No Good Deed

CourierThey say that no good deed goes unpunished, and if you don’t believe that just ask Biddeford City Councilor Robert “Bobby” Quattrone.

A couple of weeks ago, Quattrone and other members of the city council received an e-mail from Vicky Edgerly, the city’s welfare director.

In her e-mail, Edgerly asked if any of the councilors knew someone who would be willing to donate a walker for an indigent client.

Quattrone immediately stepped up to the task. “It really hit home with me,” he said. “My grandmother had MS (multiple sclerosis), and I know how hard it can be when you can’t move around on your own.”

Quattrone, who is also a member of the city’s Social Services Committee, took to social media in his quest to find a walker. He posted several updates on his Facebook page, relentlessly prodding his friends if they or someone they knew might be able to donate a walker.

The good news? According to Quattrone, Pris Paul of Biddeford donated a walker.

But the story does not end there. Quattrone said he did not know the woman who donated the walker. He did not have her telephone number or an e-mail address.

So, Quattrone decided to thank the donor publicly via a letter to the editor in the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier.

So far, so good. Right? Wrong.

Because it’s election season and because Quattrone is running for re-election, the weekly newspaper’s editor, Molly Lovell-Keely, rejected Quattrone’s letter.

“She (Lovell-Keely) told me it would not be fair to print my letter because it could be construed as political,” Quattrone said. “I accepted that explanation until I saw the next edition of the Courier.”

In the Sept. 24 issue of the Courier is a letter to the editor by Terry Belanger. Not coincidentally, Mr. Belanger is running against Quattrone for the Ward Four city council seat.

“I was sort of taken aback, especially after I read Mr. Belanger’s letter,” Quattrone said.

The letter carried the following headline: ‘Candidate says city mayor is shortsighted’

Belanger’s letter harshly criticizes Mayor Alan Casavant and members of the city council. Belanger’s tirade closes with the following: “I want to be part of that change and be able to stand up for you. That’s why I’m running for Ward 4.”

Maybe it’s just me, but a letter like that sounds a tad political, eh?

Quattrone said he called Lovell-Keely to complain.

“She said she was sorry,” he said. “She said it was an oversight.”

Pretty big oversight in my book, but what do I know?

During my tenure as the Courier’s editor (1999-2006) we always accepted one letter from each candidate and we accepted multiple letters from regular people supporting various candidates up until two weeks before the election.

Lovell-Keely has plainly demonstrated on several occasions that she is biased against Mayor Alan Casavant. Her husband, Brian Keely, an amateur blogger, foams at the mouth at every given opportunity to bash Casavant and his supporters.

I’ll bet dollars to donuts that a letter critical of Casavant’s opponent in the upcoming election would never see the light of day.

The good news is that a needy person got a much-needed walker. More good news: a city councilor helped facilitate the donation. The better news is that someone was generous enough to donate a walker for a good cause.

The bad news? I’ll leave that for the Courier to cover. Unless, of course, the editor has another oversight.


Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

Matt Lauzon's comment on my wife's campaign Facebook page

If you work on enough political campaigns, you invariably witness all sorts of dirty campaign tricks and negative mudslinging.

Unfortunately, that kind of tom-foolery has become the norm in national politics, but it is rare to find such tactics deployed at the local level.

As most readers of this blog know, my wife is running for a seat on the Biddeford City Council, and I would like to share with you what has happened to our family over the past 48 hours.

Actually, this sort of stuff has been going on much longer, but let’s keep our focus on recent history.

Matt Lauzon, a former Biddeford resident and a Boston “businessman,” has made it his life’s mission to ruin anyone who has the temerity to question his tactics or techniques in seeking justice for crimes that happened 20 years ago, but were only reported this year.

Lauzon has two objectives: filing a civil lawsuit against the city of Biddeford and disrupting the city’s political landscape. He is heavily vested in both outcomes.

Lauzon is also fixated on me and my wife. I thought we had reached a truce several weeks ago, when he agreed to leave me and my family alone.

