Deb McFadden, who is running for first selectman of Wilton, says that despite intending to play nice with Sensible Wilton, she’s now maintaining the group didn’t play fair with her. She says that’s because she had prepared answers to questions they sent to her and her opponent, Lynne Vanderslice when she discovered that the group’s president, Alex Ruskewich, had already endorsed Vanderslice.

McFadden’s campaign emailed a press release and a copy of an email from Ruskewich that she says proves the Sensible Wilton president not only endorsed her opponent but also actively campaigned on Vanderslice’s behalf. As a result McFadden has chosen to withhold her answers, believing that the group had already decided who to support before reviewing her answers and giving her fair consideration.

According to McFadden, Sensible Wilton sent her list of questions (which they also sent to GOOD Morning Wilton) on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and they gave her a one-week deadline of Tuesday, Oct. 27. She says she didn’t hesitate in deciding to answer them.

“A central part of my vision for Wilton is citizen engagement and dialogue. Accordingly, when Sensible Wilton reached out to me and my opponent for first selectman, to answer a series of questions, I welcomed the chance to respond. My willingness was despite the fact that Sensible Wilton has sued the Board of Selectmen as well as its members individually (including myself), at a substantial cost to the taxpayers of Wilton,” she says.

McFadden says she had been planning to submit her answers ahead of the deadline, but learned about Ruskewich’s email  on Sunday, Oct. 25.

SW Endorsement email image“I discovered [on] Sunday, Oct. 25 that Alex Ruskewich—one of the two people that make up Sensible Wilton—had not only endorsed my opponent but had set in motion a telephone campaign targeting those who had signed Sensible Wilton’s petitions along with a ‘suggested script’,” McFadden explains.

That, the candidate asserts, isn’t playing fair.

“Sensible Wilton obviously did not feel it necessary to review the responses to the questions that they themselves had requested. Their actions clearly indicate that responses on their website would serve no useful purpose, so mine—already prepared—will not be forthcoming,” McFadden says, adding that her views on major issues are available on her campaign website, “for all open-minded citizens.”

“Or visit the major local media websites that have covered this election with integrity and respect,” she adds.

Ruskewich responded to‘s request for comment saying:

“It was always our intention to post the answers to our questionnaire on our website to allow all Wiltonians to see how each candidate answers some critical questions. I personally have never claimed to be impartial in this race. I would have had a hard time supporting any candidate who, at the Referendum Special Town Meeting was the individual who was the last person to speak in support of the Miller-Driscoll bonding proposal right before a member of the building committee asked to close comments. Though this was within Roberts Rules, I did not consider that act fair play and did not expect that from the Town of Wilton.

“I respect Deb McFadden’s right not to answer, and we will merely state that she declined to answer the questions we submitted.”

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.:  Ruskewich emailed an additional comment, stating:

“I have been open in my personal support of Lynne Vanderslice since she announced her candidacy as I feel she is, by far, the best qualified. As you can see by the copy you published, the Oct. 25 email was my personal appeal.

“Separately I will forward to you the four “SW Election News” emails that have been sent to Sensible Wilton’s distribution list, that document how Sensible Wilton has promoted the candidates throughout the election.”

In addition, Ruskewich pointed out that the Sensible Wilton questions were sent to all six candidates who are running for a position on the Board of Selectmen.

UPDATE 1 p.m.: is including images of all four original emails Sensible Wilton sent out to its distribution list, promoting events at which all candidates appeared, and providing information to recipients about the Wilton election, as well as encouraging recipients to vote. Worth pointing out is that in the first email, sent on Sept. 10, which came from the Sensible Wilton email address, Ruskewich included his personal endorsement. Click on each image to enlarge.

