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Thread: The John Flaherty voting "cheat sheet"

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    Default The John Flaherty voting "cheat sheet"

    I was a bit taken aback to find that WaylandTransparency (whose only named member, as far as I can tell, is John Flaherty) published a self-described "cheat sheet" in advance of the recent town election.

    Quote Originally Posted by info@waylandtransparency.com
    ... Please forgive me if this seems presumptuous, but many people ask who WaylandTransparency supports around election time, so this year, we have created a "cheat sheet" that you can print out and take to the polls. ...
    If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Flaherty was one of several residents who took exception to the same sort of voting guide produced by a private citizen in advance of a prior election--hence my surprise that he has spun 180 on this issue.

    While I would certainly not use in this forum the word "graceless" to describe the actual cheat sheet (oddly titled "atm2012," in that it has nothing to do with Annual Town Meeting), many have. In particular, I call the attention of readers to what I can only guess is Mr. Flaherty's intentional omission of an endorsement for unopposed School Committee member Malcolm Astley. Mr. Astley has been a great addition to the Committee in bringing his educator's eye to the operation of the Wayland Public Schools.

    Fellow Committee member and unopposed candidate Ellen Grieco DID earn Mr. Flaherty's cheat sheet mention. Of course, it's quite possible that in Mr. Flaherty's eyes, Ms. Grieco's contributions to the Committee in her 1 year of service overshadowed those of Mr. Astley in his 3 years. Presumably, Mr. Flaherty's cheat sheet would mention these contributions.

    Yet, a look at the language of Mr. Flaherty's cheat sheet reveals nothing of the sort.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty
    More than once over Ellen's first year on the SC, she has reminded Chair Barb Fletcher of the Constitution of the United States, specifically the First Amenedment (sic). When Ms. Fletcher tried to push through a vote from the Committee that would require any member of the public with a question for the SC to go through her, the Chair, and again when fellow member Shawn Kinney wrote articles for the Town Crier about which Ms. Fletcher felt the need to make a lot of noise, Ellen Grieco needed to remind Ms. Fletcher of the rights of Free Speech granted to all Americans. In addition, other than Shawn Kinney, Ellen has been the only voice on the committee that seems to be appropriately concerned about the illegal bank accounts, revolving funds and sloppy bookeeping within the school department. Even though unopposed in this race, a vote for Ellen Grieco helps to send the message that the voters of Wayland demand accountability and fiscal responsibility, as well as great schools.
    Setting aside Mr. Flaherty's petty insults directed at the School Committee chair ("tried to push through," "make a lot of noise"), his main point appears to be that Ms. Grieco is a proponent of the First Amendment. I find this lauding to be laughable, as it was Ms. Grieco herself who argued AGAINST the School Committee wisely exercising its First Amendment rights to counter false information published by the aforementioned Mr. Kinney.

    A secondary contribution that Mr. Flaherty attributes to Ms. Grieco is hers being the only voice added to Mr. Kinney that's appropriately concerned about the so-called "illegal bank accounts, revolving funds and sloppy bookeeping (sic)." This is a curious statement for Mr. Flaherty to make, as I've personally heard none other than the Flaherty-badgered School Committee Chair and the Flaherty-slighted Mr. Astley support examination of past School Department accounting procedures.

    There may be good reasons to support one candidate over another in a town election. Unfortunately, in at least the case of the recent School Committee election (in which the candidates were running UNOPPOSED!), Mr. Flaherty's cheat sheet fails to rise to this level.

  2. #2
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    Default Just Guessing...

    Boy, it sure has been a long time since I've posted here. After perusing the boards, it looks like it has been a long time since anyone (other than Jeff D, Dave B, and the occasional others) has posted anywhere on this board. However, this is an interesting topic.

    1. Jeff, I can't speak for John, but I'm guessing that John probably could care less about what you think of his political views. I'm likely understating the situation in writing that, but I do feel safe in at least saying that much.

    2. The lack of endorsement of Mr. Astley is consistent with everything that I know many in town have stood for since the Lokergate. Mr. Astley is most often aligned with the current Chair and Mrs. Butler on issues the WSC addresses. Sure, it would be ridiculous to say that John or anyone else simply agrees/disagrees with 100% of the stances the WSC takes. However, the lack of endorsement says to me that there was not enough agreement with Mr. Astley's stances during his tenure to specifically place a call out for his re-election. To state that your opinion that Mr. Astley has been such a wonderful addition is one that must be shared by John or anyone else is awfully self-important, don't you think?

