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Let's Insist on FACTS and CIVILTY in Local Affairs 

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An Initiative to Fight the Disinformation Machine in Easton 

Disinformation and Disrespect is Bad for our Community

A small but extremely vocal group in Easton seems determined to highjack local affairs by spreading disinformation at public meetings and through fact-free flyers and unwanted texts.  We think it's time to counter these efforts with FACTS. 

 

Just as we see in national politics, there is a serious cost to our community when small groups that never properly identify themselves lob disinformation, toxic accusations, and conspiracy theories into Easton's town discussions.  Board of Selectmen meetings have been used by a small group to deliver diatribes full of insults, but free of facts.  We think it's time to restore facts and civility to our public discussions. 

 

Disinformation and public diatribes are tactics of those who would divide us, and in the process, damage our community spirit and ruin the good reputation of our town---which is directly tied to our home values. Perhaps ironically, Republicans are targeted at least as often as Democrats.  

So as the flyers and texts descend upon us again this year, let's just say NO to the misinformation machine by attending public meetings, calling out blatant misinformation with fact-checking, and insisting on civility.  Our superpower is to PARTICIPATE. 

As the flyers and texts descend on us again this year, and as the insults and fabrications fly at public discussions, let's just say NO to DISINFORMATION AND DISRESPECT by attending public meetings and insisting on FACTS and CIVILITY in Easton's public discussions.  Our superpower is to PARTICIPATE. 

GET INVOLVED

VOTE

Fact Checking Pants-on-Fire Flyers

 

One predictable rite of spring in Easton is the arrival of fact-free flyers and unwanted text messages in our phones--especially in election years. 

This year's first flyers debuted at the April 24 Town Meeting so laced with misinformation and conspiracy theories they begged for a serious check of the facts.

The Greatest Hits: Favorite Fabrications of 2023 (so far)

Below, we evaluate some of the most prevalent false claims we've seen and heard so far this year because we believe the facts will make it easier to ignore the misinformation machine and move on to focus on real issues. 

 

MISINFORMATION CLAIM #1 There are provisions for commercial development in Easton's Village Districts that could lead to secret plans to bring commercial development to town.

THE FACTS

  • From the 2006 Plan of Conservation and Development, five areas of town have been considered for special zoning rules  but in the seventeen years since the Plan was adopted, there have been essentially no changes in any of these areas, or the zoning rules with the exception of Grieser’s. 

  • Since the Plan was adopted in 2006, Easton has passed a Land Use Ordinance, so no commercial development can be initiated in Easton without a specific and inclusive process for research, public discussion and a public vote.

  • Members of the group who author the flyers also helped write our Land Use Ordinance, so they KNOW there is no imminent threat of commercial development in Easton.

 

SUGGESTED RESPONSE:  Given Easton's Conservation and Development Plan, our Land Use Ordinance, and our bipartisan Planning and Zoning Town Commission, sneaking in an approval for a commercial development project just isn't possible, so stop suggesting that we should all be terrified that we'll wake up one morning to find a Walmart has suddenly appeared on Sport Hill Road. There is no conspiracy here. 

 

MISINFORMATION CLAIM #2   The town's plan to make the Center Road intersection at Greiser’s safer is a "well-veiled effort to impose financial and environmental pressure for sidewalks..and a bus stop." 

THE FACTS

  • Easton secured a state grant to make traffic and parking safer at the Post Office and Greisers (the rationale for which requires no further explanation for anyone who's faced the challenge of parking there..)

  • Securing state grants for traffic safety and other local projects brings our tax dollars back to Easton and enables the town to tackle expensive improvements without raising our taxes.

  • Many in Easton love Griesers and the groups who make the flyers have always opposed Greisers--and everyone has a right to safe parking at our Post Office

  • Counter to the flyer's claim, there is no bus stop proposal-- this is a total fabrication

SUGGESTED RESPONSE:  Seeking state grants to fund local projects helps us bring our fair share of revenue back to Easton from Hartford--we'll all for that--and the need to improve safety at that intersection is obvious.  And stop picking on Greisers. We love their food and their events, and the value of not having to drive miles out of town for a great cup of coffee cannot be overstated.  

 

MISINFORMATION CLAIM #3: There is contaminated groundwater at the site of the Easton Village Store. 

 

THE FACTS 

  • The CT State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been leading a remediation project to ensure that the site is safe and properly handled along with the owner's contracted environmental expert; Commercial tank removal is the jurisdiction of DEEP.  

