Tuesday, October 27, 2009

About that "Special Message"...................................................................

To understand the numerous ironies embedded in the Mayor's message to the SSVFD, you about had to be there, to witness the true facts as they unfolded. For a better understanding of the background and to recognize the irony is his statements go back into my archive and review the posts of June 4th and 10th of 2008. In addition, take a look at George Kowalski's blog regarding the contract negotiations, and review the Town Council Minutes of June 3, 2008. I believe you will then be able to develop a true picture of the situation.

When reading the meeting minutes, realize that this is not a "word for word" account but a synopsis of what was said. I could swear I remember that the exact text of the Mayor's statement was originally attached to the posted minutes, but is no longer there.

To convey an idea of the demeanor in which his statement was delivered I have to relate these two comments from the audience: The lady sitting next to me, "That was scary, is he always like that?", or the minister's wife, who in the public comment period at the end of the meeting was inspired to throw her arms up in the air in frustration and loudly proclaim "I can't frickin' believe this!".

There are two points in Don's email that I can only describe as egregiously disingenuous:

1. He refers to the SSVFD, Dare County EMS, and SSPD, as having "tireless dedication to serve, manage, and administer first-class organizations". These are the very same people that he insulted and forced to walk out of the June 3, 2008 meeting. Remember this, they were present at this meeting for an awards ceremony, to celebrate the saving of two lives (one of the victims was actualy present). Why would he seek at that time, the dissolution and forced take over of a "first-class organization"?

2. Although he professes at the end of the email that he has ".....always had a deep respect for the SSVFD" and further states ".....ask yourselves how you would feel if you were unjustly attacked?", I believe Mayor Smith has failed to recognize the ultimate irony of all.

Mayor Smith's Special Message to SSVFD Members.................................

Following is the full text of Mr. Smith's email to the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Dept. membership, less his telephone number and email address:

"I want to send a personal message to our public safety professionals, many of whom I count as dear friends.

My family and I served proudly for many years with the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department. Merrie and I were proud members for many years. Merrie was a member for approx 12 years and myself for almost 13. I was deeply proud that Merrie was the first women member of the department and helped in organizing the rehab group, and was awarded firefighter of the year. Long before moving south, I earned a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice and most of my classmates were emergency services personnel.

During my service with SSVFD I learned many lessons including; the SSVFD, Dare County EMS, and SSPD are truly outstanding and among the best in the nation. I also learned that it takes tremendous motivation, outstanding skill, and tireless dedication to serve, manage, and administer first-class organizations like this. My hat is off to everyone who serves!

This past year we were successful in negotiating the first long-term contract with our Fire Department. It is not a buzzword when I say it is mutually beneficial - it is a fact! Everyone benefits from having our great relationship cemented by long-term strategic planning. The negotiations were not easy and at times they were challenging but that is the true nature of business negotiations. As stewards of the public trust it is the responsibility of the mayor and town council to obtain the best possible outcome for the town. At some point in time, all of Town Council and our Town Manager participated in these negotiations and all were totally committed to the development of a fair and objective long-term, mutually-beneficial agreement and that is what we got. I was pleased with the results, proud of closing the deal with Chief Bob Harvey and presenting the results to Town Council who approved it unanimously.

November 3rd is Election Day and I would like to extend an offer for any member to feel free in contacting me with any questions or concerns they may have. I continue to be disappointed with the false rumors that are going around and would urge everyone to get the facts before voting. I must say that my family including my Dad have a total of over 30 years as members and do not feel it is fair to paint us as anti fire department. We have always had a deep respect for the SSVFD and ask yourselves how you would feel if you were unjustly attacked?"

Don Smith

Friday, October 23, 2009

Of like mind.............................................................................................

Read George Kowalski's blog I can atest to the validty of his statements regarding the rencent "unpleasantries" between the SSVFD and the Mayor, I was present on a number of occassions when the issues were brought up and I'm just as convinced that if the Mayor is re-elected this animosity will continue

Where were you, Mr. Van Curen?..............................................................

Who is Mr. Van Curen? He is a Southern Shores resident that recently wrote a letter to the Editor of the Outer Banks Sentinel entitled "Where were you, Hal Denny", and a long time supporter of Mayor Smith. If my memory is correct, he has written similar letters during previous campaigns involving Don Smith or in support of Don’s agenda.

I pose the question in the title of this post as a retort to Van Curen’s blast at Hal Denny’s record of attendance to TOSS Council meetings. It seems he adheres to a theory that there is some correlation between presence at these meetings and the ability to judge the status and performance of our town government.

Based on his statements one might assume that he must personally attend these meetings himself in order to observe Hal’s lack of attendance. Now, Mr. Van Curen may have attended the one specific meeting he cites, I was unable to attend that one myself (due to an issue at work). But I do know him by sight, and I believe I would have noted his presence at the eighteen or so council meetings I have attended in the last year.

This brings me to the following questions:

Where did Mr. Van Curen get this information?

Is someone in TOSS government tracking citizen attendance at these meetings? Or are there just specific individuals being watched?

In all honesty, I personally believe that this letter was just a political ploy as an attempt to cast doubt on Hal Denny’s ability to judge the Town’s current status and formulate future decisions. There are many other resources and means of determining the performance of the TOSS.

Now, if you feel you must agree in regard to Mr. Van Curen’s theory that attendance at these meetings is vital to understand the state of Town government and it’s affairs, I must pose the following:

I would have to be the ultimate expert and “Guru” of all matters related to TOSS. I began regular attendance to both monthly council meetings in May of 1986. My best estimate of attendance is +/- 300 meetings not including various committee meetings (some on which I served) and special council/retreat sessions. If you wish to verify this, contact the Town Clerk, Carrie Gordon, I was even at the meeting when she was introduced as a new hire.

In my “expert opinion”, if you care about this community or have any concern for the future of our town, you must Vote Hal Denny for Mayor!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I've been patiently waiting for Southern Shores politics to heat up, given the upcoming Mayoral election (Nov. 3), between incumbent, Don Smith and challenger, Hal Denny. With only three weeks left to campaign, I believe I'm beginning to see things stir up a bit. More on this later.

First there are a couple of things I must say:

1. In all of my previous posts I have attempted to provide alternate means for, you the reader, to verify my statements, either by reference or by direct clickable links. If, as some have suggested, my posts seemed overly negative I can only say that I am not responsible for the statements, ideals, or actions of others. I can only interpret and report as I witnessed them. As always, "trust but verify", there are numerous resources and other witnesses to the matters I have reported.

2. Yes, if you heard that I had originally filed and then later withdrawn as a candidate for Mayor, that is correct. After discussing this with Hal Denny I withdrew. Hal is a past Council Member and Mayor of Southern Shores. If you are a registered voter in Southern Shores, I contend that it is in your best interests to vote for Hal Denny as our next Mayor.