Forum, Feb. 23: I Wish I’d Said ‘No Comment’

Thursday, February 22, 2018
I Wish I’d Said ‘No Comment’

There’s a saying in the Pennsylvania Dutch area where I worked for years: “Too soon oldt, too late schmart.” It appears I am the unfortunate embodiment of that adage for having spoken to a newspaper reporter without lawyer and tape recorder at my side, and for not having said “No, you may not quote me.”

I am aghast to find myself quoted out of context in the Feb. 17 article on the firing of Tim Martin at The Woodlands.

I spent nearly all of the time during the interview saying what a highly competent, outgoing, friendly and supportive administrator Tim has been. I was highly critical of the way in which his tenure was terminated. None of that was conveyed. What was conveyed was my reaction to the reporter’s statement that some residents had complained about Tim. I tried to say that his manner was informal and that I supposed that there were some people who might think he was offhand at times. Ditto the remark about being Tim’s being too familiar: That was not a statement of fact, but a musing as to why some people might think he had been “unprofessional,” a criticism that is the reason for his termination and which I cannot fathom.

I was always grateful to be able to speak candidly with him and never considered him unprofessional in the least. He has been, in my opinion, the very paragon of an administrator, and I deeply regret and resent his having been fired.

My apologies to Tim Martin for having ever opened my mouth. I’ll try to look on the bright side: With this on my resume, I may be able to find a job at the White House.

John S. Barrett


Story Didn’t Deserve Page One Play

On Feb. 16, your staff writer Nora Doyle-Burr visited The Woodlands to gather facts and comments about the departure of Tim Martin as the administrator of the retirement community that my wife, Jane, and I have called home for nearly two years.

I spoke with Nora and provided some information on the matter but spoke “on background.” That was a weak-kneed decision for which I’d like to apologize to Tim Martin.

May I also admonish your editors for playing this story across the top of Page One on Feb. 17, purely an opportunistic headline-grabbing decision to make far more of this matter than it deserves. Shame on them.

Tim has been an administrator of retirement communities for nearly 40 years including the past three-plus at The Woodlands. He must have been doing something right. But how would you like to carry a story about your firing in your portfolio as you pursue further employment in this field?

As members of various committees, Jane and I have had more than passing opportunity to interact with Tim. I’ll concede that working with Tim can be an acquired taste. He has a sharp, sometimes biting sense of humor. He has little patience with fools. To work with him occasionally requires big boy (or big girl) pants.

In this last regard, members of senior management at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (to whom Tim reported) use the phrase “a pattern of unprofessional conduct” to cover the fact that when it comes to managing an independent living/retirement community, Tim knows much more about the business than they do. He pressed his point(s) and that has made them very uncomfortable. They’ll hide behind the words, “We will not discuss a personnel matter.” Shame on them, too, for their pattern of unprofessional behavior.

All of this has cost Tim Martin a job he has, in our opinion, performed in superior fashion. We wish him well. If only we could say the same for the APD administrators who have cut him loose.

Jack DeGange


Sports Pictures Showed Imbalance

I love the Valley News and have subscribed for almost 40 years. But I was really disappointed to see on Page B2 of the Feb. 16 edition a huge action picture of the second-place ski jumping finisher in the boys division, while the winner of the girls division got a smaller crowd shot.

To make matters worse, when I went online, the boy’s photo dominated the home page. You’ll need to read down to paragraph five to see any mention of the first-place victory in the girls division.

Really? Come on, this is 2018.

Suzanne Stofflet


Education for Displaced Children

As a student at Dartmouth College, I understand that education is a priority. It is the central focus of my life, and my classmates’ lives. It is perceived as a path to social and economic advancement and to personal and professional growth.

However, more than 7 million children lack access to primary and secondary education, an opportunity we take for granted. These children have been displaced by international disasters and conflicts and their lack of education fosters a vicious cycle in which they are unable to access economic opportunities.

In 2016, less than 2 percent of global emergency aid was allocated for education services. Foreign aid is not a waste of money. We should use it to advocate for the principles and values we hold — such as education. Foreign aid should support improvements in education with the ultimate goal of strengthening a country’s workforce, economy and health.

I urge New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan to co-sponsor S.1580, the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act, which supports access to primary and secondary education for displaced children.

Rachna Shah


In Support of Kim Souza

With Town Meeting Day coming up soon, I want to urge everyone in Hartford to vote for Kim Souza.

I live in Norwich, but I used to live in Hartford, and I spend a lot of my time there. As a neighbor and a “regular,” I have followed Hartford town politics with care. I am especially concerned about Hartford’s reckoning with race relations and its disproportionate policing and arresting of people of color (which I believe is higher in Hartford than on average in the state). Kim has an exceptional track record of working across many kinds of differences in the best interests of the town.

Further, as a business owner, Kim supports local buyers and sellers with style. She’s supported the many arts- and community-focused programs in Hartford consistently over the years. And, perhaps most important for this election, she is committed to ensuring that every member of the Hartford community feels heard and has a voice.

Kim will strengthen the foundations that afford an exceptional quality of life for Hartford residents. She’s smart about infrastructure needs and, by including new perspectives in the process, she can help make sure that Selectboard decisions benefit the community as a whole. I urge you to vote for Kim.

Giavanna Munafo


Violation of His Campaign Promises

The Trump White House released its annual budget proposal, and among its $1.7 trillion in proposed cuts to “entitlements” is $237 billion in cuts to Medicare. By referring to Medicare as an “entitlement,” the White House is treating it as if it’s undeserved, or some form of welfare. It’s not any of those things. The tens of millions of Americans who depend on Medicare for medical treatment, my grandparents among them, paid for it, worked hard for it, and expect us to keep our promises to them.

Cuts to Medicare are not only morally wrong, they violate the president’s own campaign promises. On the trail in 2016, then-nominee Donald Trump declared that he wouldn’t cut Social Security and wouldn’t cut Medicare or Medicaid. This budget proposal is a clear violation of that promise.

Along with massive cuts to Medicare, the budget includes $18 billion for a border wall that most experts agree will do nothing to stop illegal immigration (and Mexico was supposed to pay for in the first place). Cutting Medicare to pay for a border wall is a clear violation of common sense, but unfortunately is indicative of our president’s priorities.

Please remember that when you vote in November.

Eric G. Scheuch

New London

Guilty All the Way to the Bank

The story in the Sunday business section about liberals around the country who are “struggling” with their gains in the stock market since Donald Trump became president was laughable (“Politics Colors Reaction to Market,” Feb. 11).

Particularly so was the quote from a guy in Pennsylvania who made $500,000 in the market last year. “I feel guilty about this money. ... It makes me sick.”

Jeff Lehmann

Lyme Center