33 replies on “McFadden Calls ‘Foul’ on Sensible Wilton, and Refuses their Request”

  1. While I too support Lynne Vanderslice, I am troubled by her association with the Senseless Wilton crowd – if true. While voters are free to support whomever they choose, I hope Ms Vanderslice will take the opportunity this week to distance herself from this “group”. Particularly, since 2/3rds of their petition signers have shown that they cannot be bothered to vote – even on issues that they are apparently passionate about … so they are really not much help to her – practically speaking – anyway. Lynne – call them out for what they are and reject their support ! I bet GMW would be happy to let Wilton know your feelings on this topic in a follow up story.

  2. The Ultimate Power: The People Themselves
    by Coach Collins
    By Karen Lees, Bill Norton and Mark Herr

    Of America’s founding architects, Thomas Jefferson is arguably one of the greatest minds and ardent defenders of liberty and the fundamental rights of man. Yet he was wise enough to recognize that he was not immune from the corrupting effects of governing power. THOMAS JEFFERSON

    Jefferson said, “If once they [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves … Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them.”

    From textbooks to illegals and everything in between, the federal government’s willingness to embrace anti-American policies has awakened a sleeping giant. As a result, communities across America have witnessed a more active participation in local government by the people.

    While some rolled over and hit the snooze button, many have answered the call to civic responsibility by becoming involved. The inalienable First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances has been dusted off and asserted. Citizens are beginning to hold their elected officials accountable. They are sincere, they are passionate, and they are engaged in the process.

    Boston Tea Party Dec. 16th, 1773
    Boston Tea Party
    Dec. 16th, 1773

    This would make Jefferson proud.

    While the outcomes may not always be successful, the real achievement-which must not be overlooked-is the awakening itself. This rebirth is an indication that the people are in the process of rediscovering their individual liberty, personal responsibility and civic authority – attributes of freedom cherished by America’s original builders.

    Jefferson continued, “The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution…The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right.”

    The Republic is not won or lost on just one issue. But there is tremendous value in the experience, which will lead to more successful outcomes in future citizen efforts. Extraordinary understanding is gained in the process.

    The ability to use the experience as training, along with proper instruction and focused energy, will be the key to success in continuing the experiment in self-governance the original designers began. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION 2

    In order to keep the unique Republic we inherited, the proper balance of power between the people and the government at the federal, state, and local levels, must be restored as it was originally intended.

    Whether our inheritance is claimed or not, We the People, brimming with power and energy, remain the stakeholders in a self-governing society. However, many citizens do not understand the governance process, have been alienated from it in the past, or have given up involvement altogether. To make matters worse, a few in governing positions make it clear they prefer it that way, contrary to America’s founding principles.

    With daily reports of our basic freedoms being whittled away, many citizens feel more like a cowherd, begrudgingly manipulated by the issues, rather than the governed, from which all power is derived. This, combined with the politically correct speech used by some officials today, does more to divide than unite, contriving a nation of “We the Pieces” rather than “We the People”. CONSTITUTION

    Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

    With citizen training in the architect’s self-governing philosophy, the original design of limited government can be restored. Proper instruction is the key to demolishing the mind-forged manacles developed over decades. When the shackles are removed, the language of captivity is replaced by the language of liberty.

    Jefferson made it clear. The correction will not happen by accident. He stated, “The qualifications for self-government in society are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training.”

  3. A pathetic excuse for DEB to ignore valid questions from tax paying citizens. I guess only “open-minded” citizens, as defined by DEB, may share in her profound thinking on important issues that effect us all.

    The fact remains that DEB has ZERO executive credentials or experience to qualify her in any way to run for any office . Even at the local level,she has been an avid supporter and enabler of the Democrat socialist policies that have tanked our economy, weakened our military, opened our borders and prisons, and encouraged miscreants to defy law enforcement. That type of mindset should not be given the reins of authority in Wilton.

    1. Michael,
      I’m going to refer you to our policies. Please tone down the blazing rhetoric. While you have not outwardly violated our terms, you’re coming dangerously close. I purposefully created GMW as a place that encourages dialog over name-calling and partisan platitudes. There are plenty of other places on the Internet for that.

