Thursday, July 31, 2008

Army Corps Press Conference: In which the story gets buried by the story

The Army Corp of Engineers held a press conference today at the Inn at Middletown in which they laid out their reasoning for wanting to build an Army Reserve Training Center on Boardman Lane in Westfield. Only press were allowed at the meeting. The Eye will have a full report on that meeting later this evening.

In declaring "press only" the Army Corps of Engineers unintentionally created a secondary story which will be the lead when this "package" is aired on the suppertime news this evening.

The Corps refused to allow Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, State Senator Paul Doyle, residents of the affected are and other political leaders into the room (though they allowed entry to Attorney General Dick Blumenthal), creating a story in which the Army appeared to be keeping something from the local government, and simultaneously angering the local politicians.

I arrived at the meeting just in time to hear Doyle and Giuliano complaining to the assembled press corps.

As I was leaving, Diane McCartin, who has been the public face of the Corps in these meeting climbed the spiral staircase to the hotel mezzanine to find Mayor Giuliano standing at the top.

"I'm sorry I had to keep you out of the meeting," McCartin said to the mayor.

"It's unfortunate," the mayor replied. "Because no one will hear anything about the facts of the meeting. All they'll hear is that you locked us out of the room."

McCartin then invited the mayor to join her, and some Boardman Lane neighbors to view the presentation she had made to the press. Giuliano followed McCartin and the group of residents into the hotel conference room.


Anonymous said...

I was standing right behind the Mayor and Sen. Doyle when they were denied access to the press conference.

When both identified themselves to the gentleman guarding the door, he again said that this was a private press conference. Mayor Giulian once more informed the individual as to who he was and again access was denied.

Stunned is the only word to described the looks on the faces of two elected representatives. Rep, Joe Serra was also denied access.

I'm a resident of the immediate area where the proposed site is, and have yet to have one bit of information conveyed to me by the army. We had to contact Rep. Ray Kalinowski who coordinated an information meetin set for the end of August.

In the mean time, sense the sea tide of opposition (not just the residents, but also concerned citizens and the whole City Council lead by the Mayor, plus state Rep. Kalinowksi, and Senator Paul Doyle, Sec. of State Susan Bysiewicz - heck even Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro flew up from Washington, DC to oppose this site) and are now in a state of crisis management, and up here to do damage control...well they need some new consultants in their public relations efforts - denying our duly elected officials access to a meet about what's happening within their elected jurisdictions is not a way to curry any good will - and here's the kicker...the owner of the land and his attorney were not only in the room, but the owner was given the opportuity to address the press.

Anonymous said...


Join others who love Middletown at the City Council Meeting Monday August 4th at 7pm to show support for a Resolution being presented for council vote against the siting of an Army Base on Boardman Lane in the Westfield section of town. Right now that site is a pristine farm dating back to the 1700's with the original farmhouse intact, and over half the 88 acres are environmentally sensitive wetlands. The army will destroy the ridgeline of the property and the wetlands containing wildlife habitat vernal pools by blasting and bulldozing everything flat so they can erect a Walmart-sized building with 10 acres of blacktop parking lot. Take action and be proud to protect what little natural land we have left in this city - please attend the meeting and show support of the anticipated unanimous vote...BONUS? You may be on TV - we're expecting a lot of news coverage.