    3. The cheat sheet incident -- let's not be holier than thou, Jeff. It is always a pleasure to read a certain resident's email the night before the election (including this past week's election) espousing her views on who should be elected since everyone "just keeps asking her". If you're wondering who this might be, review previous elections and it is the same person that you refer to as being objectionable to some in the past (I'm not being tricky, but the general policy has been to not name names on these boards unless that individual has chosen to participate -- a policy, I might add, that you're not really following by calling out John by name with no actual evidence that he wrote up anything. I saw the sheet -- I didn't see his name on it anywhere).

    4. Take a look at the quote you've copied at the beginning of your post, Jeff, and then read through the emails from the person I'm referring to in #3. Sound familiar? Possible that someone is firmly placing tounge-in-cheek when writing that introduction? Quite!

    I don't intend to debate this with you endlessly, Jeff, but I would conclude by saying the moaning about cheat sheets is entirely disingenuous now, as I have never heard any complaints from you or folks aligned with you in the past when you and the candidates/issues you supported used them to your benefit. Additionally, those same folks continue to use them, albeit not enjoying the same success now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    1. Jeff, I can't speak for John, but I'm guessing that John probably could care less about what you think of his political views. I'm likely understating the situation in writing that, but I do feel safe in at least saying that much.
    My apologies, I did not mean to suggest that Mr. Flaherty cares what I think. I suspect, however, that at least one or two other people in town might. But even if that's not the case, I don't understand the relevance of your point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    2. The lack of endorsement of Mr. Astley is consistent with everything that I know many in town have stood for since the Lokergate. Mr. Astley is most often aligned with the current Chair and Mrs. Butler on issues the WSC addresses. Sure, it would be ridiculous to say that John or anyone else simply agrees/disagrees with 100% of the stances the WSC takes. However, the lack of endorsement says to me that there was not enough agreement with Mr. Astley's stances during his tenure to specifically place a call out for his re-election. To state that your opinion that Mr. Astley has been such a wonderful addition is one that must be shared by John or anyone else is awfully self-important, don't you think?
    Apparently, I did not make myself clear. Mr. Flaherty's primary reason for endorsing Ms. Grieco was her raising the First Amendment. That hardly distinguishes her from Mr. Astley.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    3. The cheat sheet incident -- let's not be holier than thou, Jeff. It is always a pleasure to read a certain resident's email the night before the election (including this past week's election) espousing her views on who should be elected since everyone "just keeps asking her". If you're wondering who this might be, review previous elections and it is the same person that you refer to as being objectionable to some in the past
    Jeff B, you missed my point. I have no objection to people creating and distributing lists of voting considerations. No, I was objecting to hypocrisy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    (I'm not being tricky, but the general policy has been to not name names on these boards unless that individual has chosen to participate -- a policy, I might add, that you're not really following by calling out John by name with no actual evidence that he wrote up anything. I saw the sheet -- I didn't see his name on it anywhere).
    I'll defer to the WaylandeNews Board on this point. Point #8 of their "Posting Guidelines" is somewhat ambiguous in this case, as I ascertained Mr. Flaherty's position from an email whose subject line suggests that it is not intended to be private. The cheat sheet clearly comes from WaylandTransparency, and curiously, WaylandTransparency only has one named member--Mr. Flaherty. Moreover, the addressing of the email is consistent with the person in the "To:" field being the sender using the "Bcc:" field for the broader list of recipients.

    Quote Originally Posted by info@waylandtransparency.com
    > From: Wayland Transparency <info@waylandtransparency.com>
    > Date: April 2, 2012 4:32:01 PM EDT
    > To: John Flaherty <email address deleted>
    > Subject: Who We're Supporting in TOMORROW's Election and Why
    >
    > Apologies if you receive this more than once. Let us know if you'd like to be removed from our mailing list. If we don't hear otherwise from you, we will be sending another email later in the week regarding the Articles for next week's Town Meeting
    >
    > Please forgive me if this seems presumptuous, but many people ask who WaylandTransparency supports around election time, so this year, we have created a "cheat sheet" that you can print out and take to the polls.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    4. Take a look at the quote you've copied at the beginning of your post, Jeff, and then read through the emails from the person I'm referring to in #3. Sound familiar? Possible that someone is firmly placing tounge-in-cheek when writing that introduction? Quite!

