Before and during the dedication of the Rochester Veterans Park, Memorial Day 2011.
With fellow Town Board members Tavi Cilenti and Carl Chipman, May 30, 2011.
Dear members of the Rochester Republican Committee and other open-minded readers:
After more than six years of being involved in Rochester’s political life, I realized that it’s impossible to have an open discussion with my fellow committee members which is not staged by David O’Halloran, the committee Chair.
I don’t like deals made behind closed doors, so I decided to communicate with you through this open letter which would be read by many and appreciated by few.
Being a member of the 2007 winning team, I served as a Town of Rochester Councilwoman (2008-2011). As most of you committee members never attended a Town Board meeting during my four-year term, or came to any of the town events I did attend or promote, please allow me to highlight some of my activity – before, while and after being an elected official.
I am proud of…
- being the record-holder in attending town meetings and events
- helping to create BusyRochester.com, the first and still the only business directory of our town (where a Chamber of Commerce does not exist)
- succeeding to establish the Town Board’s open interviews policy
- being member of a team which healed the town, and solved the problems in the Fire Department and Assessor’s Office
- being the only Town Board member attending Grievance Day in the last 40 years (as I was told by Bruce Schoonmaker, God rest his soul)
- being part of the team which never increased the town taxes
- never missing a crucial meeting as Town Board liaison
- having a proven record of non-partisan voting
- never allowing to be pushed when voting on the Town Board (there were only two such instances in four years, one request coming from Rochester Republican Chair David O’Halloran, the other from fellow Legislator-candidate John Dawson)
- being instrumental in finally finishing the Rochester Veterans Park, by following up – as Town Board liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission – on the seven-year project
- fighting to keep Rochester whole during the redistricting process (as opposed to having the town chopped up for 10 years between legislative districts to favor the incumbent)
- being the only Town Board member attending the Annual Association of Towns meetings and training sessions in the last six years
- participating hands-on to activities of the Youth Commission (where I am a member and secretary)
- promoting town events, especially those organized by the Recreation/Youth Commission, via letters to the editor and photographs sent to newspapers
- making sure – as a then member of the Ulster County Tourism Advisory Board – that what’s on the covers of the Ulster County Travel Guides helps creating and maintaining the Ulster County brand
Despite my record, all I hear is “how can we get rid of Manuela?”
The question, especially asked by outsiders, is “why”?
Until somebody provides a better answer, here is mine:
You want to get rid of Manuela because she is outspoken, Manuela hates deals, Manuela really desires to serve, Manuela wants true town representation at the County level, Manuela cannot be manipulated, Manuela is fair and non-partisan, Manuela cares for all the people, Manuela is not self-serving, Manuela refuses to let politics change her…
In 2009 I told the Ulster County Republicans that the selection of Legislature candidates should not be based on the Catalano-Bernardo deal. I was dismissed and threatened, but I was right, and those dirty deals permanently scarred our county – no matter if you accept it or not. My 2009 candidacy symbolically offered voters a choice: I won the Republican primary in Rochester and I won the Republican line in the general election by 415 votes.
The appointments made by Terry Bernardo as Chair of the Ulster County Legislature proved that I was right when I told you – in 2011 – that the Republican party was hijacked by the Bonacic-Bernardo people. Ignoring the weight-voting required by the Election Law, Chairman O’Halloran engaged in pretend-voting over the phone, more than ten days after the interviews of Legislative candidates took place. The incumbent got the nod, but many of you don’t even recall the 2011 vote that was never recorded in the minutes of our Committee. Again, I offered voters a choice in the Legislative race. Unfortunately, as all other candidates in town were running unopposed, not many people bothered to vote that year.
Today there are three Republican candidates for one Legislator seat. On April 17, 2013, at our meeting before the interviews, I explained “why I’m running” (that little speech is on my blog at BeingManuela.com).
I have the personal, professional and political qualifications that make me the best candidate for the position of District 21 Legislator. My character, determination, and fairness, my expertise in marketing/communication, my involvement at county level in tourism issues, my experience and dedication as Town of Rochester Councilwoman and Youth Commission member, are all beyond question.
I appeal to each of you committee members (except Terry Bernardo, of course) to vote – when unofficially nominating one of us – based on our records. Not based on our pets, wrinkles, husbands or nieces, but based on our records; please vote based on facts, not on rumors, friendship or deals. Please vote your conscience as one day your vote would tell more about our town and this committee than about the candidates.
We’ve all witnessed the wrong being done to the people of Rochester and Ulster County in the last four years. As I said at the April committee meeting, I would never be part of the problem; and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m willing and able to right the wrong.
Thank you for reading,
Member of the Rochester Republican Committee,
former Town of Rochester Councilwoman,
presently Youth Commission member.
UPDATE – May 23, 2013
I’m glad I wrote this open letter asking for a vote based on candidates’ record… Last night, at the Rochester Republican Committee endorsement meeting, the “result” of my open letter was that I was not even nominated. Moreover, out of three candidates:
- Terry Bernardo – Legislator and Chairwoman of the Ulster County Legislature
Manuela Michailescu – former Town of Rochester Councilwoman
…the person with no record whatsoever received the nod. Thanks to the Committee members for confirming my expectations.
It was my choice not to play this mad game. I would follow my own path to the November ballot.