Letter to the Editor: Taking Issue with Christine Dolan’s Star-Democrat Articles

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Below is a response to the recent two part article written by Christine Dolan and published in the Star-Democrat. The Board of Common Sense Talbot Pac believes that this article needs a response as it is filled with false innuendos that need to be corrected.

In response to Christine Dolan’s recent two-part rambling diatribe on a variety of issues she must think are important, we are first struck by her credentials. She is a self – proclaimed “investigative journalist” who was once with CNN.

Sitting down at the keyboard with the intent to trash people in public is best accomplished with innuendo, insinuation, carefully chosen half-truths, and a commitment to avoid the whole truth. Otherwise, wouldn’t a real “journalist” make a phone call or send an email to at least one of those she wants to make up stuff about? Don’t real journalists ask for comments from people they’re going to name? Well, apparently not if they have an agenda that might be adversely affected by actual facts.

Her investigation “reveals” the details of a private contract to put up a website for a newly formed PAC one month before the election. Of course, such contracts are private matters since they are competitively sensitive material. In other words, a website business doesn’t necessarily want the world to know what they charged a specific client. The PAC reported the expenditures, as required. Nothing illegal or improper here, but Ms. Dolan’s investigative disclosure and the indiscretion of a disgruntled business partner are certainly unethical, although not, apparently, by CNN standards.

Otherwise, this exhaustive inquiry relied on public records, available to anyone because the reports have all been lawfully submitted. Let’s see. Public records. The people involved must have been trying to hide something they were ashamed of! At least, in the eyes of Ms. Dolan, something must have been going on that shouldn’t have been going on otherwise why did she regurgitate their contents. Pray tell, what and where?

A PAC was formed one month before a contentious election as an attempt to bring sanity to bear. It wasn’t perfect because it was rushed, but the founders were simply frustrated that there was no source in Talbot County where one could find the truth.

The so-called Bipartisan Coalition for New Council Leadership PAC had a field day attacking a good person for no reason other than she had listened to all sides, rather than cater to the special interests that wanted the Council to force the rest of us to do things their way. So, what happens when attackers are allowed to run rampant? We lost a valuable, level-headed public servant to accusations without evidence, opinions without thought, and voters that had no place to go to find the whole story.

If Ms. Dolan didn’t have such an obvious agenda to support Laura Price, Dan Watson, and Tom Alspach, she might do some real investigating. She could look up the donors to the Talbot Preservation Alliance that spent $6,000 this year on four County Council campaigns to keep only one incumbent seat, spent $6,500 dollars in two years on a now defunct Citizens for Sound Growth PAC, and the other thousands of dollars contributed to County Council candidates over the years, all of whom lost their races except two (one this year and one in 2010). Looks like they’re not very good at picking winners.

Oh, that’s right, you can’t find out who the TPA donors are because TPA is not a registered political committee, even though they have spent tens of thousands of dollars of their members’ money on political activities. Why are they not a PAC, which has to disclose all contributions and expenditures to the penny? Let’s look into that. This might be a case of throwing stones from within glass houses. It certainly makes you wonder what TPA donors expect in return for that kind of “investment.”

Frankly, we don’t care about convincing the small minds that have orchestrated these attacks because those minds are closed; their mantra is, my mind is made up so don’t confuse me with facts. Open minds in Talbot County have a right to know what we have to say. Talbot County citizens need to have a place to go to “fact check” the BS that has been spread. We’ll be working on that over the coming months, and we’ll let you know when it’s available. After all, the Talbot County that a casual visitor, would see by reading the newspaper over the past few months is not at all the County we want to live in. So, we feel obligated to do something about it, and we invite anyone else that is equally incensed about the recent and ongoing misinformation campaigns to join us.

Bill Cockayne
Chair, Common Sense PAC

Letters to Editor

  1. Robert Jones says:

    The author of this article, Jennifer Williams’ husband, seems to think that criticism of the dirty tricks that he and his cohort used to try to unseat fellow Republican Laura Price, to punish her for not adhering to the Williams agenda should be out of bounds. Well, Snowflake, to paraphrase Adlai Stevenson’s brilliant response to another dirty tricks Republican, “Perhaps if you stop lying about me, I’ll stop telling the truth about you.”