You can read his letter to me and my response by clicking on this link: Biddeford Deserves Better.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lauzon has reverted back to his pattern of abusing people and then excusing his actions by hiding behind a veil of being a victim.

Last night, Mr. Lauzon began publicly suggesting that our son is a drug dealer. This is just his latest tirade against me and Laura.

Make no mistake, neither of my kids, my wife or I are perfect people. But if you want to accuse a member of my family with a serious crime, you best have some solid evidence to back it up.

For anyone who does have evidence of any crime being committed, I strongly suggest you call the Biddeford Police Department at (207) 282-5127.

Matt Lauzon is relentless. He generally posts his tirades late at night. When the sun rises, and he sobers up, he quickly deletes his posts, trying to clean his tracks.

As I mentioned before, Matt Lauzon has an agenda. He wants to be a disruptor, and he has zero regard for anyone who gets in his way. He has suggested that Mayor Alan Casavant has sex with his students while teaching at Biddeford High School. He has suggested that the mayor and Police Chief Roger Beaupre had a homosexual relationship. He has also suggested that Casavant had a sexual relationship with Maine District Court Judge Michael Cantara.

Matt 3Matt is a miserable man who plays the role of victim well, all the while spewing vitriol.

I have been covering Biddeford politics for the better part of 20 years. I have seen my fair share of crazy campaigns, but nothing on this level. Candidates’ families and children have never been used as political weapons. As rough as it sometimes gets in Biddeford politics, family and children have always been off limits.

Not anymore, I guess.

Nothing is off limits

As you can see from these attached screenshots, Matt is very, very angry boy.

Matt 1He mocks my mental illness, a subject that I have been very open about. The result? Further stigma that makes others with a mental illness hesitant to speak out.

Lauzon has a mantra of “being positive,” but what has he done to make Biddeford a better community?

As you can see here, he also attacks Vassie Fowler, one of the most generous women you could ever hope to meet. Matt Lauzon can’t hold a candle to Vassie’s ligthouse of making Biddeford a better place. Vassie has been a tireless volunteer and advocate for the city. Her generosity knows no bounds. For years, she has organized and coordinated Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for hundreds of people, including wounded veterans.

For her efforts, Vassie Fowler was given a key to the city.

Matt 4And Matt Lauzon? Well, he goes to city council meetings and screams. He tears down other people. He is full of hate and self-loathing.

Matt Lauzon is a self-absorbed, pathetic human being. He is full of hate.

Mr. Lauzon, a regular visitor to Fantasy Island, claims he has an “iron-clad” case for a civil lawsuit against me and Laura.

My response? Stop yapping your gums, Matt and bring on the lawsuit. You have already failed in getting my wife fired, so your track record is 0-1. Bring on Nightline, NBC’s Dateline, the FBI, Congress, the Governor, the Legislature or Santa Claus. None of your predictions ever come true.

He has about 20 or 30 followers who cheer him on. One of those Lauzon disciples recently described my wife as a C**T on Facebook.  Nice, huh?

As I wrote several weeks ago, Biddeford deserves better.

Someone should deliver that message to Matt and his small band of followers.

It’s been a slow turning

Laura Seaver

Laura Seaver

I have come full circle.

When I first met Laura, she was running for one of two seats on the Old Orchard Beach School Board. I was the editor of a local newspaper, and generally wrote endorsements for various candidates in five different communities.

In that particular race, I endorsed the incumbent, mistakenly thinking there was only one seat up for grabs.

I got an e-mail from Laura Kidman the next day. Part of what she wrote: “If I were a newspaper editor, I would get my facts straight. There are two open seats and three candidates.”


I was feeling defensive and returned her e-mail with a curt response, a half-hearted apology and also told her: “If I were going to write to the editor of a newspaper, I would be sure to spell the name of the newspaper correctly.”

This is how our relationship began.

Later in the day, I was complaining about the e-mail exchange to a reporter from another newspaper. That reporter empathized and added that Laura was really cute . . . and single. She offered to show me a campaign photo.

I was smitten, and I immediately returned to my office to write another e-mail to Laura. A response came into my inbox only moments later.

