To the editor:
In response to the D.A. Thomases who believe everything they read or hear to be true and who gleefully contribute to the “whirl” of distortion and distraction, here is the truth of the matter.
It is true, for nearly a decade before I held elected office I collected nickel returnable bottles from the roadside and from blue bins. I continued to do so once I was elected trustee and then mayor because I found it especially insightful to learn about the concerns and ideas of residents across the village. I enjoyed numerous “end-of-the-driveway” chats.
As for the “charges;” A supporter of the candidate I defeated for mayor found an obscure village “blue bin” code and filed a complaint with the Town of Manlius Police. I was ticketed for violating this long unenforced code (which is the equivalent of having an unlicensed vehicle in your driveway or not cutting your lawn). For the record, in the nearly 35 years the “blue bin” code has been on the books, only one individual has ever been cited with such a violation, and that individual is me.
Yes, I recognized the value of glass and plastic bottles that were discarded. Yes, I am a self-described “recovering blue bin picker.” And yes, I have not collected a single nickel returnable bottle since 2010.
It is true, I applied for a one-time Star Exemption in 1990 for a two-family home which I own in the City of Syracuse. Annual renewals were not required. Yes, I had a Star Exemption on a two-family home in Syracuse. Yes, my intent was only to apply for what I was eligible for in 1990, not to evade paying taxes on the property. And yes, the Star Exemption was removed in 2010.
It may be true that “sausage lunches” were allegedly taken out of the Stickley Drive fire house. But not by me. Yes, a complaint without merit, witness or proof was filed with the Town of Manlius Police. And yes, the only thing worthy about this story today is that it still is a prime example of blatantly “fake news.”
Yes, a village employee (whom I hired) claimed I created a “threatening” work environment. A claim, also without merit, witness or proof, was made public just months before the 2013 village election. A claim with one express purpose: To add to the distortion and distraction spurred by “Bottlegate,” “Stargate” and “Sausagegate.” The political motivation was as obvious then and as it is today.
I am by no means a perfect human being. No one is. In life, adversity can either make or break a person. I was raised to face life’s challenges head-on and by the grace of God I am a stronger person for it and I will be a better mayor in spite of it. My character and life story have been forged by tenacity, persistence and determination as well as shaped by my unwavering affection and appreciation for the mighty village of Manlius.