By Daniel J. Chiacchia
This is in response to recent news stories and an editorial about my involvement in the Hamburg Central School Board race.
After last year’s Hamburg School Board election I distanced myself until this past fall, when a small group of parents asked me to join their cause to try to make things right. Since then, I, Ed Piazza and many other concerned citizens have empowered teachers, staff and administrators to fight the wrongdoers and take appropriate action. We constantly call out bad behaviors and stand up for those who have been victimized and bullied. For speaking out, we are routinely subjected to ridicule and defamation on the Internet and otherwise. Even the two candidates I endorse, Tom Flynn and Cameron Hall, are ridiculed and defamed without basis in fact.
It was the educated guess of Hamburg community members that the negative faction of the Hamburg School Board would not go without a candidate in this election. And on April 2, Kevin Steffan showed up at his first Hamburg School Board meeting and spoke at public expression. After the meeting he did not speak with those board members who are known to the community to be forces for good; instead, he spoke with Sally Stephenson, Catherine Schrauth-Forcucci and Holly Balaya, the three people who nearly 1,500 Hamburg residents have indicated (via petition to State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.) that they want removed from office.
Not only that, of the six candidates who submitted election petitions, Steffan has the only petitions with the supporting signatures of Stephenson, Balaya and Schrauth-Forcucci. One would have to ask: If you’re not affiliated with these people why would you want their support?
Before people try to tarnish my reputation, they should know all the facts. Chuck Mahoney is a friend, ally and collaborator of Sally Stephenson. After Steffan spoke on April 2, Board President Dave Yoviene started telling all who would listen that he was introduced to Steffan by Mahoney. On April 9, I did a simple Facebook post that says Steffan may be affiliated with this group; nothing else was ever said again on the Internet or otherwise about it.
People need thick skin to be involved in our school district. You can’t waver on your convictions. You cannot get emotional and quit when the going gets tough. How would this candidate react if his character and family were constantly defamed? Will he fold his tent again?
I will continue to speak my mind and do what I think is right for the benefit of the district. So far I think the majority of the community knows that I have good intentions with no agendas. I have devoted hundreds of hours to this cause without any compensation whatsoever.
Daniel J. Chiacchia is a lawyer and parent in the Hamburg Central School District.