Clarifying a story

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    To the editor: Having been a slave to newspaper deadlines for more than 40 years I well understand the pressure to produce that is on reporters and editors. Given that, the story “West Milford politics fueled by anger” in your last edition requires clarification. 1.) While the story correctly reports a heated pre-meeting verbal exchange between two candidates for the council, it is not clear about later shouting matches between me and William Gervens, who was chairing the meeting. Our shouting matches — indeed, there were two separate exchanges — took place well after the meeting had started and had absolutely nothing to do with partisan politics. Rather, (a.) the first shouting match was sparked by my passion to work on behalf of the public’s right to know and by Gervens’ ignorance of the rules that govern meetings of West Milford’s council, and (b.) with a later attempt by Joseph Elcavage to spread disinformation and Gervens supporting him while behaving as if the public should be seen but not heard at meetings. 2.) According to your story I was making, “ apparent test of the council’s willingness to allow public comments...” and it then linked my actions to a debate about an issue that didn’t even arise until after Gervens and I both had retired to our separate corners. 3.) To be clear: I was not testing anything. Rather, in round one, I was attempting to make a serious and well intended, respectful request to address the issue the council was discussing at the time because I know the topic that was under discussion better than anyone who was sitting at the dais and I could have shed light on it. I tried to do that by following the council’s own rules and the shouting only began after Gervens nastily told me to “shut up and sit down.” In round two, I spoke out from the audience without trying to follow council rules because Elcavage never hesitates to try to spin fiction into fact and this time he was attempting to squelch the free flow of information to the public. Martin O’Shea West Milford