Setting the ‘Record’ Straight
ROBERT J. HALE, JR.
The allegations made by Council Chairman Tom Gullotta against Republican candidate for Town Council John Cavanna and Board of Education candidates Steve Michaels and Jenn Jennings, in his letter that appeared in The Citizen on September 23, were of concern to me, so I took time to follow his links and view the articles and videos he cited. What I found was not consistent with Mr. Gullotta’s allegations, and actually increased my level of confidence in these three candidates while sadly decreasing my confidence in Mr. Gullotta as an accurate storyteller.
One article from the Tampa Bay Times, dated February 10, 2007, described then Officer Cavanna’s apprehension of six juveniles he caught playing hooky from high school. Cavanna was criticized for not arresting any of the students after finding some marijuana nearby. Instead, he returned them to school and notified their parents. I commend young Officer Cavanna for his wise exercise of police discretion.
Another Tampa Bay Times article, from February 9, 2007, told how Officer Cavanna had received a five-day suspension for an incident in which he had allegedly put his pistol to his mouth to express his frustration with the political climate in the town of Brooksville where he served. Cavanna, who was then 21 years old, said he’d been kidding with a fellow officer, and admitted he had exercised poor judgment. Today, I am confident that Sergeant Cavanna of the Hartford Police Department will more constructively address his concerns about the political situation in his hometown of Glastonbury. Still, I trust he’s kept his sense of humor.
A third link to an April 30, 2015 NBC News story about a video of Cavanna’s dog attacking a deer on his family farm in Glastonbury may be troubling to people who love animals and dislike any kind of violence. To put this story in perspective, people should be aware that deer inflict serious damage to the Cavannas’ orchards and other crops. There was no finding by DEEP nor HPD that Cavanna had violated any law. See: C.G.S. Sec. 26-82.
Gullotta misquoted Republican candidate Steve Michaels who spoke as a concerned parent at the July 12, 2021, Board of Education meeting, saying Michaels had advocated “gun training” for students in grades K-12. Mr. Michaels did not advocate “gun training,” but suggested “firearms education” and recommended that a police officer speak to students about gun safety. Michaels also recommended the book “Speechless,” by Michael Knowles, which, he said, was the converse of “How to be an Anti-Racist,” by Ibram Kendi, and he asked for teachers to instill more pride for America.
Gullotta also misrepresented Republican Board of Education candidate Jenn Jennings as a “shrill” voice, citing the August 23, 2021, Board of Education meeting at which she spoke about a lack of transparency by the current Board. Both Ms. Jennings’ tone and her comments were reasonable and responsible.
I was disappointed that Mr. Gullotta’s letter had distorted the factual record in order to discredit those with whom he may disagree.
– Rob Hale