      1. You don’t seem to have any problem allowing Stephen Hudspeth to spew his blazing rhetoric on a regular basis. Perhaps you need to tone him down. His ongoing attacks against Sensible Wilton, with your backing, hardly “encourages dialog over name-calling and partisan platitudes”.

        1. I was just thinking the same thing. I am a bit tired of both Sensible Wilton and Stephen Hudspeth being the “voices” of our town. Not at all meaning to discount the immense effort Mr Hudspeth puts into many volunteer activities that enrich our town, more than I could ever do. But his continual support of WHATEVER the town says gets tiring. He never met a taxpayer funded project he did not like (such as the fiber capital project which the finance board killed, but is now being funded bit by bit, no pun intended, using sneaky operating money. Probably borderline illegal.)

          1. Hi Paul, Kevin from Wynarville here. Regarding your Fiber Capital Project that you are referring to, according to the General Ledger, your tax dollars spent $236,500.00 last year on that project. You would think the town media would pick up on that and start investigating…but I’m from Wynarville.

  4. Heather, Is it acceptable for Wilton 413 to refer to Sensible Wilton as “Senseless” Wilton?

    1. Heather, I have seen comments still attached to other articles that likened one resident to Kim Kardashian, and it was not in a nice manner, among many other comments that were incendiary. I think a reminder to Mr. Moskow would be appropriate. His list of adjectives while his opinion hardly is respectful. Do you support someone misnaming a group in a disparaging manner? I truly hope not.

      1. Marianne, thanks for pointing that comment out. I did delete it, mainly because it referred to the child. But note it wasn’t commentS plural, it was one comment, on one article, not articleS. That’s it. As far as ‘senseless,’ he’s referring to a group, not a person, and it’s a reflection of whether or not Mr. Moskow believes the group’s assertions have merit. It’s not an incendiary word. Not along the lines of someone using, say ‘gestapo tactics.’ That, to me, is more incendiary than senseless. Wondering if you agree on that?

  5. Acceptable? Yes. Further, it is advisable, laudable, accurate, precise, convincing, appropriate, supportive, praise worthy, intelligent, popular, provable, agreed upon, concise, sensible and well timed.

    1. Refusing to engage those with differing views is almost as bad as grabbing the microphone from someone to stifle free speech….you would do well to read our Constitution.

      Oh, and BTW, Wilton will rank #1 in debt per capita of all 179 CT towns…Ct itself ranks third nationally and the state debt per capita is roughly equal to the FEDERAL debt per capita at $32,000+.
      Which of course means every newborn child in Wilton immediately inherits some $70.000.00 in debt.

      Thanks in large part to socialists with gestapo tendencies.

  6. I could not disagree more with Mr. Moskow. In fact, I would have to say the opposite of his long list of adjectives he assigns only to those who disagree with Sensible Wilton. I have read many primary documents on these issues and causes. I have attended Building Committee meetings and Board meetings about which I was shocked in what was covered and not covered, lack of process, and disclosures. While Mr. Moskow may believe that it is appropriate to misname the group in a disparaging manner, I think that all those adjectives he assigns actually describe the analyses, concerns, and suggestions that Sensible Wilton put forward.
    ETP is correct. The Yankee Institute completed a study of CT towns with data through 2012. Wilton came in the 4th highest amount spent PER resident and this did NOT include the MillerDriscoll Capital Bonding Project of $50,022,000, our largest ever bonding project. How does Wilton compare for its tax dollars to our neighbors wrt not only cost per resident, but also amenities and services provided. That is the proof in the pudding. There is a litany of issues and concerns re our fiscal and operational health. Small things like why there are no records for HVAC maintenance at Miller Driscoll? and very large ones such as why not one of the roof warranties at MD were triggered when leaks abounded since at least 2002…the warranties expire this year, in 2018, and in 2019. Why Turner and the architects presented a ‘never feasible’ site plan to the MDBC for a vote and to the Town Boards for a vote? And the list goes on. We need to clean this up.

