#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.

#BlackLivesMatter

 

 

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.

Why?

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)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/879463142148199/

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.

Respectfully,

Matt

https://www.facebook.com/groups/879463142148199/permalink/902994366461743/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/879463142148199/permalink/902994366461743/?comment_id=903066593121187&offset=0&total_comments=12&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R5%22%7D

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.

 

August and everything after

20120709_202235

The southwest shore of Rangeley Lake

That fire, like so many other fires, started as an accident.

Sitting here now, only a few feet from the southwest shore of Rangeley Lake, it seems strange that I would be thinking about something that happened more than 30 years ago.

The sun has barely risen, and it cuts across the lake like a sheet of diamonds. But my thoughts remain with that cold November night and the fire that would become a defining moment of my rather unremarkable life.

Laura and the kids are still asleep, oblivious to the gentle sounds of the frantic chipmunks, some lovesick chickadees and the distant hum of an old two-stroke outboard somewhere across the lake. It is so tranquil, and now the cry of an early morning loon is all that separates me from my persistent thoughts about the fire.

The sun is now beginning to creep through the boughs of the white pines, birches and poplar trees that surround me, shield me from the reality of my normal life…the day-to-day of the real world.

Day One of our vacation and I am already anxious about returning to the rattle and hum of the mundane.

So I choose to think about the fire, especially since we are at Rangeley Lake, only a few miles north of where my uncle lived.

That fire should have changed my life, but it seems like I can never hold onto the lessons it taught me.

Burnin’ down the house

001

Leonard K. Brooks

A few years ago, our family started taking a new route for our annual trek to Rangeley. That new route goes right past the house that my uncle Leonard once owned.

My uncle had already raised three boys and a daughter of his own. My older cousins were heroes to me when I was a young boy. They were hippies, rebels and the funniest people I ever met. They knew everything about small engines, Jimi Hendrix, guns and dope.

My uncle took me in after my parents’ divorce, sparing me from the chaos of that situation.

Leonard Brooks was incredibly intelligent and self-reliant. He towered over most people and had broad shoulders, piercing blue eyes and a disposition that encapsulates everything you can imagine about a grumpy, old guy.

He was a champion of common sense. He suffered fools lightly and had little use for flatlanders, rock n’ roll and anything south of Lewiston.

Unlike my father, Leonard rarely, if ever, raised his voice. He conveyed his displeasure with a silence that was pure torture. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, you listened.

So it was, during my second year of living with Leonard, that the fire happened.

It was a chilly Friday night in mid November. My uncle left with a few friends for a weekend hunting trip. I was not allowed to join because of my lackluster chemistry grades and a backlog of homework.

So, there I was: stuck with my aunt and my youngest cousin, Cathy, who still lived at home and was five years older than me. The weekend certainly looked bleak, and there was a cord of firewood that needed to be stacked in the basement before my uncle’s return home on Sunday.

Cathy, however, made plans to have a much better night. With a baggie of homegrown weed and a six-pack of Budweiser, she invited one of her girlfriends over for a back yard campfire. My aunt was oblivious and already in bed.

Maybe it was because they were completely baked, or maybe it was because the wood was too green for burning. It didn’t matter, their fire was not much more than a spark and a cloud of smoke, But I wanted to impress the girl, so out I came with a one-gallon can of what I thought was kerosene.

It was not kerosene. It was gasoline. If you do not understand the significance of that distinction, there’s no point in my trying to explain it.

Sure, I stood back a few feet, but that was the only smart thing I did that night.

It was like an explosion, and I panicked. The flame traveled right up to the can of gasoline in my trembling hands. I did the only thing I could at that moment. I threw the can away from me, across the backyard and, in retrospect, far too close to the snowmobile and picnic table that were parked nearby.

Cathy was stoned beyond recognition and could not stop giggling. “Fire, fire, fire,” she chanted, before darting into the house for a glass of water.

Pouring water on a gasoline fire? Not too smart.

The damage looked much worse in the morning. The bulk of the backyard was scorched and reeked of gasoline. The picnic table was destroyed, and the snowmobile cover had melted and was now bonded to the charred remains of my uncle’s beloved Polaris sled.

Dead man walking

My uncle was going to kill me.  I would never graduate high school. I would never get laid. There was nothing more to my future than the 36 hours until my uncle would release me from the mortal coil.

I don’t remember much about that weekend other than the extreme sense of dread that draped over me like a heavy blanket on a hot July afternoon.

My oldest cousin, Steve, stopped by the house to pick something up. He made no effort to hide his amusement about the damage, but he offered some sage advice:

“The only shot you have at survival is to just man up and own it without excuse,” he said before adding the most important part. “You should also wait until he has had a chance to settle down and have a couple of shots before you tell him.”

With that, Steve was gone, taking cover from the impending storm.