    I don't intend to debate this with you endlessly, Jeff, but I would conclude by saying the moaning about cheat sheets is entirely disingenuous now, as I have never heard any complaints from you or folks aligned with you in the past when you and the candidates/issues you supported used them to your benefit. Additionally, those same folks continue to use them, albeit not enjoying the same success now.
    Again, it's hypocrisy that I'm taking to task here, not voting guides.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 05-02-2012 at 04:44 PM. Reason: To remove personal information

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    My apologies, I did not mean to suggest that Mr. Flaherty cares what I think. I suspect, however, that at least one or two other people in town might. But even if that's not the case, I don't understand the relevance of your point.
    The relevance is simply that you took the time to call out John and I'm only saying that he probably doesn't give a hoot that you did. In fact, I'd venture to say that the mention of Wayland Transparency is probably a good thing as it drives traffic to the site to expose even more folks to its content.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Jeff B, you missed my point. I have no objection to people creating and distributing lists of voting considerations. No, I was objecting to hypocrisy.
    I knew what you are saying. I'm simply stating that sometimes people choose to fight fire with fire. Maybe that's simply a tactical decision and not a statement on the pleasure/displeasure with the tactic. As a firm advocate of the First Amendment, I'm sure you can appreciate the freedom associated with this act.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'll defer to the WaylandeNews Board on this point. Point #8 of their "Posting Guidelines" is somewhat ambiguous in this case, as I ascertained Mr. Flaherty's position from an email whose subject line suggests that it is not intended to be private. The cheat sheet clearly comes from WaylandTransparency, and curiously, WaylandTransparency only has one named member--Mr. Flaherty. Moreover, the addressing of the email is consistent with the person in the "To:" field being the sender using the "Bcc:" field for the broader list of recipients.
    All this analysis shows is that the e-mail was sent to John, not that he was the sheet's author. Isn't it possible, Jeff, that someone else wrote the content and Wayland Transparency was the distributor?

    Let me be clear -- I'm not making any kind of statement as to who wrote it or not (nor do I think authoring it is a big deal). I'm simply stating that it seems against previous policy and acceptable behavior on this board to subscribe comments to someone and call them out when you are making a guess as to that individual as the author of said comments and the accused has not been part of the conversation. If John (or anyone else) chooses to jump into this and claim ownership, all bets are off. But until then...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    2. The lack of endorsement of Mr. Astley is consistent with everything that I know many in town have stood for since the Lokergate. Mr. Astley is most often aligned with the current Chair and Mrs. Butler on issues the WSC addresses. Sure, it would be ridiculous to say that John or anyone else simply agrees/disagrees with 100% of the stances the WSC takes. However, the lack of endorsement says to me that there was not enough agreement with Mr. Astley's stances during his tenure to specifically place a call out for his re-election.
    I suspect that a review of the voting record of the current WSC members would show that they are unanimous on most votes that they take. To be sure, on the largest issue they address--the budget--all five members voted in favor. To my knowledge, no currently serving WSC member has ever voted against the school budget. And for that matter, I don't recall any objecting votes during my tenure on the WSC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    To state that your opinion that Mr. Astley has been such a wonderful addition is one that must be shared by John or anyone else is awfully self-important, don't you think?
    Where did I suggest that anyone should share my opinion of Mr. Astley's outstanding service to the town? I'm simply suggesting that the value that he brings to the WSC as an educator must surely be more important than raising the issue of the First Amendment on several occasions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    All this analysis shows is that the e-mail was sent to John, not that he was the sheet's author. Isn't it possible, Jeff, that someone else wrote the content and Wayland Transparency was the distributor?

