Letter: 'Trumbull Talks' isn't letting all of Trumbull talk

To the Editor:

Last week, First Selectman Tim Herbst started his own Facebook page, “Trumbull Talks.” He wrote on another Facebook page, Keep Trumbull Real, that, “I want to have constructive dialogue with Trumbullites of different backgrounds and party affiliations to have positive and thoughtful discussion about the issues facing Trumbull. That is why I have created a new Facebook Group Page called Trumbull Talks. I hope those interested in thoughtful dialogue will join.”

Well that’s all fine, I suppose. Except that then he called Keep Trumbull Real a “cesspool” on his new page. So much for “thoughtful and constructive dialogue.” And he said that within an hour or so after launching his new page.

But there’s a bigger question. The state Freedom of Information Commission says Mr. Herbst’s new page is covered under the state FOI law. I tried to join the new Trumbull Talks page twice last week, and was admitted by two different members, and both times I was subsequently removed. It’s apparent that Tim Herbst doesn't want me on his page.

But I’m an elected town official. He’s the first selectman. He’s running a page that is covered under the state FOI laws. And he’s barring elected officials like me from hearing what he has to say. Only favored constituents get to participate in what is under the state FOIA a public forum.

I’m not sure what point Mr. Herbst is trying to make, or why he thinks debate and conversation is advanced by allowing only certain people to participate. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I have never been disrespectful of Mr. Herbst or anyone else in public service, though he has a very low threshold for what he perceives as disrespect. This feels like a high-school-style clique, formed by someone who fears engagement with at least some of his constituents and other elected officials.

Tim Herbst tried to control what art you see. Now he's trying to control who gets to express a political opinion. He even is trying to control who gets to participate. He’s forgetting who he works for. This is not okay. Not in my Trumbull.

Tony Silber