfield Democratic Party Website Screenshot

A political e-mail newsletter was sent on the solemn 9-11 holiday by the Springfield Democratic Party in an attempt to rewrite history concerning their record on the turf field.  The unsigned and dubious e-mail, disguised as “The Springfield Digest”, accuses Committeeman Ziad Andrew Shehady of circulating “falsehoods” about failed attempts by Mayor David Amlen, Deputy Mayor Richard Huber and Committeemembers David Barnett and Margaret Bandrowski to oppose the turf field bond and construction.  One resident remarked, “They should be ashamed to have their names associated with something so petty on a day that is supposed to be about unity.  There’s one word for that – desperate.”

Likely embarrassed of their obstructionism ahead of the athletic field opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, and with little support ahead of the November election, the e-mail presented a list of weak arguments labeled as facts.

The first point was that as far back as 2009, “both Democratic and Republican administrations have supported and furthered the cause of the construction of a turf field for Springfield’s youth”.  Possibly hoping the public is forgetful, they omit that the 2009 Mayor pledged against committing funds for the project.  A December 4, 2009 article in the Springfield Patch highlights private efforts to raise funds for the project as a result of the failure by the 2009 Democratic administration to assist.  Only in 2010 and 2012, under the Republican controlled-administrations did the field advance.  In 2011, nearly 250 members of the public signed a petition criticizing the Democratic administration for “alleged inaction” according to a Springfield Patch article.

The e-mail then attempts to change the reasoning given for Mr. Huber’s and Mr. Amlen’s reluctance to vote for the field.  “Mr. Amlen, feeling his knowledge was insufficient to decide, voted against.”  However, in another Springfield Patch article from January 17, 2012, then Committeeman David Amlen is quoted explaining his opposition: “I don’t feel comfortable bonding three plus million without a referendum showing the public is on board with it.”

Later in the e-mail, contradictory statements are made about an ad hoc committee that Mayor David Amlen formed in 2013 to investigate the arrangement between the Township and the Board of Education related to the financing of the field.  While on one hand, the Democratic propaganda piece claims “the public outcry led to Mayor Amlen’s appointment of an ad hoc committee to look into the matter and establish the facts”, the next sentence talks about “difficulty of convincing a neutral member of the public to participate” seemingly negating the existence of any legitimate outcry.

The celebration and opening of the Athletic Turf Field will take place Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. just before the first evening home football game of the Bulldogs.  The Bulldogs will be playing the Mountaineers of Bernards High School at 7:00 p.m.  The event is hosted by the Springfield Public Schools and speakers will include Superintendent Michael Davino, Jonathan Dayton High School Principal Elizabeth Cresci, and Township of Springfield Assistant Engineer Sam Mardini.  Notably absent from speaking are Democratic Mayor David Amlen and Deputy Mayor Rich Huber, who have publicly criticized some field proponents, including members of the school administration.

The latest e-mail hopelessly tries to polish the image of Amlen and Huber, who are running for re-election, after a year mired in controversy and scandal.  Observers pointed out their absence during two days of power outages during the Labor Day weekend.  In April, their administration was singled out for alleged permit and variance improprieties surrounding the construction of a fence by a political operative.  A February expose shed light on their appointment of a political crony as municipal Prosecutor which resulted in the town court and police department incurring the cost of many hours in overtime and backlog.  Their first meeting of the year, residents cried foul over Amlen’s appointment of Democratic Committeeman David Barnett as the town’s Chariman of the Finance & Budget Committee.  Barnett was charged by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission with “aiding and abetting an accounting fraud” and did not disclose the federal court complaints until after the Election.

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