Finally, it was Sunday evening. I shook hands with the grim reaper as I watched my uncle’s Dodge pickup ramble up the gravel driveway in front of the house.

I followed Steve’s advice, waiting until Leonard had settled in and able to enjoy a a shot of his preferred Scotch.

I was shaking when I approached the kitchen table. Cathy hid upstairs in her bedroom, quiet as a church mouse.

He peered at me over the rim of his bifocals. “Yes, young fella?” He seemed to sense my dread and probably noted my ashen complexion and trembling limbs.

“I had an accident while you were gone, “ I said with as much courage as I could muster, my voice cracking.

He stiffened in his seat. “An accident?”

“Yeah, in the backyard,” I stammered, wondering how I was keeping my eyes open. “It was a fire.”

“Well, let’s go take a look,” he said evenly, without trace of any emotion whatsoever.

Together we stepped off the back porch, and he surveyed the damage quickly.

“Let’s go back inside,” he said softly.

I followed him back to the kitchen table, ready to vomit at any given moment. He grabbed a pen and the back of a discarded envelope, drawing a rather primitive diagram with a circle and an arrow.

I sat down and he explained the diagram. “When you build a fire, you always, always know which way the wind is blowing,” he explained. “Always keep your back to the wind. If you are going to use an accelerent, do so before you spark anything,” he emphasized. “Do you understand?”

I could only nod in the affirmative.

“Alrighty then, “ he said as stood up and headed to his favorite recliner in the living room.

I was in shock. “What is my punishment,” I  inquired.

“Punishment?” he chuckled with his blue eyes sparkling. “What possible punishment could I give you that would be worse than what you have put yourself through over the past two days? Just don’t forget the lesson.”

And that was that. He never talked about the incident again.

A lesson learned?

My uncle died in 1997, four years before I met Laura, Tim and Matt.

I wrote his eulogy.

The world shrank, and my 50-year-old Starcraft boat looks exactly like the boat he owned.

I know exactly what he would say to me today. “The only thing you need is common sense,” he would say. And with that, he would sprinkle some salt in a mug of Budweiser and put his feet up on a tattered ottoman, content that all was well with the world.

And that lesson is priceless, the one I cannot seem to convey to my sons.

Leonard would have loved my boys. He would most certainly approve of Laura, her carefree spirit and her lack of airs.

He would shake his head in dismay if he found out that I cannot back a boat down a ramp or build a bookshelf.

But none of that would really matter to him because he knew, and still knows, that I know how to build a fire.

And if you can build a fire, everything else is going to be okay.

Note: this is a condensed version of a post I published in July 2013. To see the longer version go here.

The long and winding road

You don’t have to be from Biddeford to know about the situation that has rocked my hometown.  The story about the alleged sexual abuse of young boys many years ago by two former Biddeford police officers has made headlines across the state.

It is a horrific, heart-wrenching story that comes on the heels of a renaissance in this community.

It has been suggested in the media and elsewhere that this issue has divided the city. I beg to differ.

Every citizen of Biddeford feels the same way: these were likely terrible crimes that warrant the full weight of justice. Thus, we are a community united. We are a community that wants the truth. We are a city that wants these alleged abusers to face trial in a court of law.

This is a community that has zero tolerance for the sexual abuse of children. Justice must be served.

But what does “justice” look like?

Unfortunately, too many of us have gotten caught up in hour-long television shows that show justice being meted out neatly in a one-hour time segment. We have come to believe that real life should follow the tempo of these fictional programs.

That’s not how it works in the real world, however. In the real world, justice rarely moves at lightening speed. Justice also requires facts and hard evidence.

In the United States, all people are innocent until proven guilty, no matter how heinous the crime. I am not defending the former police officers; rather I am defending those who have been targeted in a scorched earth campaign that has taken place primarily on social media.

It’s probably a good thing that there was no such thing as Facebook when John Adams defended the British troops who were involved in the Boston Massacre.

Facts are stubborn things

You probably remember learning about the Boston Massacre in high school. It was a turning point in our nation’s judicial system

During the height of tensions between colonists and British troops in 1770, five colonists were killed by British soldiers,

In the days and weeks that followed, there was a propaganda battle between the two sides. Everyone had an opinion.

John Adams, the man who would go on to become the second president of the United States, took the case in defense of the British troops because he wanted to ensure a fair trial, despite his patriot leanings.

Adams received threats and daily harassment. He feared for his life and for the safety of his family. Many colonists regarded him a traitor for representing the British.

Popularity and personal prosperity did not matter to Adams. He knew the stakes were too high to cave into the pressure of political expediency.

What John Adams said during his closing statement at trial should cause us all to pause in this current situation.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

A scorched earth campaign

Earlier this year, Matt Lauzon, a former Biddeford resident and now a Boston businessman, made public allegations that he was sexually abused by a former Biddeford police officer. He took to social media to talk about the events that happened to him as a boy growing up in this city.

