Playing politics in Second Berkshire
Posted in the Lenox Forum
#1 Aug 25, 2010
Playing politics in Second Berkshire
Letter to the Editor
Updated: 08/24/2010 11:53:44 PM EDT
Tuesday August 24, 2010
I can politically explain candidate Tom Szczepaniak’s ruse when confronted with his own criminal background: blame-shifting his closest competitor. Paul Mark’s campaign is surging, and polling shows Noreen Suriner is not going to come close to winning, so it’s politically expedient for Tom to dodge his criminality issue and shift the target to an opponent.
The other ironic point here is that Tom wildly and falsely accused another candidate [Mark] of leaking his criminal background to a public that already knew. Reporter Conor Berry himself said in a voicemail that Eagle editors knew about Szczepaniak’s criminal history for quite some time. And you can’t canvass door-to-door in the Berkshires without a voter volunteering new information about Szczepaniak’s misdeeds. You hear about it from personal and business associates and even family members.
So when Noreen Suriner said she had no idea, she either hasn’t been talking to enough voters or hasn’t been listening to them. Every candidate knows about Tom’s record; they talk about it amongst themselves. Our Republican challenger even said, "Does he really think this isn’t going to come out?"
We at Paul’s campaign are focused on issues, not people -- and we reflect it in our in-depth brochures and website. Even in spite of these new revelations, our three-point stance on Tom Szczepaniak remains the same as months ago:
He is incapable of talking about public policy without cheat sheets; the few talking points he has actually put forward are all conservative; so he’s not fit to represent the Democratic Party against a Tea Party Republican in November.
It seems to me that this hullabaloo is about Republicans trying to create a bitter primary where the Democrats tear themselves apart and can’t kiss and make up by November. Maybe they see Paul surging and believe he’s going to win it, so why not create a bitter atmosphere that sees no resolution? So now that we’ve heard the facts, and we’ve had a chance to respond, we are also putting the past behind us.
The writer is campaign manager for Paul Mark in the 2nd Berkshire District.
#2 Aug 25, 2010
We at Paul’s campaign are focused on issues, not people -- STEVE HOESCHELE
Stefan G. Racz, an independent candidate from Buckland, said Mark campaign members were overheard discussing Szczepaniak's criminal record during a recent public dinner in Shelburne Falls.
"I saw it firsthand and I know other people who saw it, and they were totally disgusted," said Racz, who ran against Guyer unsuccessfully in 2006.
Paul Mark had my vote 100% before this story came out. He and his campaign are playing dirty politics and I personally will take his sign off my lawn, he will never get my support nor my vote!
#3 Aug 25, 2010
No way that a Szczpaniak campaign operative is behind this post, ha ha ha! Tom will talk about anything to avoid talking about the issues.
#4 Aug 25, 2010
criminal record or not the guys a moron. whether he's playing dirty or not, mark is getting my vote based solely on the fact that szczepaniak is far too stupid to be a state representative.
#5 Aug 25, 2010
Why is anyone upset that this information has come out?
I came across this blog while searching for some more information about szczepaniaks convictions and I am very confused by the disappointed post and the whole "playing dirty" label that has been placed on the Mark campaign. So as a student of the school of politics I have come up with this assessment.
Even if the Mark campaign were behind this it cannot be considered playing dirty because as the eagle reports, its all true. So whoever did give this to the press should be thanked for shedding light on an undesirable candidate
Racz decided to roll his accusation in after catching wind of the rumors because he sees szczepaniak as the "more beatable" opponent and thinks his camps "observations" will pull voters away from Mark. And again even if they were talking about it, if asked, that's called campaigning, throwing mud. Throwing mud is defined as covering anothetr candidate in dirt that is not theirs. Clearly if this is all true szczepaniaks mud is oozing out of his ears.
Suriner denies all knowledge of these charges so she should be considered as a source as well because she seemed to capitalize on it the most with her responses.
No one has considered the ex wife as a source. She must have quite a folder on this guy if its all true
Let's not forget the republicans. They have been silent on the matter. Consider their gain from releasing it. Mark, the apparent front runner is far more liberal than szczepaniak. And if I were them I would want Mark in the general given the anti democrat sentiment this election.
