Cancel culture: Cancel culture is a phenomenon in which those who are deemed to have acted or spoken in an unacceptable manner are ostracized, boycotted or shunned.
Saratoga Springs Democratic Chair Pat Tuz has invited Chris Mathiesen and Michele Madigan, along with the candidates the committee previously endorsed for City Council positions, to address a meeting of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee on March 18. Conspicuously absent from her list of invitees was Tim Coll, candidate for Public Safety Commissioner.
As readers will recall, all three Democrats, Mathiesen, who is running for Mayor, Madigan, who is running for a Supervisor seat, and Coll, who is running for Public Safety Commissioner, had sought endorsements to run on the Democratic line in the November city elections. All three were interviewed by the endorsement committee, rejected, and then refused the opportunity to address the full committee in violation of the committee's own policies. The Democratic Committee then went on to endorse all the incumbents (Kim, Moran, Sanghvi, Montagnino, Golub, and Boyd for Supervisor)
The committee experienced significant criticism from the press, the public, and some of the committee's own members for their closed, undemocratic endorsement process. The Democratic leadership then came up with this absurd March 18 meeting as their idea of a remedy for this mistake. The committee has made its endorsements and is currently circulating petitions for all the incumbents, so this meeting will change nothing. So what is the point? And why spend the committee's time listening again to the candidates they have already endorsed as well as is planned?
In this context, Tuz's decision to allow her committee members to hear from some of the Democrats who weren't endorsed but not all is even more perplexing and only serves to highlight the undemocratic, heavy-handed methods of Ms. Tuz and her executive committee.
Tuz Cancels Coll in Email Exchange
[JK: the full text of the emails between Tuz and Coll can be found at the end of this post]
After seeing the announcement of the meeting he was not invited to in the committee's newsletter, In the Loop, Tim Coll wrote to Chairperson Tuz asking that he, too, be allowed to address the full committee at their meeting on the eighteenth. Without being specific, Ms. Tuz responded by informing Coll that "their [Republican] values....are different than our [Democratic] values," and since he had been endorsed by the local Republican committee, she would not allow her committee members to hear Coll speak. It is interesting that Ms. Tuz chose to ignore that Coll is a registered Democrat.
Coll responded that the best way to determine what his values actually are would be for him to attend the committee meeting and have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the members. He reminded her that he had asked her to forward his email requesting this opportunity to her entire committee and asked if she had done that.
Tuz responded with a spirited attack not only on anyone who would be a registered Republican (which he is not) but anyone who would accept an endorsement from the city’s Republican Party. She goes on at great length extolling her own virtues, including describing herself as one of the "believers in democracy," implying that Coll is not.
Conspicuously absent was an answer to Coll’s fundamental question as to whether Tuz had circulated his email to the committee as he had requested.
Coll, who was not registered in any political party for many years, was clear he intended to seek support from both the Democratic Committee and the Republican Committee when he was initially interviewed by the Democrats. This is consistent with his campaign theme in which he eschews tribalism in politics and his belief that we need to repair the divisions in our political culture.
Tuz conveniently ignores the irony that the local Republican Party, which she contends is anti-democracy, was willing to rise above partisanship in the interest of the city by endorsing a Democrat and had no problem with Coll speaking to their full committee.
What Is Tuz Afraid Of?
It is hard to understand why Tuz would refuse a simple request to forward Coll’s email asking to speak to the full committee. She had already successfully blocked his endorsement.
Tuz’s refusal to forward a legitimate and courteous email to her committee was a pointless abuse. The endorsements are done. She seems to be utterly oblivious that such pettiness only serves to undermine the narrative that was supposed to repair the original media damage done by their flawed endorsement process.
I understand that there is some dissension among the rank-and-file members of the committee over the endorsement of Montagnino for Public Safety Commissioner. My guess is that Tuz, directed by Gordon Boyd, is worried that a compelling presentation by Tim Coll might further undermine Montagnino and threaten Tuz's and Boyd’s credibility.
