… that is, for financial support for the DTC candidates and he encourages voters to become “involved in our activities” (from his letter sent to registered Democrats dated Sept. 12th).
If Mr. Richardson is so interested in reducing the tax burden for Woodstock residents, why hasn’t he spoken up about the multi-million dollar expansion plans for Woodstock Academy which will ultimately be the burden of Woodstock taxpayers? Likewise, Kaeding-Wholean’s support of the Academy’s expansion plan at the expense of the K-8 school system is contradictory to Richardson’s ‘squeeze blood from a turnip’ plan if he is elected to the Board of Finance even though they apparently support each other.
Jim Kaeding became Chairman of the Woodstock Democratic Town Committee following the self-destructive DTC Chairmanship of Joe Breen. I’m sure most recall the events leading up to the last election where Democrats failed miserably to get elected.
By late May of 2007, five months before the election, I had no illusions about the chances for Democrats winning in that 2007 election because the furor created by Joe’s letter to the State Legislature’s Education Committee (the problem statement which remains correct and indisputable today), the ninth grade proposal under discussion by the Board of Education (put forth by Republican and Democratic BOE members), and the push for enforceable zoning by the Planning and Zoning Commission under Breen’s leadership. These three issues, regardless or in spite of their merit, had poisoned the chances of anyone associated with Breen getting elected. My attitude was “if you know you are going to lose, have fun”.
My main concern at that time was about the possibility that Margaret Wholean, Jim Kaeding’s wife, might be re-elected as First Selectman. Therefore, I agreed to seek the nomination of the DTC for First Selectman in attempt to block or diminish the success of her candidacy for First Selectman. Although I lost the Democratic nomination in a primary with Ms. Wholean, I believe we did rally a minority of Democrats against Ms. Wholean and, to my great relief, she lost re-election. At any rate voters shifted rightfully to Allan Walker because of the infighting within the DTC, and members that left the the Breen-dominated DTC.
The rift in the DTC, in 2006-2007, arose from Ms. Wholean’s failure to pursue the Democratic platform upon which she was elected. Instead, she and Kaeding aligned themselves with Preston Shultz, Craig Powers, and Dave Richardson to attack their common target, the Board of Education, with wild accusations of mis-used taxpayer funding. In attempting to diminish support for the BOE, Wholean and Kaeding where working out of the First Selectman’s office on behalf of the Academy to help this fine learning institution get what they wanted from the Town (namely more athletic fields and a new sewer line). What they wanted and still want is the ability to expand their athletic fields (at a cost of $5-6 million), a right-of-way for the Academy sewer connection, and other ambitious projects, all eventually to be funded by the taxpayers.
At the same time, Wholean took a vacation trip to Senegal with the Academy, and lined her pockets with pay raises that amounted to 13.3% in a period of 13-months. In a debate held on WINY in early September 2007, when I questioned her about a 9% raise she had just given herself, Ms. Wholean stated irrationally something to the effect that she was building up Town Operating Budget so that the Town could hire a “Town Administrator” … but she forgot to take the money out of her bank account and give it back to the town .
My concern at that time has not changed today. Kaeding-Wholean are simply trying a different tact of electing Richardson, Powers, and Wholean to the BOF to pursue their obvious goal - this is to undermine the funding, and therefore leadership, of the Board of Education and the well-performing K-8 school system for the benefit of the Woodstock Academy. No doubt, Wholean’s decision to run for an alternate position on the BOF was based of the realization that she was not viable running against Allan Walker (Allan has done a fine job and I support him 100%, for what it’s worth. Thanks for a great two years, Allan!).
In my opinion Kaeding-Wholean’s blind allegiance to the Academy Trustees creates a conflict of interest for serving in Woodstock town government. It’s odd but Kaeding-Wholean’s support of the Academy seems contradictory to Richardson’s goal to reduce taxation. It’s also odd that Richardson (to my knowledge) has never questioned the funding of the Academy - while together with Wholean, Kaeding, Powers, and Shultz - has made a career of attacking the funding and performance of the K-8 school system. Richardson claims to have ”transparency” (how unoriginal).
So, what about the Academy budget and their multi-million dollar expansion plans, Mr. Richardson? The problem with Richardson’s transparency is that what we see, we don’t like.
Mr. Kaeding wants us to give money to the DTC. Do ya think he might want to use that money to promote Mr. Richardson’s candidacy to the Board of Finance. After all Ms. Wholean signed the petition that nominated Mr. Richardson as a candidate for the Board of Finance. Since both the SEEC and I view married couples as a single entity, Ms. Wholean’s signature is also Mr. Kaeding’s signature. And in nominating Mr. Richardson, they have likely dealt one of their two DTC nominees for the Board of Finance (Dick Cass and Charles Super) a losing ticket to the Board of Finance. This act shows the duplicity of the Kaeding-Wholean leadership of the DTC. Not only do they have a conflict of interest that should disqualify them from any elected position in Woodstock’s government; they are behaving deceptively in their fund raising for and leadership of the DTC. So, let them pay for their shenanigans themselves.
The statement by Kaeding in the June 5th Villager is all about removing all obstacles from the Academy’s path to get what they want at the expense of Woodstock taxpayers. His statement was NOT persuasive as the voters in the June 9th referendum VOTED NO in a sound rejection of Kaeding, Wholean, Powers, Shultz, and Richardson.