What has been referred to in this blog as a new North Haven-oriented website, the Community Watchdog Spotlight, was announced in a letter to the editor of the Citizen (Nov. 16) and a paid column in this week’s Advisor by Veronica Hamel Kivela (click on the small image of it below).
The stated goal of the Spotlight is to inform voters whether candidates are following through on their campaign promises. That’s an easy way to make any candidate look bad, since candidates almost never fulfill all their campaign promises, and some may take years to fulfill, no matter how hard a candidate tries (the coming recession will make things especially difficult).
But the stated goal of the Community Watchdog Project website (www.sctir.com), which is where this and future columns are to appear, is different from the column’s stated goal. The Watchdog Project’s goal is “to abolish illegal immigration in the State of Connecticut beginning with New Haven, and to protect our right to be American.”
In the Hartford Courant (August 26, 2007), Ms. Kivela is quoted as saying, “If these people actually want to come to America because they want a slice of the American pie, if they want to live the great American dream that somebody has sold them, why are they bringing their thug ways with them?” This language will sound familiar to many older immigrants in North Haven, or from stories our parents or grandparents told us.
But Ms. Kivela’s Watchdog Spotlight is not about immigration, nor does it mention that immigration is her organization’s principal issue (she is the Community Watchdog Project’s Press Secretary).
Ms. Kivela’s column is an attack on First Selectwoman-elect Janet McCarty, as well as the New Haven Register (“slanted and biased reporting”) and people who “fanned the flames by embellishing on any kernel of truth.”
Ms. Kivela emphasizes how emotional Ms. McCarty is, as are, she says, those who voted for her. But her column is extremely emotional, as is her organization’s website
For example, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano is pictured as Che Guevera on a poster that says “John DeStefano - For a Socialized New Haven” (the image is soon to be featured on “our DeStefano Socialism apparel”). That does not sound like rational analysis of issues to me.
I welcome Ms. Kivela’s participation in the discussion of town government, but her emotional attack on people and their emotions is not a good start. Her accusation that Ms. McCarty’s intention to fire finance director Vincent Palmeri is based on rumor and gossip is not accurate. She knows that McCarty and others have been criticizing the work of Mr. Palmeri for several years, and that their criticisms go far beyond the grounds for arrest.
By the way, unlike the North Haven Info blog, you cannot place comments on the Community Watchdog blog without providing your name and email address. To participate here, you only have to register with Google (I have no access to this information).
Also, it does not appear that the Community Watchdog blog (if that is where the Spotlight columns are to be placed; this and the ability of town residents to comment are not discussed in the column) is functioning yet. But they seem to be testing it, so it should come on-line soon.