  7. To Wilton 413: You state that 2/3 of the petition signers ‘can not be bothered to vote.’ That they did not vote in the Referendum is NOT the same as what you stated. How many of those people did you personally speak to among those that signed the petition to make that statement? If you had, you could not have drawn that conclusion. That the town had not used the town wide phone system to remind people of the vote on the town’s largest capital bonding project in its history is deplorable. Many voters were out of town, had no knowledge of the vote date, or were given wrong information about absentee voting – a whole other issue. Why was there a claim of ‘no knowledge? We could start with publicity through a once a week newspaper, a once a week paid for subscription paper (whose distribution list is not even 1/2 of the electorate), and websites that not everyone follows (about 2,000 followers). If you own $1,000 or more of appraised property in Wilton, you had a right to vote, but many voters also live out of town and do not get the once a week newspapers. So, who are the Town Officials truly serving by not using the town wide phone system, post cards in the mail…? Then, we could go to the illegal use of the school email system to target a subset of voters.

  8. the German state secret police during the Nazi regime, organized in 1933 and notorious for its brutal methods and operations. adjective. 2. (sometimes lowercase) of or resembling the Nazi Gestapo, especially in the brutal suppression of opposition: The new regime is using gestapo tactics.
    Gestapo | Define Gestapo at

  9. Rational people do not suppress free speech by grabbing microphones or insist on censoring someone/ group for using newly coined “politically incorrect” descriptions. It is what it is, very simple, and there is no need to amplify it to some other agenda.

  10. Heather,
    I recall other comments, but let’s look at Dr. Babashak’s responses to my letter which had many condescending, exaggerated, sensationalistic, incendiary, and personally inappropriate adjectives in his replies. Those were some of the others I was referring to.
    Re removing the Kim Kardashian comment about a mother but making your decision solely about the child – when we are trying to model civility among adults misses the point in my opinion. What exactly are we trying to model? That civility only applies to children?

    I do not agree that calling a group that has shown a consistent application of seeking truth, access to information and providing the information that was not provided beforehand to the public a disparaging adjective is acceptable or civil. While someone may disagree, why do they get a free pass against a ‘group?”

    Would you accept someone calling GoodMorningWilton a disparaging play on its title because it is an entity and not a person?

  11. “a consistent application of seeking truth, access to information and providing the information that was not provided beforehand to the public” ???

    Lady do you call sending false accusations to the State, distorting innumerable facts and statistics, suing the people who are elected to lead and damning 36 people who work on Education, Finance and Selectmen not to mention 13 people who work two and a half years to create a viable school proposal to be honorable work? And then hiding who they might be by admitting that there are only two (2) members? That’s goodness in your book? That’s all OK? Huh?

  12. Thank you for calling me “lady.” There were no false accusations- documents provided evidence of improper actions. “Decisions’ that were in direct contradiction to their own quoted testimony are indeed troublesome.

    However, it appears that Wilton has had a history of improper actions including the process of the formation of the Charter Commission…

    This town can be made better.

  13. How did a ‘never feasible’ site plan regarding the basic understanding of access to and from a state road get approved through the Building Committee and the various Boards to be presented to the Town voters? Basics not understood or questioned is very problematic.

  14. This thread is ironically amusing. Ms. Gustafson tried to mount a valiant defense, but use of the word “senseless” can hardly be called incendiary in the presence of references to Nazi Germany. However much the Kardashians may horrify Ms. Gustafson, they are not guilty of genocide.

    Let’s not get so caught up in partisan bickering that we lose our perspective and sacrifice our humanity. Comparing fellow citizens to the Gestapo it is not only an inexcusably insulting attack on your neighbors but also a trivialization of true horrors.

    1. Rick,
      You miss my point. Please read my 10/28 post above. What I am saying is simple…we the people are responsible for controlling our government. Failure to do so has resulted in Europe, in Russia, in China, in Armenia, in Nigeria, and many other countries.

