A Private Meeting Of The Minds

I received an e-mail on Monday, January 12th, from a neighborhood contact person who often shares informative information about city business, with many in the north end. The message in the e-mail was addressed to north end leaders, inviting them to meet commission candidates, Len Fintzy and Cory Neering, on Wednesday, January 14th, 7pm,  at 3510 Spruce Avenue. Len Fintzy is a City Commission District 4 Candidate and Cory Neering, is a City Commission District 2 Candidate.

The invite stated, there will be a candidates platform and you may ask questions. It also stated, City Commission, District 2 Candidate, Katherine Waldron, was invited to “stop by” at 7:45pm. City Commission District 3 Candidate, Paula Ryan was currently unopposed so an offer to hold the event again If that changes, was extended to her. The event was held at a location referred to as “The 3510 House”, in Old Northwood. The announcement asked that attendees please make every effort to come and find out what the candidates stand for and have your questions answered. The e-mail was signed by Bob.

City Commission District 4 Incumbent Candidate, Keith James was not mentioned in the e-mail and I thought that was odd for north end leaders, who were invited to find out what the candidates stand for, to better school others on their opinions of the candidates, to not have access to all commission candidates. What was the purpose of the meeting? An inclusive invitation would have given all candidates an opportunity to be interviewed by their potential employers . . . the public . . .  as opposed to District 4 Commission Candidate Len Fintzy getting a foot up on uninvited Commissioner James in that meeting.

It’s rather concerning why Commission Candidate, Katherine Waldron was given a time certain of 7:45 to appear, as opposed to arriving at 7pm, along with Cory Neering , since the both of them are running for the District 2 Commission Seat? Or better yet, why couldn’t all three candidates appear together, at 7pm?

I planned to attend the gathering but was not familiar with “The 3510 House” so I e-mailed Bob to find out where the home was located.  Bob Beaulieu replied . . .  “it is not a forum . . it is for a small group of people . . . don’t know how this got out . . . please let those who gave it to you know, too”. I apologized, I didn’t know It was private.  Another recipient of the same e-mail requested information from Bob and shared his reply so that I may avoid a wasted trip. The answer she received was: “All . . . this is not a candidate forum . . and it is for a small group of people to meet some of the candidates . . . do not know how this got out . .  if you did not get the original e-mail . . . you are not invited . . . the north end is currently putting together a candidate forum for all candidates in February”

I decided to take a look at the Historic 3510 House on meeting night but respected the request for all who were not invited, to remain on the outside . . . looking in. There were a couple of folks arriving, who I wasn’t familiar with and a few minutes later, Bob Beaulieu arrived. Mr. Neering wasn’t far behind and rushing in was Mr. Fintzy. Carl Flick arrived as well as Betty Starkey and Denise Smith Barnes. There were roughly 15 people in attendance. A well adorned Christmas Tree glistened in the night and the entrance to the lovely facility had soft lighting and the attendees chatted as the ceiling fan twirled. It all reminded me of a smoked filled back room with a portrait of Kimberly Mitchell on the wall.

Who are the north end leaders who were invited and attended? I live in the north end and I would like to meet and know the leaders that I didn’t recognize. The president of my north end association (North Shore) is Ron Dixon and he wasn’t invited. I can think of, at least, five other north end leaders who were not invited either. Will there be a venue for attendees to share the information gathered from the meeting? It’s almost 24 hours later and I haven’t heard a word or received one e-mail from any leaders who attended the affair, to help me familiarize myself with the candidates and city issues discussed. I’d like to make an informed decision when I vote in March so I could really use the information gathered at the meeting.

Commissioner and Candidate Keith James was not invited to the private event so what If I had questions about his position on certain issues? Did someone decide there needn’t be information offered to the north end residents on that particular candidate? So, no info on Keith James but Len Fintzy can be spoon fed to whomever is unaware and unsuspecting? These factors and the corrupt nature of too many politicians is a recipe that produces apathetic citizens towards voting and any involvement with politicians.

The Property Appraisers Office has the 3510 Spruce Avenue address listed as charitable and Old Northwood Neighborhood Association, Inc., listed as owner of the property. The Historic House plays a part in Old Northwoods  Candlelight Home Tours event, as a reception area for the food. It is also referred to as Old Northwood’s official meeting house and the neighborhoods community center.

If the historical address serves as a public facility for Old Northwood, I would question a clandestine meeting there, hosting choice candidates for public city positions, with restrictions on public access. If the historic building is indeed privately owned, It would be the owners right to have held a private meeting there.  Many see’s the event as Divisive and suspicious to not include all candidates in each district race and a time certain for one and not others. I believe the north end of the city will fair a lot better when there is a show of solidarity and for all of us who reside here, to see the north end as a whole and not east or west of the CSX or FEC or east or west of Broadway being more or less worthy of recognition. We should be one.