And that’s how it went for the next several days: a series of e-mails that became increasingly flirtatious, leading up to Election Day.

During our e-mail exchange, I made Laura an offer: If she won the election, I would actually bother to cover a meeting of the Old Orchard Beach School Board.  But if she lost the election, I would buy her a cup of coffee.

We had still not met in person.

On Election Day, my gut felt as if it were filled with shards of broken glass. I could not concentrate. I was planning to go to Old Orchard Beach and check the polls, knowing that Laura would likely be there, greeting voters as they entered the high school.

I saw her standing against a wall with other candidates, and my heart sunk. I knew instantly that she was way out of my league.

I shook her hand briefly, and then moved along quickly, trying to look important . . . as if I cared about the other races in Old Orchard Beach, and then left quickly without saying goodbye.

I drove away from the high school that night, cursing myself for believing that I might actually have a chance with this woman.

Long story short: Laura lost that election, and e-mailed me the next day to remind me that I owed her a cup of coffee. She provided me three different phone numbers to contact her.

There were more e-mails, and then a first date, a second date and so on . . .

Bottom line, it’s very unlikely that we would be married today if Laura had won that election.

Sometimes a loss is a big win.

What goes around comes around

After being married only a few years, Laura won other elections; serving two terms on the Biddeford School Committee. And today, she is a candidate for the Biddeford City Council.

This is where it gets tricky. I often get paid to work on political campaigns, but what do I do when my wife is a candidate?

I struggle with wanting to run her campaign, and she pushes back, saying she is going to do things her own way.

Make no mistake, she appreciates my support and advice, but at the end of the day this particular campaign is hers, not mine.

I am personally vested in seeing her win, but I am also reminded that even a loss could be a good thing.

Laura really cares about the city of Biddeford. She has a lot of good ideas about how our city can move forward.

My job is to sit back, and let her do her job; to help her when she asks, but otherwise keep my opinions to myself. And if you know me, you know that is a tall order.

Laura’s campaign won’t really start until Tuesday, and there are seven weeks to go before Election Day.

It just strikes me that if I didn’t make that mistake during my newspaper days, my life would be completely different today.

So, there are two lessons here:

Mistakes can turn out really well, and losses can be very big wins.

#Black Lives Matter

Seattle Times photo

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King: Seattle Times photo

I had a little bit of an epiphany yesterday during an especially long drive home.

To prevent road boredom, I was a listening to talk radio, and a news segment about the Black Lives Matter movement caught my attention.

Before we proceed, a bit of disclosure: I am a white, middle-aged man.

Up until yesterday, I generally had a reflexive, knee-jerk reaction to the synergy building in the Black Lives Matter campaign: I would generally mutter: “All lives matter,” and while I still believe that is intellectually true, what is so wrong with acknowledging that Black Lives do, in fact, matter?

I began wondering, can’t we say Black Lives Matter without assuming that it is an automatic dismissal of other lives, races or ethnic backgrounds?

Why can’t we simply acknowledge that Black Lives Matter without feeling defensive and the impulsive need to correct those who deliver that message?

Like most white people, I want to believe that racism in the United States is a topic best left for the history books. I generally ignore it, or once in a while give it a passing nod as a present day and legitimate problem. I wrote about my own battles with racism previously.

But how can we ignore the rising tensions in black communities without actually sticking our heads in the sand?

I know and expect that I am going to get push-back for this blog post, but before you respond I would ask you to consider the following analogy.

Close your eyes and imagine that you and I are close friends. I have just been through a painful ordeal, one in which justice and fairness evaded me.

I say to you, “My Life Matters.”

Do you feel compelled to say, “Well, my life matters, too. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

Or could you say, “Yeah, your life matters. I’m sorry you are going through a difficult time.”

I really think it’s okay to acknowledge someone’s pain, sorrow or grief without lecturing them about what a politically correct response should be.

It is 2015, why is not okay for some people to hear the phrase that Black Lives Matter?

Why does that make so many people uncomfortable? No one is saying that white lives do not matter or that Hispanic lives do not matter.