  • The Board  of Selection has communicated exhaustively on this project making related documents public with the help of some citizens. 

  • DEEP remediation staff is still working on this project and the current status is that the bulk of the soil remediation was done when the tanks and associated contaminated soil were removed last year, though DEEP will oversee further evaluation of soil and groundwater. No contamination of water has been found.

  • The site has a zoning permit to use the old EVS building as a takeout restaurant.

SUGGESTED RESPONSE:  The Selectmen have provided links and detailed updates from the start on the DEEP remediation project that includes water and soil monitoring, so why continue to attack the owner of EVS or try to scare residents about drinking water quality when all wells in the area have been tested and are fine? 

 

  •  

Setting the record straight with FACTS

You might wonder whether we're not just amplifying all this disinformation by discussing it openly here. But a review of recent history in Easton shows that, between the unwanted flyers in our mailboxes and texts in our cell phones, and the shocking diatribes at Board of Selectmen meetings, there is clearly a need to confront this disturbing trend head-on.   

Fact Checking the Disinformation "Greatest Hits" 

 

One predictable rite of spring in Easton is the arrival of fact-free flyers and unwanted text messages in our phones--especially in election years.  This year's first flyers debuted at the April 24 Town Meeting so laced with disinformation and conspiracy theories they demand a serious check of the facts.

The Greatest Hits: Favorite Fabrications of 2023 (so far)

Below, we evaluate some of the most prevalent false claims we've seen and heard so far this year because we believe the facts will make it easier to ignore the disinformation machine and move on to focus on real issues. 

 

DISINFORMATION CLAIM #1:

There are provisions for commercial development in Easton's Village Districts that could lead to secret plans to bring commercial development to town.

THE FACTS

  • From the 2006 Plan of Conservation and Development, five areas of town have been considered for special zoning rules  but in the seventeen years since the Plan was adopted, there have been essentially no changes in any of these areas or the zoning rules with the exception of Grieser’s. 

  • Since the Plan was adopted in 2006, Easton has passed a Land Use Ordinance, so no commercial development can be initiated on town land in Easton without a specific and inclusive process for research, public discussion and a public vote.

  • Some members of the group that shares this conspiracy theory also helped write our Land Use Ordinance, so they KNOW there is no imminent threat of commercial development in Easton without broad public debate. 

SUGGESTED RESPONSE:  Given Easton's Conservation and Development Plan, our Land Use Ordinance, and our bipartisan Planning and Zoning Town Commission, sneaking in an approval for a commercial development project is not possible. There is no conspiracy here. 

 

DISINFORMATION CLAIM #2   The town's plan to make the Center Road intersection at Greiser’s safer is a "well-veiled effort to impose financial and environmental pressure for sidewalks..and a bus stop." 

THE FACTS

  • Easton secured a state grant to make traffic and parking safer at the Post Office and Greisers (the rationale for which requires no further explanation for anyone who's faced the challenge of parking there.)

  • Securing state grants for traffic safety and other local projects brings our tax dollars back to Easton and enables the town to tackle expensive improvements without raising our taxes.

  • Everyone has a right to safe parking at our Post Office and opponents of this project don't disclose they have been longtime opponents of Greisers. 

  • Counter to the flyer's claim, there is no bus stop proposal-- this is a total fabrication

SUGGESTED RESPONSE:  Seeking state grants to fund local projects helps us bring our fair share of revenue back to Easton from Hartford and the need to improve safety at that intersection is obvious.  

 

DISINFORMATION CLAIM #3: There is contaminated groundwater at the site of the Easton Village Store and Easton town government is giving up local control. 

 

THE FACTS 

  • The CT State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been leading a remediation project to ensure that the site is safe and properly handled along with the owner's contracted environmental expert; Commercial tank removal is the jurisdiction of DEEP. 

  • The Board  of Selection has communicated exhaustively on this project 

  • DEEP remediation staff are still working on this project and the current status is that the bulk of the soil remediation was done when the tanks and associated contaminated soil were removed last year, though DEEP will oversee further evaluation of soil and groundwater.

  • No contamination has been found near the site and testing continues

  • The site has a zoning permit to use the old EVS building as a takeout restaurant.

SUGGESTED RESPONSE:  All wells in the area have been tested and no contamination has been detected.  Selectmen have provided links and detailed updates from the start on the DEEP remediation project that includes water and soil monitoring. Allegations that water has been contaminated are false. 