And last but not least szczepaniak. I have met him and he was polite but certainly not forthcoming with his past. Given that, he had to have known this was coming at some point so he released it himself just to react, which he was clearly ready to do. His campaign has obviously been ready to play the sympathy card. Maybe they were getting to anxious waiting to defend that they thought it would be a positive to put this out. And the "mud" they are throwing at Mark is laughable. "He's a lawyer" ha. So Mark who opted to educate himself should be disregarded? Who's idea was that? This is especially laughable if Mark really is the worker he claims to be because that means he accomplished that while working which is downright impressive.
So if this is the two candidate primary it appears to be we have two options.
A lawyer who worked a tough job while earning a law degree as a 20 something
Or a criminal who allegedly assaulted a women and apparently scared her from testifying and ran 4 people over with a truck when he was a 20 something.
I'm all for redemption but is this a joke? If you want forgiveness go to church not to the state house.
#6 Aug 25, 2010
I'm astonished by the disregard for the truth shown by some people. I believe that people do make mistakes; however, how is the public to know that Tom Szczepaniak learned from his "mistakes" and that it isn't his underlying character. I'd like to believe that he is a better man because of what he learned from so many transgressions, but Paul Mark doesn't have the disgusting criminal record that Tom Szczepaniak has. Tom can say what he wants, but we are judged not by what we say sounds good, but by our actions. And it is a fact that Tom Szczepaniak has a criminal record that includes arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, drug possession, drunken driving and sexual assault, among others. Not to mention his failure to pay child support, which should outrage every parent in the district. Tom Szczepaniak accusses Paul Mark of mudslinging? How about the wild accusation that it was Paul who sent the records to the newspaper without any proof what-so-ever that it was him- that's mudslinging! While it's highly unlikely that Paul Mark sent those records to the newspaper, the person who sent the package just mailed facts and didn't assert any opinions. People need to think about what mudslinging really means.
#7 Aug 26, 2010
I have been puzzled by the Eagle's coverage of Tom Szczepaniak’s criminal history, which I perceive as overly deferential to his campaign’s position. The thrust of the first article your paper published,“Candidate’s Past Haunts,” was that, while Szczepaniak may have some skeletons in his closet, those skeletons may actually better prepare him for office. This is an unusual framing of the criminal record issue, a framing that seems to me better suited for an editorial than straight reporting. I think it was appropriate to report on Szczepaniak’s criminal history, especially given that no one is, apparently, disputing it. However, the article slanted towards the view of the Szczepaniak campaign; I do not think this was appropriate.
This article also went into detail over the manner by which it learned of Szczepaniak’s criminal history and allowed Szczepaniak to accuse Mark of masterminding the entire effort. Again, this was a bizarre editorial direction, as no one seems to be disputing the veracity of the documents, the fact that Szczepaniak has a lengthy criminal record, or that at least some of the materials provided anonymously were archival Berkshire Eagle articles. It isn’t clear to me how presenting the Eagle with articles from its archives is any sort of “dirty campaign trick,” as Szczepaniak claims and “Candidate’s past haunts” insinuates. Finally, that article itemized some of the allegations against Szczepaniak but omitted perhaps the most egregious, sexual assault, which the Eagle only reported on in its third article on this subject,“Rivals Deny Tossing Mud.”
The Eagle’s second and third articles follow suit.“State representative hopeful finds support” again reports Szczepaniak’s criminal history through the prism of redemption, editorial gloss I find inappropriate for the news section.“Rivals deny tossing mud” similarly reveals new details of Szczepaniak’s past, including the sexual assault allegation, but frames the story to make it appear that alerting the press of his crimes is the real point of interest.
I call upon the Eagle to cover these serious issues in a more even-handed fashion and to relegate opinion pieces to the appropriate sections.
#8 Aug 26, 2010
That is a very long list of crimes for someone to write off as youthful stupidity. Seems more like a pattern in szczepanik's life.
Also, how is it that the Eagle knew about this guy's record, but still didn't write anything about it until they got an anonymous package? that doesn't sound like good journalism to me.
#9 Aug 26, 2010
uuhhmmnnn...that coming from the Mark campaign, switching their strategy in an attempt to make the eagle look bad before the truth comes out.
#10 Aug 26, 2010
What truth? The truth that Tom Szczepaniak has a lengthy criminal record and may have sexually assaulted someone? That's already out.
#11 Aug 12, 2011
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