Finding spots to get signatures can be tough in Shelton

Photo of Brian Gioiele

Gathering signatures for petitions to force a primary to be on the Republican ticket is not easy as it sounds.

Mark Holden, current Board of Education chairman who was left off the Republican Town Committee’s ballot for the November election, tried to get some signatures in front of the Adam’s Hometown Market off Leavenworth Road on Monday, July 29, but was told not in front of that business.

“The manager was waiting for me when I arrived to tell me we couldn’t gather signatures at his store,” said Holden, adding that someone complained in the morning, “probably very soon after (Kate Kutash’s) notice of where we would be went up.

“I was told (store management) couldn’t have us there because our values are not Adam’s’ values. An odd statement since we are all about doing the best we can for our students with whatever resources are available,” added Holden.

An Adam’s Hometown Market representative had no comment about this specific situation, saying only that “company policy is that there is no political soliciting allowed in front of the store.”

Jenna Racz, daughter of Karen Battistelli, present Board of Apportionment & Taxation chair who was left off the Republican ballot, said she was at Adam’s on two separate occasions previously during the week, collecting signatures right at the front door. Battistelli is also seeking signatures to force a primary.

“The same manager gave both my mom and I permission on those separate occasions without incident,” said Racz. “I stood right at the little library against the window for two hours. On the day we and others posted on Facebook that we would be at (Adam’s), someone complained ahead of time about it. The manager was waiting and told Mark Holden that we could not collect signatures in front of Adam’s.”

“In the end the manager called the owner of the complex, at Holden’s urging, and the Adam’s’ manager said we could stand by the liquor store. As a result we got a decreased number of signatures than the previous times we’ve been there because we could not approach a majority of the people visiting the plaza,” said Racz.

Holden and fellow Board of Education members Anne Gaydos and Tom Minotti are petitioning to force a September primary in hopes of earning spots on the Republican ballot for the November election. Democratic Board of Education member Kate Kutash, who was left off the Shelton DTC ballot, has joined the three Republicans in obtaining signatures to force a primary.

“It’s curious but we’ve had three places tell us to move,” said Holden.

One Facebook post alleged that “someone from the mayor’s office” contacted Adam’s Hometown Market management asking that the candidates’ push for signatures on-site be quashed. Mayor Mark Lauretti said no such request was made by his office.

But RTC Chair Anthony Simonetti said he did not and does not know of any others who called Adam’s or Dunkin’ Donuts or any other business to tell it to stop people from collecting signatures.

“Other people must have called to complain,” said Simonetti. “Obviously, the business owner or property owner decided this was too disruptive to customers to allow this on their property. I made no calls to any businesses about this.”