STAY INFORMED

February 2023:
A Special Message to Easton Democrats from Dave Bindelglass
on the Importance of Getting Involved In 2023

February 23,  2023

Easton, CT.

 

Dear Fellow Easton Democrats,

I hope your new year is off to a good start! 

I'm writing to thank you for your help in electing Democratic leadership in Easton and to encourage you to become even more involved as we tackle the challenges of 2023.

For decades, Democrats were the permanent minority party in Easton until 2019, when Bob Lessler and I won our seats on the Board of Selectmen, creating one of the first Democratic majorities in nearly 40 years.  Guided by the belief that Easton residents are best served by a town government that resists political infighting, I have made it a priority to work across the aisle to get things done and include as many voices as possible in public discussions. As a result, we've passed responsible budgets to maintain our great schools and public services with minimal tax increases, we've preserved open spaces and farms, and resolved stubborn, longstanding issues such as the fate of the South Park property. All with bipartisan support.  

Democratic leadership has also enabled us to make important new policies that reflect our values as Democrats--from raising the Pride flag at town hall to creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.  And again, with bipartisan support.

On the Board of Selectmen, votes are almost always unanimous as we work with our Republican colleague.  We work well with the town Boards and Commissions, many of which are led by Republicans.  In an age where everyone is exhausted by destructive political attacks, disinformation, and gridlock on the national level, we have successfully built consensus in Easton on a great many issues. This will be critical in the coming year  as we take on many important issues including the urgent need to build a new EMS Headquarters

However, even with this broad commitment to bipartisanship by so many, a small minority continues to work actively to bring some of the most toxic elements of national politics home to Easton.  This group has recently focused on dividing the local Republican party, but their attempts to disrupt public life, illustrated by the examples below, are costly to us all.

  • They recently sued Easton, claiming the town had blocked their takeover of the Republican party. A judge threw out the claim, but not before I was forced to spend $4700 of our taxpayers’ money on legal fees.

  • Their insistence on imposing a rushed solution to preserve the second South Park parcel immediately devalued the land by half a million dollars when the town could have accomplished the preservation in a more financially advantageous manner without their interference.

  • Driven by the well-known "MAGA Handbook,” they target our school boards--which have been known for their bipartisan cooperation-- in hopes of sparking damaging culture wars without the slightest concern that our kids will be the biggest losers if they succeed. Their sweeping Freedom of Information Act requests of our school administrators consume valuable resources that should be going to our kids, and not their political fishing expeditions.

  • This faction brings such a marked lack of civility to public meetings that residents have expressed fear of speaking out in opposition to them.

  • They have even removed signs from our property around town because they object to the phrase, “Hate Has No Home Here.”

I hope Democrats will join me in affirming that actions like these should have no home here.

Behavior like this is designed to divide communities. The good news is that we can thwart extremism like this simply by showing up.

As long we insist on facts instead of misinformation to make decisions, respectful commentary instead of insults in public debate, and common sense that enables us to find bipartisan solutions, we can soundly reject politically-driven disruptions that waste our time and money, erode our community spirit and damage Easton's reputation, all of which contribute to our housing values.

Our record of bipartisan collaboration on town boards and commissions, though a great achievement, isn't enough. We need Democrats to work with everyone committed to democracy and good government in town to build a coalition capable of rejecting the vigorous attempts of a small faction intent on dividing our community.

I encourage you to stay engaged and to participate in public discussions throughout the year, and especially at our town meeting, a form of government that can easily be weaponized by small factions when the majority stays home. 

I will do my best to keep everyone in town informed of the important issues before us and opportunities to join public debates. 

Above all,  I hope you will vote. With your support we will continue to break voter turnout records to ensure the majority in town are never eclipsed by a minority, however vocal. 

Please never hesitate to contact me to share your opinions. Your input is not only appreciated, it is critical. 

Thank you for all you've done to make Easton a great place to live. 

Dave Bindelglass

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STAY INFORMED

GET INVOLVED

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VOTE

We've passed responsible budgets to maintain our great schools and public services with minimal tax increases, we've preserved open spaces and farms, and resolved stubborn, longstanding issues such as the fate of the South Park property. All with bipartisan support.  

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We want to make it easy to stay informed and to get involved.  We have lots of opportunities available – even if you can only spare an hour two!

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