ballston-journal-opinion

Letter to the Editor: Shaw on Transparency? Lead by Example

I’m publicly following up on a conversation my brother Frank and I had with Noah Shaw Monday night after the first Village Board meeting I’ve personally seen Noah attend.  

Noah, you seemed upset with the fact my brother Frank and I had been firing off some tough questions at you (see, for example, Frank’s 3/8/17 The Ballston Journal Online letter), and you suggested only we were posing the questions asked.  Subsequently, others have been on your campaign’s Facebook page asking the same questions, and you still refuse to answer them because you suggested to us that you won’t respond publicly despite our advice to you.  Your solution was to “sit down over coffee” with us to discuss the questions.

Noah, for a candidate who preaches “transparency,” how is any of this transparent?  In your recent letter/video (the content was identical in both), you raised your work with NYSERDA as a qualification for your Trusteeship.  Well, your unwillingness to answer questions publicly is reminiscent of when you took a public conversation private at NYSERDA about the sale of the Malta Tech Park to SUNY Polytechnic for $1 when major doubts and questions were raised about the deal (http://blog.timesunion.com/business/nat-grid-exec-wasnt-only-nyserda-board-member-to-question-deal-with-suny-poly/69163/).  You are not practicing what you preach in your job nor in your candidacy.
So again, when you took Frank to task on his questions concerning the Governor’s plans to try to consolidate municipalities by saying essentially, “Why would I run for this position if I was looking to dissolve the Village?” you weren’t answering the question about your position on the Governor’s plan.  Instead, you kept answering it with other questions, asking us if we understood how the current plan works (and Frank explained how the Governor is bribing counties to create sacrificial-lamb municipalities in exchange for grant money from the State).  You kept calling the Governor’s plan “debt consolidation” for some reason — that’s not what it’s called — and when asked, “If the composition of Saratoga County’s leadership were to change over the next four years so that the County attempted dissolve the Village of Ballston Spa, what you would do as a Trustee?” you said, “I won’t answer hypotheticals.”  Noah, this isn’t a law school class.  This is a real issue that Ballston Spa could face during your potential tenure as Trustee.  You’re basically suggesting that there indeed exists at least one set of circumstances in which you think it would be okay for the State/County to dissolve the Village and for Village residents to lose their autonomy.  Are you afraid to commit to a position against this because of your connection to the Cuomo Administration?  Are you being put up to running for this position by the Administration itself?
Yet, this is normally the point at which you passionately tell everyone, including Frank and me, “I’m not running to be a partisan person.”  This reminds me of when you told us strongly, “I’m not a member of Smart Growth Ballston,” despite Ben Walter suggesting otherwise, or when you told me (regarding Liz Kormos) that you “can’t pick your supporters” despite accepting Liz’s invitation to hold a meet-and-greet event at her home.  So, I decided to do some checking after our conversation based on your claim of nonpartisanship — the results were shocking.  The Federal Election Commission and other sources say that from 2007 through 2012 (before you took public sector jobs), you made around 40 donations totaling over $14,000 to major campaigns — and every one of those donations appears to be to a Democrat, including Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren (http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/noah-shaw.asp?cycle=12 ; http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/noah-shaw.asp?cycle=10 ; http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/noah-shaw.asp?cycle=08 ; FEC website results in photo below).  In fact, you were a bundler for Obama, committing to bundle between $200,000 and $500,000 of donations for his 2012 campaign before you took a Federal agency job (https://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/bundlers.php).  You went from a Federal agency job under a Democratic administration to a State agency job under a Democratic administration.  Noah, I’ve been around the bend a few times in my life, and I know that you don’t get those jobs without truly being a partisan person.  For you to keep trying to sell this nonpartisanship baloney to residents is not only disingenuous, but shameful because you’re playing Village residents for fools.  You can tout your grandfather’s Republican background all you want — I know plenty of people who are liberals despite their conservative parents, let alone grandparents; it doesn’t make those liberals any more conservative.
Look, I’m not a person who believes in negative campaigning being a great move — and I’m proud of the Republicans for staying positive and keeping on their messages.  But, the Republican Trustee candidates have been asked tough questions publicly on their Facebook campaign pages routinely.  They have always publicly answered the questions posed, and you and I both know the League of Women Voters cancelled the 3/16 event based on the Democrats’ improper behavior before the LWV tried to “un-cancel” it, submarining the Republican candidates in the process (if you don’t believe me, I’ll happily show you the emails reflecting it).  Yet, sometimes someone needs to step up and tell the emperor that he is, in fact, naked in his “new clothes.”  If that’s negative, then I’m guilty as charged — but I’d rather be negative than dishonest or dodgy.  Simple questions like, “Did you vote in 2015’s Village elections?” are for some reason unanswerable by you despite your constant touting of voter numbers from that election.  You refuse to answer legitimate questions on consolidation because of their “hypothetical” nature.  You won’t publicly answer questions on an energy tax that will hurt the local school district.  You can’t answer how you’ll be able to lobby Albany as a Trustee if there actually becomes a conflict of interest with your job or a conflict of time in your work and parenting life.  This is just to name a few open questions.
Noah, if you think the Village can use social media to become a more transparent entity, then lead by example.  Instead of coffee with us to dodge publicly answering real questions, spend the time facing all residents on YOUR social media.  Until then, voters should be massively untrusting of your intentions and your candidacy with so much on the line for the Village in the next four years.
Gina Marozzi
Ballston Spa (38 year resident)
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