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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stop the Smear Campaign

Resident Stan Kaplan says Chairman Larry O'Brien doesn't deserve to be bullied.

It is apparent to me that Selectman Chairman Larry O'Brien's losing political opponents are orchestrating a smear campaign that will win them the spoils that they failed to achieve at the ballot box in this most resent Town election for the Selectman seat won by Mr. O'Brien.

Shame on you!

Selectman O'Brien's only breach at the Lavender Restaurant that evening was his social proclivity which I applaud!

Chairman Larry O'Brien did nothing wrongful here and those who attack him on this overwrought matter do so without merit and with a not-so-hidden agenda.

Respectfully submitted,

Stan Kaplan

98 Victoria Road

Edward Stark June 15, 2012 at 10:19 AM
Earth to Stan: According to Fox News there are almost 800 people on a Facebook page right now who are calling for Larry O'Brien's resignation. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and hope that you wrote this letter 3 days ago. Otherwise it's hard to give it any merit. Good thing it was a short one otherwise I would have felt bad as to how much time you actually spent drafting it.
Heath Umbach June 15, 2012 at 11:23 AM
I think it is his proclivity to withhold information about the additional, potentially significant events of the night in question that has people rankled. I too have no problem with adults going out to celebrate the end of one town year and the start of another that includes a changeover in leadership positions. Surely you do not think it is that and only that aspect that has everyone exercised, do you? No need to list them all here, but there are many concerning behaviors, actions and non-actions during and since that night that have created the interest and action on the part of citizens.
John Kelley June 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Seriously? Facebook? So 800 people who didn't vote for Larry O'Brien in the first place and whose candidates have not won the last two elections and are now using Facebook and thinking it makes a legitimate statement? I'm sure that it would be easy to get the people who didn't vote for Bob Haarde to ask for his resignation but I'd like to think that this level of political silliness is not the new norm in Sudbury. Fox News actually is reporting this?
sla271320 June 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Thank you, Stan. You're exactly right. This is politically motivated. And despite what Edward Stark says, the number of members on the Facebook page is deceiving. People are ending up as members unwittingly. And some people are joining to see how horrible this campaign is and who's behind it. Look at who is adding and inviting other people.
Heath Umbach June 15, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Agree we shouldn't govern by or overestimate social media. But to dismiss it totally would also be a mistake. Social media is today's version of gathering at the town green to organize, discuss or even protest. Anyway, that's not my question or point. Mine is, does Stan or do others really think the focus and ire are directed to gathering socially at a local establishment? Or do people understand that there are many more events surrounding the violation that are of concern and worthy of discussion vs. just statements? Both sides are finger-pointing so far - one says nothing to see here, just a witch hunt; the other is storming the social media town hall. Seems to me a discussion in the proper forum is at least warranted to begin clearing the air so that we don't dedicate undue time (but that we DO dedicate the appropriate time) to the "event."
Joanne Muzzin June 15, 2012 at 01:46 PM
We are relatively new to town, so my concerns are not politically motivated or rooted in any allegiances I had to others running for Selectman. On the face of it, Selectmen who issue Liquor Licences for the Town and who potentially influence police hiring should not be engaged in breaking the terms of the liquor licence. Furthermore, they hold some accountability to ensure that staff at their party do not leave in an inebriated state. The reported facts of the case indicate that there is potentially some abuse of power going on. This is bad for our local businesses, bad for our town cohesiveness, and erodes our trust in their leadership. This situation has not been handled well by the Selectmen involved or the Town Manager. I think there is a justified sense among the average person in town that this behavior surrounding the event in question and the subsequent arrogance with which information has been disclosed is unacceptable. There is no need for ad hominem attacks or attempts to politicize this debate. Surely these Selectmen and Town Manager realize that this situation, and for lack of a better term, cover-up sullies the reputation of Sudbury.
anon June 15, 2012 at 01:46 PM
All of the above assertions make assumptions. I am a member of that FB page and consider it one of the means by which to stay abreast of this situation. I do not necessarily want O'Brien's resignation, so Ed Stark's assertion is false - at least with respect to me. And I would also have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Kaplan. My concern over this situation is in no way politically motivated. Quite honestly, I haven't followed the past election of selectmen all that closely because I have been happy with the way things in Sudbury seemed to be going. Perhaps I am to fault for my own complacency. Regardless, I am not some disgruntled supporter of the past opposition who seeks to use these recent events as a backdoor means of getting my way. Having followed these events closely, I can say that I find it troubling that elected officials involved in granting an establishment their liquor license would put that business in a compromising position where 1) they might have been asked to stay open later than their posted hours of operations in order to accommodate them, 2) stayed past the hour when alcohol could legally be served, and 3) allowed one of the party to leave so intoxicated that she was involved in an accident (thankfully with no injuries or fatalities) and received her third OUI. And when you are the one with the power to grant or rescind a liquor license, to suggest that it was the restaurant's responsibility to throw you out or turn you away is simply cowardly.
Mike Curry June 15, 2012 at 01:48 PM