Date: Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 11:21 AM
Subject: Interview with Dem Committee
Hope you are well. This email is really to the entire committee. I am sending it to you and respectfully request that you forward it to all of them.
I read in the latest edition of your newsletter, In the Loop, the following:
“Since our endorsement meeting last month, we’ve heard from several of our members, the general public and even endorsed candidates that all candidates should have been allowed to address the full committee rather than only those recommended. ”
The timing of this is rather odd given that the Committee’s endorsements have already been made and petitions are being circulated, but nevertheless, I agree with the members of the committee who have championed openness and inclusivity.
On the other hand, the newsletter also announced that I would not be given the courtesy to address the committee citing the endorsement of the city’s Republican Committee.
It is unclear to me who made the decision that the full committee should be able to hear from some but not all of the Democrats who sought their endorsement.
The current political environment is already toxic with extreme partisanship. This is an opportunity to show that our local Democratic Committee is better than this. I believe your committee should have the opportunity to hear from me and judge me on my qualifications and character, not on who does or does not support me.
I respectfully request the opportunity to join my fellow Democrats who were denied the opportunity to address the full committee during your endorsement process to now have the opportunity to meet with your members and allow them to decide for themselves who might best serve the city of Saratoga Springs on the City Council.
Date: Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: Interview with Dem Committee
I thought you got the Republican endorsement. Can you clarify?
Yes, I did.
Date: Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: Interview with Dem Committee
I thought you all should have been allowed to speak - at that point, or prior to your endorsement by the R’s. I don’t remember what day that happened. It does not make sense now that you be allowed to speak to our group because you were endorsed by the R’s. You have to stand for something which I presume is their values which are different than our values. And right now we have to move forward and get things done.
But, good luck and see you out there!!
I agree with you that there was a mistake made and we should all have been allowed to speak. It appears, based on your email to me, you are not going to forward my emal to the membership as I requested. I hope I am incorrect and that you can assure me that you did indeed share my message with all your committee people. It would be unfortunate if this became yet another mistake.
I was surprised that you alleged that I, an enrolled Democrat, do not now share the values of you and your hcommittee. The best way to determine what my values actually are would be for me to attend your committee meeting and have the opportunity to engage in a conversation with your members about my qualifications and goals for the city as Public Safety Commissioner.
I respectfully request that you share my email with all committee members if you have not done so and that you reconsider your decision to bar me from addressing your committee.
Date: Tue, Mar 14, 2023, 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: Interview with Dem Commitee
So Tim, an interesting conversation to be had.
I know that you were Unaffiliated, then registered Democratic, then/now got endorsed by the Republican committee and they are helping with your petitioning. And that you are not a “political” guy as you say. I don’t know what that even means if you are running for office. Maybe you believe some Democratic policy (universal healthcare), and some Republican policy (strong police, law & order). But you have chosen to align yourself with them via the endorsement.
Just so you know, some of us have given up years of our lives to volunteer, especially after Trump was elected by the Republicans. As believers of Democracy, we felt it a duty to pass along free and fair elections, a woman’s right to choose, true equal rights for all, to our children. I came of age in the Civil Rights era, took my rights for granted, now see them disappearing.
Many of us used to but will no longer consider voting for local Republicans. They have entertained election deniers, taken busloads down to Washington DC for January 6th, are supporters of our election denying Congresswoman in D21, and the Democracy deniers in our federal government. That is very serious. And local is where it all starts. So how can we support you?.
You may not consider yourself “political” but you can’t get anywhere unless you have a “group” to help. So, it’s best to align with one, I get that. But, you chose the wrong one.
So, yes we were wrong, and will give Michele and Chris the chance to speak to our committee. But, we just can’t give it to you.
Good luck Tim!
Date: Tue, Mar 14, 2023, 2:03 PM
Subject: Re: Interview with Dem Commitee
Thank you Pat, I disagree.