Letter to the Editor: Special Interests Should Interest Talbot County Voters


The Bipartisan Coalition, that is trying to unseat Jennifer Williams, Corey Pack and Chuck Callahan, has been accused of representing “special interests.” That is an audacious and intentionally misleading statement by the Williams DC style machine.

As of the October 21 campaign contributions cut off date, financial reports filed by the Bipartisan Coalition with the state show almost 40 contributions, everyone from an individual, none from a business. Some contributions were $25 and $50. No one behind this Bipartisan Coalition is running for office or stands to personally profit on the outcome of the election—it’s only the future of Talbot County and our communities at risk.

Contrast that with the backers of the “Common Sense Talbot PAC,” which is described on its’ website as “a group of like-minded Talbot County citizens from diverse demographic and employment backgrounds.” In fact, the PAC was founded by Jennifer William’s husband, Mr. Cockayne, and its’ offices are at her home; the treasurer is Chuck Callahan’s companion.

As for special interests, always follow the money! Here’s what William’s PAC reported to the State as of Oct 21:

17 of 21 contributors were businesses, representing over 80% in number and 95% of funds collected.
The smallest amount was $250, and 2 were for $2500.

Almost all of this was from the real estate and building trades. (Ms. Williams is a real estate attorney and past President of the pro-development Mid-Shore Board of Realtors. Mr. Callahan is a contractor.)

Donors include:

A paving contractor (the owner of which also controls the motocross speedway and was tied for largest donor);
A utility contractor;
A concrete contractor;
A landscaper;
A civil engineer;
A real estate firm;
A pool contractor;
An electrician;
A prominent land use attorney (Showalter and DeTar);
A logging company;
Oh, and one other contributor…wait for it…A SHORT TERM VACATION RENTAL COMPANY in St. Michaels.

Draw your own conclusions. It’s not about you or me, or we the people; it’s about their rise to power and opportunism. It’s about the fox guarding the hen house and the chickens to be eaten are community, neighbors, environmentalism and the heritage of responsible thoughtful growth. Support bipartisan family friendly growth. Vote for Pete Lesher, Naomi Hyman, Laura Price and Keisha Haythe.

Jay and Sarah Eastman
Easton, Maryland

Letters to Editor

  1. Christine Dolan says

    As seasoned journalist having covered politics nationally and internationally for 40 years, and the former Political Director of CNN, I suggest to the voters of Talbot County to review Clayland Farm Enterprises, LLC v. Talbot County, Maryland, et al. Civil Action NO. GLR – 14-03412

    As stated in an Opinion signed by US Magistrate Judge, J. Mark Coulson,
    ” This case involves Plaintiff’s constitutional challenges to Talbot County’s legislative actions….Plaintiff challenges certain legislative actions taken by Talbot County Council beginning in 2012 that limited Plaintiff’s ability to develop its property. Specifically, Plaintiff challenges bills 1214/1257, which placed what Plaintiff refers to as a “moratorium” on development in the County by imposing interim restrictions on the density of new development pending the drafting of comprehensive rezoning by the County consistent with the drafting of the Country’s 2016 ten-year “Comprehensive Plan…”

    This story is far larger than what has already been reported in the Star-Democrat and Talbot Spy. The local reporters in this county need to dig far deeper on the connection of the dots.

    Preservation v. Development is always about money!

    It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots that raise more questions. Thank God for Laura Price and Dirck Bartlett. At the public County Council meeting, Bartlett told everyone to wake up and he was absolutely correct. If folks do not wake up, you may just see villages in this county overrun by development that nukes the rural landscape in Talbot County! If that is not what the county citizens want – get out and VOTE. Vote for Laura Price and those who want to preserve the uniqueness of this County. It does not seem to be the likes of Williams, Callahan, or Pack – no matter what they spew.

    Price had the courage to stand up and take the bricks on this because she listened to concerned citizens. Laura Price deserves out votes!

    As for Ms. Williams invoking Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson’s names in the Star Democrat today is laughable it is so stupid. For those of us who live in the real world, and have more experience covering politics than she has experience in office, shame on Williams, as well as shame on Callahan and Pack denying their real connection to Common Sense. They both donated monies to Common Sense. Do these three really expect the public to believe that they were ignorant and not complicit with the fictional character and the PR firm that Common Sense cut the check to for over $10,000?

    Do these three candidates really expect the public to believe that the PR firm Common Sense paid, according to its public finances, did not have anything to do with the fictional character or the Facebook page or the concept of using the fictional character to attack Laura Price?

    This smacks of sleazy politics. It lacks vision, truthfulness, integrity and character!

    And, this sleazy story raises some very serious legal, ethical, and integrity questions about whose interests have been served by Callahan, Williams and Pack on some specific matters voted on at the Council. There should be full-blown ethics and election investigations, and the local journalists in this county need to get to the bottom of this even after the election. The fictional character is one element. I want to know in more depth if there is a connection between those supportive of the fictional character and its links to Common Sense by some, and to this lawsuit, the decisions on the Council, and the donations made to Williams, Callahan’s and Pack’s campaigns and to Common Sense no matter what the results are on next Tuesday. There was check cut to Callahan’s campaign and interestingly, Callahan cut a check to Common Sense. Yes, follow the money, Editors! That is your job as journalists!

    Full disclosure – I signed onto Dan Watson’s petition without having a conversation with him because the petition was being passed at the Council. The woman in front of me, whom I discovered a day later was a realtor, read it, and put it face down on the chair in front of her. Im a journalist and I was curious. I asked her for it not knowing what it was. I was very happy to have signed on because what I witnessed in that meeting was despicable and rotten display of a County Council deflection, dismissiveness of citizens’ concerns, and machiavellian display of politics. Dirck Bartlett was absolutely spot on, and so was Laura Price! I was told I could not say anything so I too clapped. It is a shame Mr. Bartlett is not running. It is a shame having Council Members that are shams! But, we can vote for those with integrity and courage and vote for Laura Price and others who are running and not for the three musketeers – Williams, Callahan and Pack!

    Talbot County Council deserves better leadership!

    Christine Dolan

    • Dirck Bartlett says

      Please get this letter to the Star Democrat. This episode is a textbook case in how small towns are bullied and overrun by wealthy developers. Add to your letter that the Republican Central Committee targeted one of their own with the help of the Board of Realtors and Chamber of Commerce and you plainly see how the system works.

      • Can’t the good citizens if Talbot have a recall election to get rid of the Central Committee whose members are part of the puppeteers

      • Sigrid Hayward says

        Why don’t you also post a list of the Coalition’s donors, you know, for comparison…or maybe you have something to hide…

    • Use your connections to get a national outlet here to do an expose about this story. Headlines by Tucker Carlson would help drain Talbot swamp.

  2. Sigrid Hayward says

    And while your at it, why don’t you post a list of donors in your PAC.

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