The Haddam Land Swap and Its Effect on Elections

If a candidate supports or opposes controversial issues like the Haddam Land Swap, does it greatly impact election outcomes?

The controversial land swap in Haddam, which made international news thanks to the , would exchange the state-owned 17 acres overlooking the Connecticut River with forest land owned by a , property that abuts the Cockaponset State Forest across town in Higganum.

During the contentious debate over this issue several local and state officials took a stand on legislation that cleared the way for the land swap, a bill that was eventually passed by the state legislature and signed into by the governor. Others declined making a public statement on the issue.

Several organizations and groups of private citizens have banded together to try and stop the swap in any way they can. Various tactics have included , and attempting to garner support from electoral candidates in exchange for backing them for office.

Recently, Citizens for the Protection of Public Lands (CPPL) issued a monthly that detailed which local candidates they were willing to endorse based on the candidates' stand on the land swap.

But, did those tactics work? In what way did the opinion of the local candidates on the land swap issue impact the voters’ decisions at the polls, if at all?

In East Haddam, first selectman candidate Rob Smith (D), has been a huge driving force and vocal opponent of the swap. Yet, he was overwhelmingly defeated at the  Tuesday incumbent First Selectman Mark Walter, who initially appeared to support the land swap.

Walter, made waves with local swap opponents when he in a legislative committee earlier this year in support of the land swap proponents’ efforts to improve Tylerville. He later clarified his position, however, and said his testimony was not intended to support the land swap itself, but rather the economic development that could generate additional tourism in the region. Was Walter’s stance on the issue made clear to the voters?

In Haddam, Repubicaln First Selectman Paul J. DeStefano, came under fire when he publicly supported the land swap. DeStefano’s opponent in Tuesday’s election, Democrat , took no public stand on the issue. Still, DeStefano swept the election.

State Sen. Eileen M. , a prominent and longtime Senate Democrat who proposed the land swap, has staunchy defended the proposal and has drawn the wrath of environmental groups across the state, groups that historically have been on friendly terms with Daily. State Rep. Phil  , D-Essex, has vehemently opposed the swap, closely aligning himself with opposition groups. Those positions could have serious implications for both politicians if and when they seek re-election.

What do you think?