  2. Christine Dolan says:

    This is turning into a Black Swan and the Thou Who Doth Protest Too Much Choir –

    Stupey, Sleepy, Snarky, Silly, Shameless, aka Sears Wheeler, aka Tyler Toby, aka prior motorcross owner, & aka Williams’ husband.

    For the record, I investigated this because of what the merry band of what folks stated to the Star Democrat on the record, which was published on November 1, 2018. The facts did not add up to the voluminous documents and statements made. I interviewed sources who were reliable and some who were not who told me more than what has been published.

    Political journalists cross-reference public records to see if there are any discrepancies when a group of individuals claim to fly on Angels’ Wings. And, as of a few minutes ago, I looked at the Common Sense Talbot PAC’s required filings once again to see if Mr. Cockayne amended the discrepancies upon which I reported. I see no corrections of these discrepancies to date. The legislative intent of campaign laws is for transparency and accuracy.

    Perhaps, this letter though is the deflection or an attempt to intimidate once again to thwart the truth and/or gain sympathy with the public for the County Council’s vote tonight for filling the vacancies on the Planning Commission and the STRs Commission. Jennifer Williams applied to sit on both. Tony Kupersmith wrote that one position on each committee must be a lawyer. Tony Kupersmith released the names of those who applied to those two committees/commissions last Friday due to a FOIA request, and wrote that the County “reserves the right in the future” to decide the policies on releasing names. The mere notion that the public does not have a right to those names in the future is not good governance.

    A March 1, 2018 email from the County Attorney’s office described the machinations establishing the Noise Task Force. It mentioned the word “equal” for pro and con noise task force members. These vested interest members never should have been allowed to vote because of their vested interests. They should have been testifying before a very neutral task force. In the end, another pro-decibels voter member was added so it made the numbers “unequal.” In addition to that, but not disclosed in this particular email was the fact that two individuals from the planning committee and two staffers were appointed. In the end, these folks who are beholding to the County Council who appoint them or hire them voted. That brought the total number on the Noise Task Force to 15. When cross-referenced with the Talbot County Council site all 15 names are listed. That too does not jive with what the County Attorneys’ office wrote in this March 1, 2018 email unless they now want to justify that two staffers and two planning commission were pro/con. All of this leaves open the door to revisit the Noise Task Force or it should if the Ethics Commission and the public demands answers and a neutral Task Force.

    Why did Williams approve that configuration? Why have residents of Easton Club East and adjacent neighborhoods have had to hold Steve Wheeler’s feet to the fire for years about the ordinances when he owned the motorcross prior to Allen Bryan purchasing it? Why did a resident have to write to Governor O’Malley in 2013 when the residents did not get help from the Talbot County Council, and why did Governor O’Malley have to write to a member of the County Council in response to that concerned citizen’s 2013 letter? This is not conjecture. This is backed up with documents.

    The level of structured stacking of the Task Force is serious. The Noise Task Force never should have been configured in this manner. No sane politician would have constructed a task force like this. Unless of course, they may have wanted a particular outcome.

    I’ve interviewed alot of legitimate sources. I do not waste my time on unreliable sources – nor those who lie and deflect to the Star Democrat. That would be a waste of time because their denials proved otherwise in the documents given to me and shown to the Star Democrat. If you use the press to perpetuate disinformation and with political “trolling farms,” and what they say on the record does not crawl, walk, fly or leap when cross-referenced with their own emails and documents – that is a news story.

    Christine Dolan
    Investigative Journalist

    • Christine Dolan says:

      I made a mistake – the County Council’s meeting is on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 – not tonite – December 10th.

      Will be interesting to see if the County Council makes these appointments public on these two committees – Planning and STRs!

      Christine Dolan

  3. Jim Franke says:

    The Chair of Common Sense has none.

  4. Facts? Our former county council president seemed to have no problem with unseemly actions including using a fictional name and staged photos to sway voters.

    Do let us know when you find that Talbot Preservation Alliance, the non-profit dedicated to preserving our environment and quality of life, used such underhanded tactics. Until then, “follow the money,” looks like darn good advice.

  5. Wow, did not realize that the TPA is not a registered political committee. I guess from the way they presented themselves, I thought they were.

    I look forward to hearing more.

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