The community was outraged. How could something like this happen? Others came forward with similar stories. Allegations now abounded about two former police officers.

Initially, Lauzon began a public awareness campaign and asked publicly about resources in the community that could prevent such abuses from happening in the future. I was one of the first people who reached out to Lauzon to express my shock and outrage regarding what he endured. To this day, I cannot fathom what it must be like to be a survivor of sexual abuse, especially when that abuse came at the hands of someone in a position of authority and trust.

I remembered Matt when he was a student at Biddeford High School. He is a smart, likable guy. I immediately put him in touch with my wife, Laura, a social worker here in Biddeford. Matt wanted to collaborate with Laura and others (including Mayor Alan Casavant and Police Chief Roger Beaupre) about community resources and raising awareness.

So far, so good, Right? Not so much.

Matt used Facebook to hound both Casavant and Beaupre, alleging that they were thwarting prevention of further abuse in the city.

Laura commented on one of Matt’s Facebook posts, cautioning him against going on a “witch hunt” for potential sex offenders. Unfortunately, there is no way to identify a sexual offender until they have done something, she explained.

Matt began publicly lashing out at Laura. He said he was hurt and troubled by her comments. He began sending repeated e-mails to her employer, imploring that she be fired.

He threatened a civil lawsuit against us, and began publicly questioning our relationships with both the mayor and police chief. There were constant Facebook posts made about Laura’s professional capacity and my prior role as Casavant’s campaign manager. A small, but very vocal group of Lauzon’s followers chimed in, and began posting and sharing the same allegations.

At one point, Lauzon’s followers criticized us for having dinner at a local restaurant. How could we be so callous when so many people were hurting? they wrote. They questioned whether our son was involved in criminal behavior.

Matt was (an assuredly still is) offended that I am friends with the mayor (first elected in 2011). He tried to draw connections between our friendship, as he ramped up a public campaign against both the mayor and police chief.

Allow me to pause here and say this: Alan Casavant and I are not “friends.” We are good friends. Further, being a “campaign manager” in a city election is hardly comparable to being a political operative. On this level, you help put up campaign signs, draft talking points and beg residents for money. Not exactly Karl Rove sort of stuff.

Casavant speculationMatt continued his campaign. He hired an attorney, and began calling for the suspension of the police chief and deputy chief. He also began railing against the mayor,a former high school teacher. Lauzon publicly speculated whether the mayor had sexual relationships with his former students. In another Facebook post, Lauzon shared an item that suggested the police chief may have had a “three-way” sexual tryst with two other officers.

Matt repeatedly called me and sent me text messages in the middle of the night. He copied the media and members of city government in continuing e-mails to my wife’s employer.

I repeatedly asked him to stop contacting me, but he persisted. Most recently, he has repeatedly driven past my house (on a quiet side street), hollering out to me when I am in my yard.

At last week’s city council meeting, Lauzon once again took the podium and suggested that the mayor and police chief may have shared a bed while attending a conference several years ago at Bowdoin College.

It should be noted that Lauzon rarely talks about the cop who allegedly abused him. Instead, he directs his wrath at those who had nothing to do with his abuse.

My mistake

05-09-01-textMy patience was growing thin. Matt was (is) repeatedly claiming he is going to file a civil lawsuit against Laura. He and his small group of followers were calling for Laura to be fired. He repeatedly sent text messages and continued posting derogatory things about us on social media, despite being repeatedly asked not to contact us.

Finally, I had enough. He called me one evening, and I snapped. I said something I deeply regret. To say it was a poor choice of words is an understatement. But after months of enduring his wrath, my emotions got the better part of my judgment.

Being a sexual abuse survivor is not an easy thing, but it does not give you license to do and say whatever you want about other people.

Where are we now, and where are going?

A growing chorus of voices are asking for the city’s police chief and deputy chief to be removed from office. But what evidence of wrongdoing by these two is available? So far, not one iota of evidence of wrongdoing has been produced. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Lauzon’s followers, most of whom voted against Mayor Casavant in 2011 and 2013, are publicly discussing a recall of the mayor. (Surprise). Apparently, they cannot wait five months for the next election.

There is repeated talk about a civil lawsuit against the city. There are repeated mob scenes at City Council meetings that are happily attended by television news crews.

This is no longer about “justice” against two former cops; rather it is about a civil lawsuit and a political vendetta. (Not necessarily in that order)

Our city is not divided, but 99.8 percent of our residents are staying silent. Can you blame them?

As I said before, we are not a city divided. We are a city that wants justice for Lauzon and the other victims. But we are also a city that wants the ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s office to move forward without the theatrics and tactics employed over the last few months.