Gene Bartholomew November 11, 2011 at 11:40 PM
yes Joe, I hate people from out of town, well certain ones, that move here and want to make it just like NY or whereevr it is they came from did anyone ever tell you that you exhibit One Dimensional Thinking??
Gene Bartholomew November 11, 2011 at 11:43 PM
It's over?? well then goodnight Irene
Joe anybody November 12, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Goodnight pretend environmentalists.
Sunshine November 12, 2011 at 10:37 AM
to Joe Anybody, You are boring repeating the same thing over and over. This makes many people think that perhaps you are a mental patient (or should be). Take a hint from Gene, he says the same thing over and over but uses different words. As a result, he is somewhat entertaining and although he is obviously obsessed, he won't be committed anytime soon.
Gene Bartholomew November 12, 2011 at 03:03 PM
thank you Sunshine, I work very hard at being entertaining, to make people think outside the box they have created for themselves, I have a problem with injustice and mis-use of my tax dollars, whether they be local, state or federal.
Henry November 14, 2011 at 01:26 AM
Why do I see a comment on the home page on this article by Dental Assistant 15 but it doesn't show up on this chain? Being a long long long time conservationist, most likely longer than anyone writing here but maybe not, why do you want the 87 acres developed? What is it that you don't like about that property that you want those trees cut down and roads cut in? Have you analyzed this area of the river? We have a bridge accross, a concrete parking lot with jersey barriers and buildings on the Haddam side, just to the concrete parking lot's south are a row of houses right on the water, south of that is a Marina, on Haddam's side north of the bridge is another marina, forget the East Haddam side, we've got a restaurant right on the water, a concrete parking lot south of the restaurant, an airport, not too far north we have CY and you are worried about a few buildings that will be about a 1/4 mile away from the river? Please pick your battles, put your efforts on getting the CY property conserved. That property is extraordinarily valuable to conservation to connect already conserved land and U.S. Fish and Wildlife land, its 400 acres on the water not 17 off the water, it is beautiful land abutting the salmon river. Please put your efforts into something worth winning. Nothing built on this 17 acres could possibly be worse than what is already built directly on the water in the same area and much better than what would be put up on the 87 acres.
Ahhh November 15, 2011 at 02:33 PM
I totally agree Henry! Yes, Melissa, I don't doubt your sincerity, but people like Gene and many against the Swap take it too far. This town has been made ugly by the likes of Bondi, Schwing, the Democratic Town Committee, all of whom assign the worst motives to those that disagree with them. We have to find a more civil way to discourse.
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM
You keep missing the point. It's not about Haddam or freekin East Haddam. It is about breaking the law. The funds used to purchase the land by the State were Conservation funds that have legal stipulations on them to PREVENT corruption and misuse of funds that are intended only for the purpose of purchasing land that is to be preserved forever. It is legal and binding, if anyone like DEEP or the State of Ct breaks that they are breaking the law, Federal Law. I bought this information to a real estate attorney and they assured me this could not pass, BUT IT DID!! Now whether anyone from any Justice Dept or the FBI etc does anything about is another matter, the Justice Dept was decimated by W and is still useless as far as I can see. It also sets a legal precedent that other developers in Ct and elsewhere in the United States could follow and argue in Court that they too have the right to public lands. It's not about you, quick turn around, see, the universe does not revolve around you or your little town. But the actions you take, don't take or allow, could affect many others in the nation. SO just how do YOU define "taking it too far"?? This has been knocked several times simply based on the facts I have stated, now that we seem to once again have a completely corrupt Hartford and corporate cronies installed everywhere the attitude that "anything that is good for business is good" once again prevails and once again completely bass ackwards.
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 02:55 PM
That is why I say if it is such a just and great thing, and it will create hundreds if not thousands of jobs let them go to a bank and get a loan and buy it, put those funds back into the Conservation Fund that they were removed from. Why does it have to be given to them?, and please, spare me the "they're going to trade 87 acres bit", because they're not, I seem to be the only left around with Yankee Blood. The deed with the State states " the State of Ct will trade all of the 17 acres in exchange with all or part of the 87 owned by Riverhouse" all or part?? why would it say that?? answer that one question, why would it say that?? for the same reason that the deed to the State for the 17 acres states that it "should" remain as open space and now they claim it is open to interpretation. get it, eyes wide open now???
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 02:57 PM
and who is Daily or anyone else to decide that a piece land that may be worth a few hundred thousand at best is equal to a parcel that we paid millions for and is now worth more???
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM
slam dunk
Ahhh November 15, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Gene, you're a good example why voters find the Stop the Swap people so alienating, even if we'd want to otherwise agree. You do your cause a disservice. We need to hear more from the likes of Melissa and less from you. I also have significant issues with the process on this swap-- I think overstating your case to the point of alienating your potential supporters is a terrible thing, and too many in your cause did that.
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 11:07 PM
you're just not intelligent enough to argue against me people amaze me, they really do, like I said just follow the law whats good for Haddam or bad for Haddam does not matter, whats legal matters first and this is illegal, everyone gets in this attitude " I think, I feel" , soooo??? it doesn't matter as far as the decison goes the Conservation groups are waiting to see if it will stop on its own so they can save money on a lawsuit, if it moves forward lawsuits will be filed and that's the way it will be
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 11:09 PM
did you know you have on hell of stutter or stammering problem???, I mean wow, you like repeat your entire statement : )
Gene Bartholomew November 15, 2011 at 11:14 PM
its not my cause, not afiliated with STS or any others at all I don't like people using my tax dollars to increase their empires. especially when they are generally republicans who cry about standing on your own two feet and free markets, while they get free passes on their taxes and free public land
Ahhh November 15, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Gene, do you have no idea how abrasive you appear to be? The legalities of what you are stating are far more complex that you say they are. Slam dunk? Hardly... the intent of the original donation is much less decisive than you make it out to be and the precedent on this is not close to being established. Again, you can make even environmentalists like me want to support the other side.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 12:29 AM
don't care post your real name it is a slam dunk legally without your real name you have NO credibility, you could be anyone, stand by your opinion
