Shandaken supervisor candidate warns foes against family attacks

By Jay Braman Jr.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the Town of Shandaken that the political atmosphere is hostile. Long known as the wild west of the Catskills, this community has a history of tumultuous election campaigns and volatile government sessions.
But, for Councilman Robert Stanley, who is running for the office of supervisor this year, a line has been crossed.
Speaking at a scheduled candidates’ forum on Saturday, Stanley lost his temper during his response to the question forum moderator Cindy Bell asked all town board candidates. Bell wanted to know how they would mend the great political divide and asked, “What would you do to improve the quality of civil discourse in town?”
Appearing to try and choose his words carefully, Stanley, who has two children who attend Onteora Central School, admitted to being a bit off balance because he had to dispel an ugly rumor about his children just prior to the forum to a constituent who had called his home. “I’ll tell you that I’m a little shaken up today,” he said.
Growing more and more upset, Stanley said the political vibe in town has become “horrendous.”
While he did not reveal the specifics of the rumors, Stanley warned those who are spreading them to lay off.
“When you’re attacking my family and my kids with vicious, vicious rumors, I won’t stand for it,” he shouted. “Nasty personal attacks do nothing.”
Calming down, he said that he can bear the brunt of whatever is thrown at him on his own shoulders but his family should be left out of the debate. He urged listeners to remember that the one thing they all have in common with him is “we all live in Shandaken.”
His opponent, incumbent Peter DiSclafani, said he felt the campaign season this year has actually been a calm one for the most part.
“But some people do get emotional and some people go beyond what is common decency and that’s unfortunate,” he added.