This letter to the editor is from Rye resident Ted Carroll:
To serve a Whopper one must first identify those willing to swallow it. A vegetarian conference or weight loss centers are likely poor territories for those pushing a high calorie bovine derivative. Better to go where the market is more accepting, like among time deprived urban and suburban human carnivores and by placing outlets on busy thoroughfares. After all, a Whopper is generally consumed by those who attach value to it, support it, and most importantly, benefit from it. These beneficiaries are like self interest groups or special interest groups, if you will, who may not share a commonality of other interests but unify around sustaining this one.
And so it might be said of other Whoppers, those of the less than truthful kind such as: statements, assertions, even bold proclamations of half truth, low-cal truth, or simply utter falsehoods. These public Whoppers frequently are served around election time in mailings, live interviews, and newspaper stories and columns. Thus, the danger lies in the propagation of these Whoppers disguised as fact, not fiction, and having as their prime target those whose awareness of local current public issues is generally limited. Importantly here, constant repetition is the foundation of message control – the Whopper served relentlessly has an Election Day edge over single or even a multiplicity of stated whole truths.
Take, for example, the curious local election version of the neo-fiduciary cry “Putting the City’s Interests First!” This one is usually served with side orders of “Keeping Taxes Low” and “Keeping Rye Affordable.” I think it would be hard to find any but a few who do not agree with these worthy goals; most also like puppies and spring flowers. But, among those rare few would apparently be mayoral office-seeker Peter Jovanovich, who late on a hot August night unwrapped obscure re-zoning proposals to convert a valuable surplus city property near the center of town (1037 Boston Post Road) into a site where over 60 rental apartments could be built. This despite a soaring school enrollment crisis driving property taxes up and up while the school board struggled mightily to control their rate of increase.
Defeated on this gambit, by a large crowd of angry taxpayers at the very next meeting, Mr. Jovanovich pivoted and, behind the cloak of closed door “Executive Sessions,” gathered the majority of city council votes needed to push thru a non-competitive below-market sale of this very same valuable city property under the guise of “solving real problems.” What a Whopper this soon turned out to be when, after public pressure, an independent real estate broker procured multiple qualified buyers each willing to pay over $2 million dollars more for the property than Mr. Jovanovich personally assured the taxpayers could be gotten by forgoing that unnecessary open public sale process. If $2 million of City funds were so easy for him to give away, then what even more costly ”hatched behind closed doors” scheme might he now envision for our future?
Part and parcel of this derailed property sale scam is a now bulging grab-bag of municipal ethics telltales, one more serious than the next, involving senior city staff being caught making false statements under oath, withholding public documents, destroying public records, encouraging then recriminating against a city employee whistleblower, presenting fraudulent supply contracts for council authorization, delivering wrongful contract terminations, and on and on and on. You’d expect that to de-legitimize this escalation of documented wrongdoing a really special Jovanovich Whopper would be required. And, you’d be right! And here it is – these “so called” ethical issues are “a side show,” they didn’t really happen, are not worthy of discussion, are not important matters, are a form of “municipal porn.” Regrettably, even those casually familiar with Council meeting rebroadcasts and local print and electronic media know this to be totally and demonstrably false.
The Rye City electorate is not stupid – and Rye citizen engagement with the Council meeting broadcasts has never been higher. Many of those who know what they’ve seen with their own eyes have told me they are determined to use their ballots to restore integrity and trust in our local government. And so right on schedule, a self-entitled political class minority who still benefit from status quo served up a bunch of untrue ‘Whopper-ous’ attack ads focused on the character, competence and integrity of Joe Sack. Like those before them, these “Hail Mary” Whoppers are as incredible as they are – inedible.
I’m joining a whole lot of you in voting for Joe Sack for Mayor of Rye.