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 12:30 AM
oh and by the way state these complexities its cut and dry
EPM43 November 16, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Gene, Believe it or not everything that happens in life is not an act of corruption or a conspiracy. As Ahhh has stated to the normal and logical person you are way over the top.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 12:58 AM
state the complexities or *** off
Ahhh November 16, 2011 at 01:02 AM
The original owner of the land was seeking to sell it to commercial interests initially... he couldn't find a good buyer at a good price, so chose to use his political connections to sell it to the state at a price VERY favorable to him. He didn't care if the land was conserved or not. The language around preserving the land was the standard language used by the state, not the seller's intent.
Skeptic November 16, 2011 at 03:32 AM
Gene: I am with you on opposing the swap and I think the whole thing reeks to high heaven of kickback. Nevertheless, the fact is the language in the deed about conservation is not a restriction on use of the land and no court would treat it as such. You may be onto something with the idea that if federal money was used for conservation the feds might stop the state, but I think it is very naive to hope they will do anything. The only real hope is for Haddam to take the land by eminent domain the minute the state conveys it. That could be done through a town meeting called by petition.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Ahhh think you're full of it, the owner wanted the land conserved ans said so on tv and in print. This is a good lesson to all considering conserving their land, READ the documents carefully, make sure it says MUST, not should or could, politicians are trained to use those words as an escape, just as they did with electric de regulation, they never said it would save us money, they said it could, it should. skeptic, I use Cause & Effect to determine what is what, in CT and DC, everything has a cause and effect, you have to go back and make a timeline. Many people are only using past year history on this. My memory is that the State bought the land to conserve it, now I'm talking about Eagle Landing, but they never put a sign up, then they bought this parcel and added it to Eagle Landing. This land had been eyed by Goodspeed and Riverhouse before all of this and because the state did not give it to them and they couldn't afford it and East Haddam wouldn't give Goodspeed what it wanted they threatened to leave and were then offered 5 million from Middletown to build a theater, Daily stopped it. Now it gets interesting, this parcel then gets removed from Eagle Landing and is placed as part of Clark Wildlife Management Area, so that it is not part of a state park. Then for years they try to transfer it to Goodspeed and Riverhouse, and it gets blocked everytime because it is illegal and some in Hartford knew it and cared. corruption. --- continued
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 02:27 PM
-- As this corrupt adiministration took hold Daily knew she had a chance to get it through, especially with a corporate crony running DEEP. SO the tactics changed, they claimed that Goodspeed had nothing to do with it and sugar coated it with tales of thousands of jobs created and what a boom to local taxes ( not sure how you do that with tax deferrements???), and the stories of pollution which they never specified what pollutants or how Riverhouse is so adept at pollution remediation and a good many people bought into it. But then again a good many people would vote for Perry, Palin, Bachman and eeww Newt, not because they are republican, because they don't do any homework or remember the past. The bottom line is the funds used to purchase the land are Conservation Funds and have legal bindings on them, they cannot be used to purchase land that it is for anything else or is later to be sold, transfered, quit claimed etc etc, it is illegal, whoever in the State was part of this should be wary, they are putting themselves personally on the chopping block, that would involve the people who purchased the property, the people who moved it to Clark, Daily, and the people who are now trying to slide this through.
Jim November 16, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Newt Gingrich?? ..... "because they don't do any homework or remember the past." Do your homework and you'll see your statement is malarkey!!
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Allow me to educate you. Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly. Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family-values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich's relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is. His first marriage, to his former high-school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn't remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery. Gingrich married Marianne months after the divorce. "There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them," he said in the interview. Gingrich resigned from Congress after being reprimanded by the House ethics panel over charges that he used tax-exempt funding to advance his political goals. He had a choice fight the charges and prove his innocence OR resign without prosecution, he resigned, after all the Holier than thou crapola. Although Obama has failed to clean up the mess the Republicans developed from 2000-2008 there is no one currently running in the GOP field that is not a liar, wacko, or psychotic, which is pretty sad because I'm sure there must be some that are a little better.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 05:29 PM
I love the GOP--sarcasm, when all else fails cry like Swaggert and talk about praying
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 07:25 PM
read that again holy boy married his high school geometry teacher, think there was any extra curricular homework after school??? these days she would be investigated for statuory rape both parties are now owned by large corporations, whether you are on the far right or far left you need to start waking up watch this, this is actual FAIR & BALANCED reporting, they nail Pelosi and Boehner wakey wakey little fishies, watch this and learn http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7388130n&tag=segementExtraScroller;housing
Skeptic November 16, 2011 at 08:50 PM
"My memory is that the State bought the land to conserve it, now I'm talking about Eagle Landing, but they never put a sign up, then they bought this parcel and added it to Eagle Landing." The state's purpose when it bought land does not create any kind of legal restriction if it later chooses to sell that land. This swap is wrong, but sometimes the things around a piece of land change, making its original purpose untenable. The golf course at Foxwoods used to be the Lake of Isles Boy Scout Camp. Folks were upset when the camp was sold but the presence of Foxwoods across the street rendered the property unusable as a summer camp. It is unfortunate that there are no restrictions on the Haddam property, but it is what it is, and trying to fight this on the state's and the original seller's intent is a waste of time.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 09:11 PM
yes it does because they purchased the land with Conservation Funds which have restrictions about what that money can be used for, it cannot be used to buy land that you do not intend to conserve and you cannot play the BS of "oh we changed our mind" because they didn't, I believe that they had a land scam going from day 1 that may also include Sunrise, to be held and given to certain people who may do or return certain favors, it is all misuse of taxpayer property and money


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