A growing number of people in America are standing up, acknowledging reality and asserting that Black Lives Matter.

And they do.




The Island of Misfit Toys

Me and Alan Casavant in 2011

Me and Alan Casavant in 2011

It’s not even Labor Day. Sweet Jesus take me now.

Already the political machinations are beginning in Biddeford, a city that treats their biennial municipal elections like the Super Bowl.

It’s not like this in the neighboring city of Saco, but on the south side of the river — local politics is a blood sport that rivals rugby or a Stanley Cup playoff game.

I should not complain. For years, I have been a season-ticket holder to these gladiator games. From time to time, I have even wandered onto the field, working as defensive coordinator for various candidates.

In 2008, for example, I was hired professionally to help defeat a referendum that would have closed the airport. The result? 86 percent of voters went our way.

Three years later, someone called me and asked if I could head up Alan Casavant’s effort to oust former mayor Joanne Twomey from office. I agreed to help, and we won that campaign with 68 percent of the vote. Not too shabby, especially since we were taking on a two-term incumbent.

Two years later, in 2013, Casavant once again asked for my help in his campaign. We won. By big numbers. Again.

I am a political junkie and a professional communications consultant. It’s fantastic when your hobby and your occupation collide. I was hired in 2012 by Casella Waste Systems to help ensure a successful city council vote that would ensure the MERC trash incinerator was no longer a part of the city’s skyline. The result? The Biddeford City Council voted 8-1 to purchase the MERC property and begin a new curbside recycling program.

Three years later, a private developer is undertaking a $50 million redevelopment of a property that abuts the former incinerator’s parcel. That investment would never have happened if MERC were still there.

In addition to those campaigns, I worked professionally on the Oxford Casino campaign. The result? Oxford became the first casino in Maine, despite many failed attempts by others in previous years.

Last year, I worked to help preserve Maine’s traditional bear hunting practices. We won.

But when you work on campaigns, you don’t always win.

In 2008, I was subcontracted by the Hillary Clinton campaign in an effort to sway Maine’s super delegates. By then, Senator Barack Obama had too much momentum heading into the nomination.

But there was an upside to working on the Clinton campaign. I got to be part of a conference call with Harold M. Ickes, a legend in campaign circles. There I was sitting on a bench swing in my backyard, listening to Ickes talk about strategy. It was a memorable moment and a highlight of my career.

me and cas 1

Alan Casavant helps me celebrate my 50th birthday last year

With that bit of disclosure out of the way, allow me to finally get to the point of this blog post.

Alan Casavant and I are friends. Friends.

The Karl Rove of Biddeford?

Apparently, some people in Biddeford have delusions of grandeur. They think a run for the mayor’s seat is the equivalent of running for president.

Over the last few days, there has been much speculation that Alan Casavant is little more than my puppet; that I am somehow the man behind the curtain, keeping the residents of Oz in line.

These people are generally rabidly opposed to Casavant winning a third term. Somehow, they think that linking me to Casavant will further ensure his defeat in November.

Some of these malcontents from the Island of Misfit Toys think that when Alan Casavant farts it’s because Randy Seaver ate beans.

On social media, they keep a steady drumbeat, raising questions about Casavant’s recent press releases about a serious and troubling problem in the city.

“This has all the hallmarks of Randy Seaver’s political spin,” wrote Ryan Gavin on Casavant’s Facebook page, when the mayor announced that he had written a letter to the United States Attorney General.

Joshua Bodwell complained to the mayor that it seemed as if it is actually me who is writing Casavant’s press releases.

What Joanne Twomey thinks of me

What Joanne Twomey thinks of me

And Brian Keely has routinely blogged that I am essentially Casavant’s attack dog. Christ, even Joanne Twomey described me as “the devil.”

Note: If Joanne Twomey ever calls you the devil, you know you’re doing something right.

So let’s set the record straight. I am not helping Alan Casavant with his campaign. I am also not writing his press releases or shooting his videos. With the exception of suggesting which tie he should wear, I am not providing him any strategic advice.

