Beginning this morning at 9:00 AM, a new "Tell It Like It Is" show will begin airing on BCTV Channel 16 that is titled "The Big Rematch" that I think you'll find pretty interesting. The show is divided into two segments taped back-to-back, one in which I interview Town Moderator Ryk Bullock, and the other in which I interview Brian Shaughnessy, who is again running against Bullock in this year's Town election.
During Bullock's segment, he described the improvements that he has made to the election process since being elected, and changes that he has made that have resulted in the elections now costing thousands of dollars less each year than they cost before he was elected Town Moderator. When I bluntly asked him about the well-publicized claims made against him that he owes thousands of dollars in taxes to the Town of Bedford, he was able to produce documents showing that his personal real estate taxes are paid, and that other properties for which he has been publicly ridiculed for overdue taxes are not owned by him, but are properties for which his family property management company has served as property managers and leasing agents. While some tax bills have been mailed in care of that company, the property taxes are obviously the responsibility of the property owners.
For the record, the tax accusations against Bullock have been most publicly made by Tax Collector Crystal Dionne (who is at the center of the Town's seizure of the Tarr Wildlife Sanctuary for taxes, interest, and penalties totaling $3881); by Town Council member Jim Scanlon (the subject of an investigation by the state's Attorney General for his antics at the Bedford polls during the January election); by longtime Bullock critic and detractor Bill Greiner (who proudly erects derogatory signs against Bullock on Bedford roads); and by former Council member Mike Scanlon (who co-hosts a television show with Bill Greiner that has devoted many shows to trying to publicly humiliate Bullock).
During Shaughnessy's segment of the show, he claimed that the Bullock tax accusations were of no interest to him, yet he didn't deny that in newspapers published on the same day as the show taping, he had indeed accused Bullock of using the town as "his bank", saying that he had made his comments only because the reporter brought up the subject. Several times during the interview, he praised Bullock's running of the elections over the past four years saying, "I give Mr. Bullock credit for running a top-notch election." However, he spent considerable time criticizing Bullock for receiving more money than the $100 stipend that he receives from the Town for election day work. Because he gave the impression that Bullock was somehow bilking the Town for a lot of money, I asked how much money that he was talking about, and the answer was that Bullock received $340 last year. (As it turns out, that was Bullock's pay for his pre-election and post-election work on behalf of the Town.) While many election day workers are unpaid high school student interns, Shaughnessy took great issue with Bedford residents who work at the polls receiving minimum-wage pay for their efforts, a practice that has been in place for years and years, and is common throughout the state. When I asked what he would do about that, he said that he'd have fewer workers, and that he didn't know that he'd pay them anything.
Shaughnessy also strongly criticized Bullock for the fact that Town Councilor Jim Scanlon was investigated by the state's Attorney General for his behavior at the January election, and despite my arguing that state statute required Bullock to report the offense to the A.G., Shaughnessy maintained that he would not have reported the incident. He also reported that the matter had been closed with the Attorney General. When I said that no ruling had yet been made, he dismissively told me, "You can check on that". (In fact, as of Thursday, March 1, a ruling still has not been issued.) At least twice during the show, Shaughnessy said that "he has done his homework". However, he incorrectly stated the number of election workers, he incorrectly claimed that the Town needs to spend money on providing workmen's compensation for election workers, and he stated that the Town budget is $3.2 million. When I said that it was more like $21 million, he pulled out some papers, and then said that the budget is $4.3 million with public works and fire department costs added. (editorial comment: We should be so lucky!)
Just as I asked Bullock an "elephant in the room" question about charges that he owes thousands of dollars in taxes to the town, I also asked Shaughnessy an "elephant in the room" question when I asked him to respond to the sentiment of many that his candidacy was part of the long-running attacks on Bullock orchestrated by Bill Greiner. He responded that he was very good friends with Greiner, and described their mutual sports activities and involvements with various Bedford organizations. I challenged that their ties went much deeper than that, and I named five companies in which they share an involvement.
All in all, the one-hour show is quite thought-provoking, and I suggest that you watch it. It will be aired on BCTV Channel 16 through to Thursday night, March 8 at the following times:
Friday/Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday - 9:00 AM, 11:00 PM
Saturday/ Monday/Wednesday - 12:00 PM, 8:00 PM
You can watch the show on your computer through live streaming during broadcast times by going to the BCTV website www.bedfordtv.com Click on Live Streaming, or you can watch the show at anytime on your computer by going to the website, clicking on Program Schedule in the Channed 16 box, and on the next page, look for the Search box in the upper left corner and type in tell it like it is. When the page comes up, just click on the word View that is shown beside the show's title.