GOLDRICK: Tough Questions for First Selectman Camillo in Advance of His RMA Talk

Submitted by Sean Goldrick

Greenwich’s GOP first selectman Fred Camillo will appear before the Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich on Wednesday, April 3.  These are questions that he needs to be asked, and which he should answer.  Camillo continues to dodge the questions, however, and the local press corps continue to protect him by not asking him the questions.  It’s time that he tells the truth to the people of Greenwich.

Here are just some of the questions to which the people of Greenwich deserve answers from their first selectman.

First Selectman Camillo, you said that Florida GOP governor Ron DeSantis, “has done a very good job in Florida.  He’s certainly got a backbone, which I think a lot of Americans admire.”  What part of DeSantis’s performance in office do you believe qualifies him as “doing a good job for Florida”?  Was it signing into law a ban on abortion after six weeks?  You yourself cosponsored two anti-abortion bills while in the Connecticut legislature.  Was it DeSantis’s statement that, if elected president, he would “start slitting throats” of federal employees “on day one”?  Was it his banning of books that overwhelmingly were about, or authored by, Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ people?  Was it DeSantis’s actions to marginalize and criminalize LGBTQ people with his “Don’t Say Gay” bill?  Was it his legislation denying trans minors from receiving gender-affirming medical care that you so admired?  Or was it his action in spending millions of dollars to transport asylum-seeking migrants without their knowledge to northern cities and towns, actions that are being investigated as likely felonies?  Please explain to the people of Greenwich what exactly you find so very “admirable” about Ron DeSantis.

Mr Camillo, the town of Greenwich was forced to pay $1.6 million to settle a civil lawsuit brought by Greenwich police Captain Mark Kordick, formerly the third highest-ranking police officer in the Greenwich Police Department, for the actions you took that ended his police career.  Your act of political retribution against Captain Kordick resulted in Greenwich taxpayers’ having to pay $1.5 million in legal fees (to a GOP-linked law firm) and cash settlement.  Insurance companies insuring you and your campaign manager, Jack Kriskey, each had to pay Captain Kordick additional major cash payments to settle his lawsuit against the two of you.  Will you take this opportunity to publicly apologize to the taxpayers of Greenwich for squandering their hard-earned money on your political vendetta against Captain Kordick?  And will you now, finally, do the right thing and publicly apologize to Captain Kordick for wrongly and unjustly ending his 31-year career as a police officer?

Mr Camillo, you recently announced the formation of the Greenwich Antisemitism and Anti-Hate Task Force, on which you also serve as a member.  The stated objective of the task force is to address acts of antisemitism, bigotry and hate in the Greenwich community.  As the old proverb goes, “Physician, heal thyself.”

A year ago, Republican BET member Harry Fisher posted on his Facebook page a clearly racist anti-Asian cartoon.  Yet neither you, nor any other leader of the Greenwich GOP, condemned that racist post.  Harry Fisher, who has never apologized for his post, today serves as the chairman of the Greenwich BET.  Will you now unequivocally condemn that racist post, and acknowledge that Harry Fisher was wrong to publish it?  Further, will you demand that Mr Fisher take personal responsibility for that act of racist hate by resigning from the BET?

Mr Camillo, the stated first objective of your task force is to address anti-Semitism.  Last year the CT Centinal posted a doctored photo of Democratic BET candidate Scott Kalb, who is Jewish, making him appear as some sort of priest in a cult, while accusing him of being a “globalist.” The Greenwich Republicans re-Tweeted the Tweet.

The American Jewish Committee and the Anti Defamation League both list “globalist” as an antisemitic slur.  The ADL’s “glossary of extremism and hate” states: “White supremacists and other antisemites frequently use the term as an antisemitic dog whistle, wielding it as a codeword for Jews or as a pejorative term for people whose interests in international commerce or finance ostensibly make them disloyal to the country in which they live, or who are willing to undermine the financial security of their neighbors in order to benefit transnational interests.”  The Greenwich GOP also published multiple posts attacking Mr Kalb,  repeatedly using that antisemitic slur, “globalist.”  No one in the Greenwich GOP has apologized publicly to the town, or to Mr Kalb, for those antisemitic attacks.

Will you now, First Selectman Camillo, as founder and chairman of the Greenwich Antisemitism and Anti-Hate Task Force, and as the senior elected Republican official in Greenwich, apologize to the people of Greenwich and to Mr Kalb for those antisemitic attacks?

Mr Camillo, long-time Greenwich Time columnist and public servant, Alma Rutgers, condemned Donald Trump in her recent column for attacking American Jews with an antisemitic trope.

She wrote, “Trump…modifies this (antisemitic) trope in a way that makes it extra insulting. He tells us — Americans who are Jewish — that our first loyalty must be to Israel and that we betray our Judaism when we are guided by the values that inform our politics.”  Donald Trump has hosted at Mar-a-Lago the notorious antisemite Nick Fuentes, and referred to the Neo-Nazis rampaging in Charlottesville, who chanted “Jews will not replace us,” and “Into the ovens!”, as “very fine people.”

As the founder of the Greenwich Antisemitism and Anti-Hate Task Force, will you now condemn your party’s leader for his blatant antisemitism?  And will you publicly pledge not to vote for him this November?

Mr Camillo, in 2018 when you were serving in the Connecticut legislature, you voted to oppose Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald’s nomination to serve as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Andrew McDonald was openly Gay, and married to a man at the time you voted against his nomination.  Do you still claim that your vote against his nomination was not an expression of blatant anti-LGBTQ bigotry?

As a member and founder of the Anti-Hate Task Force, how do you justify your vote to block Justice McDonald’s nomination with your service on the Anti-Hate Task Force you created?

Mr Camillo, a year ago you joined in your party’s national book banning mania when you condemned Greenwich Library for keeping the book, “Gender Queer-A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe, on its shelves, calling the book “disgusting.”

Yet that book was awarded the American Library Association’s 2020 Alex Award, presented to books written for adults that have special appeal for young adults, and the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Honor Award for books with exceptional merit relating to the LGBTQ experience.

Do you now regret your criticism of that important, award-winning book about the LGBTQ experience?

Mr Camillo, GOP state senator Ryan Fazio has referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade as “offensive to the rule of law.”  Do you agree with Fazio that Roe was “offensive to the rule of law”?  Further, do you support the decision by the GOP Supreme Court justices in Dobbs that took away from American women their right to reproductive freedom?  Given Fazio’s staunch anti-abortion position, do you endorse and support Ryan Fazio’s bid for re-election?

Ryan Fazio also stated that the Supreme Court’s “Obergefell” decision that granted same sex couples the right to marry was “offensive to the rule of law.”  Do you agree with him that same-sex couples should not be permitted to marry?  Despite Fazio’s rabid anti-LGBTQ beliefs, do you intend to vote for him in November?

Note: this letter was corrected to reflect that it was the CT Centinal that posted a doctored photo of then Democratic BET candidate Scott Kalb, not the GOP. The Greenwich Republicans reTweeted the CT Centinal piece featuring the doctored image.