There very well may be some people who are politically motivated around this issue, I can only speak for myself, and I am not. My motivation is to get a straight answer as to: 1-why were two of the selectmen in a bar after posted business hours? (the town does not need this type of social proclivity from their elected officials) 2-why did these same officials allow someone who has a drinking & driving problem drive home after drinking? (offer to drive her home or call her a cab) 3-how did these elected officials get access to a business that was closed? (think of the pressure the owner must have been under to let them in) 3-why did police respond to a missing persons report for someone who was missing only 2 hours, taking away resources that could have been used to arrest a 3rd time OUI suspect? No matter which Selectman was involved, I would have the same questions and would threaten a recall until reasonable answers were given, and go forth with it if none are given. No one should be getting preferential treatment like this.
siobhan hullinger June 15, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Well said, Heath.
sudburymom June 15, 2012 at 02:15 PM
800 is an inflated number. I was added to the group and automatically made a member. I think there is some valid concern here but not everyone on that page wants an immediate resignation. I want transparency and a hearing if that is the public's wish. O'Brien is playing right into his critics's hands here by his refusal to answer any questions or offer a simple mea cupla. What they did was an abuse of power - the owner or lavender is not going to throw out the very people who are in charge of his licensing. I would like that acknowledged as well as the poor decision making that took place here - letting a colleague leave in an intoxicated state for starters.
Diana June 15, 2012 at 03:05 PM
The bottom line here is that Bob O'Brien read a statement that said used poor judgement and basically made a mistake. We've all made mistakes but you have to take ownership of them and he should just resign and not put the town through this. I tell my kids that all the time, "your screwed up, you are forgiven but you now have to pay the consequences".
Hudbury June 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Events occuring on the evening/morning of May 8/9th involving town officials, questionable termination of a long time teacher with little or no response from town officials, apparent power play by town officials to prevent an independent voice from assuming the chair of the BOS. Add 'em up folks. That's what people are ticked off about and rightly so. The common thread here - behavior of town officials.
Guy in Town June 15, 2012 at 03:26 PM
This is not about personal politics; this is about the last straw for the people of Sudbury. The lavender incident is another case of our selectmen serving themselves not the community. The ridiculous deal for our town manager, skipping over the rightful board chairman, and misuse of power over local businesses, and as some alledge, over the police in what could be exposed as an attempt at covering up a serious offense of drunk driving in our community. We want transparency and accountability!
Rick Billig June 15, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I support the community and the elected officials - all of them!
pmotw June 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Drobinski have done some great things for Sudbury. That you cannot take away. I voted for them in the past. I started having concerns when they both shifted into automatic override mode. When a 3 choice override ballot was presented I was convinced they had no concerns for the taxpayer’s finances. They were determined to get an override passed no matter what. This is when I started paying more attention to how the town was managed and discovered there were many ways the town could be managed more efficiently. Accountability and transparency were lost around this time as well. The recent events are the breaking point for me. There is no free pass for this recent behavior no matter what good things they have done for Sudbury. The best solution for everyone is if they both resign along with Ms. Valente and Ms. Rust being fired without any benefits or gag orders. Once this is done we can have a new election for BOS, replace the other town positions and move on.
Bryan S June 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Comments on the police---- Because the the town has not held a forum to investigate what happened, unfortunately, the town police are being questioned on their actions. From the timelines, public documents, and other sources I have seen, the police acted appropriately - in my opinion. But that is my opinion. Until there is a formal review, suspicion of preferential treatment will linger. That is not fair to the police. Mr. Kaplan, you letter attempts to make Mr. O'Brien the victim in all this. That is unfortunate. The real "victims" are: * The parents of children who have to explain why the Dare graduation speaker was at a party/hosted a party where someone left and received their third OUI. * The citizens of the town who just want some basic answers to what happened -who was where and when * The owner of Lavenders who is being blamed by some of the selectmen for remaining open with one of them inside * Transparency in our government And our town police who have not been able to formally tell their story and answer questions. Selectman O’Brien is the victim? Really?
Rick Billig June 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I am not questioning the police. I feel they are professionals and have always acted as such.
Edward Stark June 15, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Stan just a hypothetical question if you don't mind answering? What if you found out that a town official responsible for making and enforcing tax policy had evaded their very own federal income taxes? Would you have a problem in that case? I would and I see the Lavender issue in the same light. You cannot violate the very same guidelines that you are tasked with enforcing.
SueChap June 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Consider this, an O'Brien supporter asking "we the people" to stop the smear campaign. Anyone have any of the emails sent from the O'Brien Gutch McDonald gang to smear others in town? There are those in town that say, I want to see the facts. I suggest that you can quickly find all the documents that support what is being discussed. To those that have the facts and agree that this was a gross abuse of power, I say, go to the next selectmen meeting and demand to be heard. This is at the core of the problem -- Drobinski and O'Brien have refused to allow anyone to comment or ask questions. We have a right to know. I can only hope the people stay engaged on this one. .

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