Alan Casavant has close to 4,000 friends on Facebook, any one of them may or may not be giving him advice. How to hell do you get 4,000 Facebook friends? Must be a popular guy.

It’s easy to understand why the malcontents and some others from the Island of Misfit Toys would think that I am helping Casavant. I have helped him before, but I am not helping him now.


1.) I am far too busy at work to devote any time to the tedium of Biddeford’s political struggles. Today my clients stretch from the Bangor area all the way to Sierra Vista, Arizona.

2.) Casavant can’t afford to pay my billable rate, so my primary focus must remain on clients who pay me.

3.) I have some fairly serious health concerns that render me pretty much useless after 8:30 p.m. (more about that in a moment)

4.) I am enjoying a new-found and civil relationship with Matt Lauzon, the man at the center of troubling sex abuse allegations in Biddeford. Both Matt and I have gone through a lot in the last few months and it was simply too stressful to think about getting back into Biddeford’s political theater as anything other than a spectator.

I will most likely vote for Casavant in November. I will let him put a sign on my lawn. I will cheer him on from the sidelines, but I cannot afford (financially, physically or mentally) to be any more involved in his campaign. That is the God’s honest truth.

A true story

In closing, I’d like to tell you a quick story about Alan Casavant.

This story, I think, sums up Alan’s character, integrity and his loyalty to his friends.

Sometimes, just before bedtime, I become confused and disoriented. It usually means I need to take my medications and get to bed. But on this particular cold October night I wandered from my home. Laura was fast asleep. She did not know that I had wandered off.

I became increasingly confused, and I found myself near some woods and on the verge of tears. I was lost and frightened. Fortunately, I had my cell phone. I managed to punch the contacts list and hit the first number. It was Alan Casavant’s cell phone, but I did not know it.

He was already in bed. I told him I was lost and confused. He got up, got dressed, jumped in his car and went looking for me. I was only a 1/4 mile from my home, and he found me rather quickly near the intersection of May and South streets.

He brought me home and came inside to make sure Laura knew what was happening.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call friendship.

In a few weeks, Laura and I are planning to join Alan and his wife, Patti, for dinner in Portland. If I give him any advice, it will be written on a napkin and passed under the table.

Biddeford deserves better

DowntownBiddefordAs most readers of this blog know, the city of Biddeford has been undergoing some turmoil during the last few months. This turmoil was triggered when Matt Lauzon, a former Biddeford resident, brought forth allegations of sexual abuse against a former Biddeford police officer.

In the weeks that followed, more allegations were leveled against the same officer and against another former officer.

The demand for justice was swift and far-reaching.

While every resident of Biddeford wants justice, there are mixed feelings about how best to achieve that justice.

As I said in an earlier blog post, Mr. Lauzon and I had some fundamentally different ideas about how best to pursue justice. Things got quickly out of hand, and social media was set ablaze with vitriol.

I am proud to announce that Mr. Lauzon has recognized this behavior needs to stop immediately.

Earlier today, he posted a personal letter to me, and I responded in kind. That exchange can be found below, and I think it speaks highly of him to offer an olive branch to end a bitter dispute that dragged my wife’s name and her professional reputation through the mud.

As I admitted earlier, I lost my temper when engaging with Mr. Lauzon. I am not proud of that fact, but I was beyond frustrated.

In the end, it is far more likely than not that Mr. Lauzon was the victim of a horrific, unspeakable crime. There is absolutely no question that he and the others who were abused deserve nothing less than the full weight of justice.

I am proud of Mr. Lauzon for changing his tack, and I plan to follow his example and abide by the truce we established. Because the great city of Biddeford deserves nothing less, and the pursuit of justice cannot afford the distraction.

Mr. Lauzon’s open letter to me (Posted on the I Love Biddeford Facebook page)

August 11, 2015

Dear Randy,

I recognize you’ve asked me not to contact you but I feel I need to if this City’s future is going to be as bright as we both hope. In short, I see you continue to post about me and admittedly I’ve continued to post about both you and Laura. I don’t believe we will ever be friends, but I do believe that we both have the capability to stop speaking negatively about the other in the best interest of the City. I’m in no way saying this situation is your fault, we both have contributed to it. I think you can appreciate my battle with PTSD and I truly admire the way you’ve overcome your mental health issues. I believe we both are easily triggered and I personally would love to stop the cycle of triggering each other.

