Letter: Dem chair protests communication from zoning board

To the editor:

It is important for Southington residents to be kept aware of the actions of Southington’s elected officials, not just when they are before us at a public meeting, but when they communicate with us and with each other. This is especially true when they are preparing for a vote on a controversial issue.

Few issues have stood out as much as that of Bradley Hospital and the future of health care facilities in our town. Those of you who are familiar with the issue know that Bonnie Sica has stepped up to take the leadership role with the Community Committee to Save Bradley.

When she found out that the Planning and Zoning Commission was going to consider a proposal to place an urgent care facility on Queen Street, she wanted her voice to be heard. She sent an email, which she has shared with me, to Michael DelSanto, Chair of the PZC. It set forth her arguments against approval, and the official position of her group.  In it, she specifically asked Michael to share her email with the other members of the Planning and Zoning Commission. They were entitled to know the group’s position before voting and the Community Committee to Save Bradley deserved to have its position shared.

Mr. DelSanto failed to share Bonnie Sica’s email prior to the meeting.  I’ve spoken with all of the Democrats on the PZC, and none of them received it from Mr. DelSanto or from anyone else prior to the meeting. What could explain this?  Why did Mr. DelSanto choose to keep this email from fellow commission members?

But that’s not all.  When Ms. Sica heard about the decision to approve, and the fact that her email had not been shared, she sent another email to the members of the PZC complaining about her unfair treatment. Steven Kalkowski, PZC member, responded to her complaint with an email of his own, which Ms. Sica has shared with me and given permission to share it. In it, he stated that he was “appalled” at the contents of Ms. Sica’s email, and asked Ms. Sica, “Who the hell do you think you are?” His email also said that she had significantly damaged her relationship with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Until Ms. Sica shared that email with me, I would never have expected an elected Southington official to use language such as “Who the hell do you think you are?” with a resident. Steve Kalkowski should know who she is.  Ms. Sica is an adult, active voting member of our community who deserves not to be addressed in that way. And to tell her that she has damaged her relationship with the PZC by complaining about its actions? Is that the message Mr. Kalkowski wants to send to the community? Then he makes the threat of going public with her statements, as though she were the one acting out of line!

Brian Callahan is my counterpart in the Republican party. He’s the Southington Town Committee Chair.  I know Brian, and I like and respect him.   I don’t know how he is handling the appalling behavior of the two Republican PZC members, but I hope he asks for an explanation and demands, at the very least, that they give an apology not only to Ms. Sica, but the entire town of Southington.

We cannot tolerate a situation in which residents who show any opposition on an issue continue to be threatened by their elected officials. Bonnie Sica and her group are fighting hard to save our hospital and they deserve better than this. We all do.

If Mr. DelSanto and Mr. Kalkowski do not give Ms. Sica an apology for their actions, we will certainly have something to remember.

Edward M. Rosenblatt

Southington Democratic Town Committee Chair

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