    Let me be clear -- I'm not making any kind of statement as to who wrote it or not (nor do I think authoring it is a big deal). I'm simply stating that it seems against previous policy and acceptable behavior on this board to subscribe comments to someone and call them out when you are making a guess as to that individual as the author of said comments and the accused has not been part of the conversation. If John (or anyone else) chooses to jump into this and claim ownership, all bets are off. But until then...
    I didn't do any analysis, I simply looked at the email header. It doesn't matter who wrote the content--it's clearly authored under the WaylandTransparency banner with no third party author noted. And even if there was a third party, it's still distributed under the WaylandTransparency banner. And WaylandTransparency is only so transparent as to reveal a single member. That would be Mr. Flaherty. Until someone else steps up and takes ownership, the only ownership that anyone can ascribe is to Mr. Flaherty. No guessing needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I didn't do any analysis, I simply looked at the email header. It doesn't matter who wrote the content--it's clearly authored under the WaylandTransparency banner with no third party author noted. And even if there was a third party, it's still distributed under the WaylandTransparency banner. And WaylandTransparency is only so transparent as to reveal a single member. That would be Mr. Flaherty. Until someone else steps up and takes ownership, the only ownership that anyone can ascribe is to Mr. Flaherty. No guessing needed.
    OK, Jeff. I get it. Make a guess, state it is fact, and then insist it's so as an effort to force someone to agree/disagree. Really a sad departure for you from typically fact-based arguments to insinuation and accusation. I no longer wonder whether this tactic is permissible on these boards, I know it isn't.

    The only things you know are that WT distributed the cheat sheet (which you have no problem with such sheet being written -- only the supposed hypocrisy of the whole thing) and that WT is run by John. Stop bullying someone who is not a part of the conversation. Like I said, if he chooses to jump in, have at it. Until then....move on, Jeff. The election is over. Mr. Astley was re-elected.

    I think your real issue is that every single person on the WT cheat sheet won -- marking the fourth election (including the STM) that candidates/issues not supported by folks you have historically been aligned with have claimed victory. Makes for a very interesting ATM on the horizon! Now that's a topic for discussion!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    OK, Jeff. I get it. Make a guess, state it is fact, and then insist it's so as an effort to force someone to agree/disagree. Really a sad departure for you from typically fact-based arguments to insinuation and accusation. I no longer wonder whether this tactic is permissible on these boards, I know it isn't.
    No guessing--my position is fact-based. Mr. Flaherty is the only named person associated with the cheat sheet. If others wish to step up, fine, but even so, his distribution from his personal web site is what's important.

    I see this one of two ways (although I can't rule out both being true). One, WaylandTransparency is a joke if it doesn't transparently attach names to its membership and authorship. In fact, Mr. Flaherty only added his name after repeated pointing out of the incongruity between transparency and anonymity. Two, castigating one person for a perfectly legitimate tactic (advocating for a vote) and then turning around and doing the same without noting the change in position is hypocrisy. I have no problem with people changing positions for legitimate reasons. I just haven't heard Mr. Flaherty announce that he's changed his mind on bullying.

    More broadly, I can't understand someone who wouldn't attach their name to the cause of transparency. I certainly do. Many residents (Mr. Boschetto, Ms. Bouchard, Ms. Cook, Mr. George, Ms. Wagner, and Mr. Kinney among others) have tackled far less clear cut positions and had no problem attaching their name. Why wouldn't people do the same for transparency?

    Jeff B., your thinking about anonymity has been clear and consistent, and on this point (among numerous others, I'm betting) we agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    The only things you know are that WT distributed the cheat sheet (which you have no problem with such sheet being written -- only the supposed hypocrisy of the whole thing) and that WT is run by John. Stop bullying someone who is not a part of the conversation. Like I said, if he chooses to jump in, have at it. Until then....move on, Jeff. The election is over. Mr. Astley was re-elected.
    How can Mr. Flaherty not be part of the conversation HE started from HIS personal web site?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I think your real issue is that every single person on the WT cheat sheet won -- marking the fourth election (including the STM) that candidates/issues not supported by folks you have historically been aligned with have claimed victory. Makes for a very interesting ATM on the horizon! Now that's a topic for discussion!!
    It doesn't matter what you think. It matters what is. Again, my original point had only to do with the hypocrisy. To say otherwise is to accuse me of being a liar. You're not doing that, are you?

    As for "marking the fourth election," well, you've gone beyond the spin cycle to full on distortion. The STM had no candidates, and the current and recent elections returned to service a number of people not endorsed by Mr. Flaherty. Oversight on your part, or convenient omission?

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