What I propose is the following two options:

1. We agree mutually that we will stop this ongoing behavior and hopefully set a tone that inspires others to do the same.

2. We put all the facts on the table so there’s no room for misinformation in either direction. My goal would be that any debate we’d end up having in the future would be rooted entirely in facts.

I hope this letter is well received. I care deeply about Biddeford and I do think we have the ability to set a good tone moving ahead. We don’t need to be friends, but we can end the cycle we’re in that ultimately is benefitting no one.



My response posted on the same page

Matt: I truly appreciate your letter. I know you are going through a lot, and I share your hope and desire that justice can be served. I like Option 1. I believe it is the most expedient and best way to move forward. I admittedly have lost my temper when my wife and family have been repeatedly attacked, (not just by you, but by a minority of those who support your pursuit of justice.) So long as my wife is left out of further discussions by you, I have no reason to reply. I think anyone would want to rigorously defend their spouse; and both Laura and I hope that you get the justice you so rightly deserve and that the name-calling (on both sides) can immediately end. You have our best wishes, just as much as we both expressed to you earlier this year. I agree wholeheartedly with you that Biddeford is a great community and deserves nothing less than our personal best. Best of luck to you and yours.

Bang and blame

Frank Underwood

Frank Underwood

Like most everyone else in the free world, I have finally finished the third season of House of Cards, a Netflix original series.

And like most other House of Cards fans, I have been consistently intrigued with Francis Underwood, a ruthless politician played by Kevin Spacey.

As Season Three begins to unfold, President Underwood hires a writer to help promote a new jobs program. The writer accompanies President Underwood to his childhood home of Gaffney, South Carolina. There, the president provides a tour of his hometown, including his family’s “farm,” a failed enterprise that went bankrupt because there was only a thin layer of soil covering deep bedrock.

Underwood explains the farm’s failure this way: hard work is sometimes not enough if you have nothing to work with.

From my own perspective, I have always doubled-down on the notion that success is achieved primarily by hard work. This mantra was driven into the soft-tissue of my brain since before I can remember. It is, after all, a family trait.

Don’t get me wrong.

Hard work is a virtue, but that one scene at the Underwood’s failed peach tree farm— out of 39 episodes — made me re-examine the Puritan values that course through my veins.

Even the losers, get lucky sometimes

Growing up, the game of Monopoly was one of my favorite games. I was an impulsive child, so at every opportunity I bought every property I could, resulting in depleted cash reserves and forcing me to mortgage the properties in order to pay my debts.

monopoly_originalOf course, while my properties were mortgaged they produced no revenue. Inevitably, I would go bankrupt, watching as my parents and sister finished the game without me.

But over time, I became more savvy. I was more judicious in my selection of properties. I focused on the utilities and railroads. I avoided properties that were beyond my means (Boardwalk and Park Place).

I kept no less than 50 percent cash reserves, and put houses and hotels on inexpensive properties such as Oriental and Baltic. The odds of another player landing on these properties was much higher than landing on Boardwalk. Thus, I had a nice revenue stream and owned properties on all sides of the board.

Playing Monopoly is a learning curve, but there is no mistake that winning at Monopoly is also driven by “chance” and luck.

Even at the beginning of the game, the players roll dice to determine who moves first.

One roll of the dice can provide a distinct advantage, but there are always things beyond our control: being forced into jail because of an unlucky roll of the dice, for example.

The game of Monopoly has been criticized as propaganda of greed, the worst trait of capitalism.

But it is also an exceptional learning tool that reinforces the harsh reality of life. No matter how smartly you play, there are always things you cannot control. And even at birth, it is a roll of the dice that can give you an advantage over the other players.

Sometimes hard work is not enough.

We should remember that lesson when judging the other players.