      All of there could have been avoided or mitigated if citizens stood up against government excesses. If some one grabs a microphone from my hands…he is certainly of that ilk and I will call him out for his gestapo tactics. Free speech must not be suppressed…you might find it ‘amusing” but I don’t. Regards

      1. OK Ed.

        Can you do us one small favor please. Before you once again compare your neighbors to fascists, communists and mass murderers, would you at least read the “About” tab at the top of this page?

        Or better yet, why don’t we all just vote tomorrow. And if the votes are fairly counted and the winners of the vote are able take their new positions without armed resistance, we can then drop the comparisons to Nazi Germany, Russia, China, Armenia, Nigeria, Vichy France and Tammany Hall.

        Sound fair?

    2. Hi, Rick. Please don’t conflate my comments with others. Renaming a group’s legal name with a pejorative play on names is juvenile and the choice of words is inflammatory. The tactics that some people have used in this town to attack others, marginalize them, discredit them, and make them ‘others’ from the community are reflective of many propaganda techniques used in history.

  15. I find it very interesting that after all the hard work of Sensible Wilton, Marianne, Marissa, Simon, Ed,Patty, etc. over the last couple of years that many people are waking up to the fact that they were correct all the time. They should be center stage this evening. If an opportunistic politician who previously called them liars picks up on what Sensible Wilton discovered first, that’s also okay. These are the true activists who only want honesty and transparency in town.

  16. Oh yes, there it is on the Log of The School Janitorial Services. It seems to say that after the Town meeting had been duly adjourned, the gavel exercised and all the people were leaving, that an elderly gentleman clutched the southwest microphone and evidently thought it was still active and that it could be used to continue the business of the meeting. It was relieved from his grasp by some cooperative citizen so that it could be stored to be used for the next correct and legitimate use. Statute has run on The Log

  17. ENOUGH. Many of you are worse than my children in their worst bickering moments in the way you conduct yourselves on here, and this is exactly what I’m talking about NOT wanting here. on GMW. Please feel free to find another website or outlet to get caught up in calling out one another, to complain about one another’s conduct without objectively examining your own, and to carp about the conspiratorial failures without offering constructive suggestions.

  18. looks like Deborah, Brennan, Dubow are okay with triggering a $2,000,000.00 payment to Turner even though Turner lied about the abatement schedule. check out Town of Wilton video reply and the findings of a person with details…

    1. Heather, I was very surprised to see no coverage from GMW regarding the subsequent 3-2 vote at this past Thursday’s special Board of Selectmen meeting. It was an important and newsworthy meeting for a variety of reasons: A 3-2 vote of the BOS appears to be quite rare; the meeting represents a critical milestone in the chronology of the Miller-Driscoll project; there were many revelations about the project, Turner Construction, and some of the trades that were narrowly approved, including that Turner is not responsible for the safety of the project or for supervising the work to be performed; we heard for the first time since the election from the two incoming members of our BOS, including First Selectman-Elect Vanderslice; Michael Kaelin stated that he supports Sensible Wilton, something that definitely would have made headlines even two weeks ago; and, there were many other memorable lines, comments, and story lines. GMW, which blogged the July 2015 Sensible Wilton v. Board of Selectmen hearing and has covered virtually every blow by blow relating to the project, easily could devote a week of coverage to the meeting, and yet there is no mention at all that the meeting even occurred. It is especially difficult for me to understand GMW’s lack of coverage given that GMW did report on the Monday BOS meeting at which the BOS called Thursday’s meeting. Can you please explain why GMW still has not published even a word on Thursday’s meeting?

      1. Thanks Simon, for inquiring. As some may or may not know, I’m mostly a one-person operation. And human. I spent an enormous amount of personal energy and time covering the elections, almost 24/7. I’m trying to cover as much around town as I can. I’ve got about 2,000 words written so far about the meeting, which I watched and recorded at home. As I typically do, and did quite a lot during election season, I tend to stay up around the clock to report next day on a meeting. That Thursday meeting was actually depressing to watch! I want to give it the right kind of coverage and review, and that’s taking me some more time than is usual. I appreciate your patience. I’ve also got other controversial topics brewing at the moment. But it’s something I’m going to write about.

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