Jon Pelto emailed my mother at work. The email was received by her boss and parents at the school where she works. If this isn’t crossing the line, I don’t know what is.
In addition to tracking down my mother’s place of employment, Pelto also felt the need to contact my father through his Linkedin account and post publicly on both parents’ Facebook pages.
Pelto’s first public post on my Facebook page seemed pretty clear. You said you would never “attack my family,” because “it’s the lowest form of bullying and abuse.”
Yet scouring the internet for my parent’s social media accounts, finding their place of employment and sending them multiple messages and emails to “tell on me” must not be harassment or bullying.
In Jon Pelto’s mind, stalking my family is completely reasonable behavior?
Further, he mentions in his messages that he’s received “more than a dozen” calls and emails asking him if he is “taking some legal action to protect himself.”
Let me get this straight: He compiled personal details of my life into a 1,400 word post which he then published on my public Facebook page, responds to being called out on this bizarre behavior by contacting my parents, and he’s the one who needs protecting?
Here is the message Pelto sent to my parents:
Mrs. DeSombre, I hope I’m writing to the correct person. My name is Jonathan Pelto and I posted a message to your Facebook page and that of your husbands. I also upgraded my Linkedin account so I could contact him that way and now I’m taking a shot in the dark in the hopes that I am writing to the correct person.
I live in Connecticut and here is the letter I’ve been trying to find a way to send you about a recent interaction with your daughter Megan.
Mr. and Mrs. DeSombre,
I’m so sorry to bother you but I’m taking the liberty of contacting you in the hope that you can help resolve a situation that has developed here in Connecticut. Your daughter Megan posted on her blog last that she believes that I am trying to intimidate, stalk or threaten her. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a father of two daughters, twenty years old and fourteen yours old, I would be extremely concerned if one of my daughters reported such a development and would do everything in my power to put a stop to the perpetrator.
I will forward you the letter I sent Megan after reading her numerous attacks on me and the references she made to my private life and to my daughters.
I assure you there was absolutely no ill intent on my part what-so-ever. I honestly don’t understand her hostility toward me considering I am one of the most liberal politicians (or former politicians) in Connecticut and have devoted my life to fighting for those who need an deserve a stronger voice.
While I recognize that people can have different opinions on the issues surrounding public education, I can’t for the life of me understand why Megan feels to the need to attack and trivialize me for working to promote teachers and public education in my home state.
Megan’s latest post is mean-spirited, hateful and uncalled for. I’ve received more than a dozen emails or calls urging me to be careful about her and asking if I am taking some legal action to protect myself.
I truly believe in the right of free speech and she is entitled so say what she wants want I certainly wish she would take the post down.
But far more importantly I want you – her parents – to know that I had absolutely no intention of threatening her in any way.
It is sad what has become of American politics.
This is the actual letter I wrote to Megan. As you can see from her post she took a few lines so out of context as to make me appear to be some type of monster.
Megan DeSombre, We’ve never met, in fact, we’ve never even talked or to my knowledge been in the same room. I hope someday soon we’ll get a chance to meet and speak.
I’d sure we’d have a lot to talk about. I noticed that you did an internship with Jon Trickett, member of the British House of Commons. Whoever is feeding you information about me probably didn’t tell you that long before you were born, in 1979; I had the honor of working for Robert Jackson in the first European Parliamentary elections. I was 18 at the time. At the time, the Labour Party actually opposed the plan for England to join the European Union so they only way to work on the creation of the European Union was to work on with the Conservative Party who supported it. It was an incredible experience. In 1983 Jackson went on to win a seat in the British Parliament. As the Conservatives moved to their present Neo-conservative approach, Jackson led revolt from the progressive wing of the Party and when that failed, in a dramatic move that garnered attention across Britain, he gave up all of his seniority and become a member of the Labour Party. Since his district was very much a Conservative Party bastion he was forced to give up his seat the following year.
I also not that you are a Rennie and like the New York Ren Faire. Perhaps we’ve walked by each other on multiple occasions. The daughters you degraded in one of your posts have been very active in Ren Faires since they were little children. For ten years we were one of the most popular vendors at the CT Ren Faire and other Fairs around New England. We were known far and wide as the toy sellers.
And last, but certainly not least, I read about how much you enjoyed your semester abroad in London. As a junior in college, my oldest leaves next week for London for her semester abroad.
I’m have to say I’m a bit taken aback and bemused by your tone and accusations about me, particularly as it applies to describing my moral standing and intentions.
I saw that in recent posts you’ve called me the “The King of the Land-of-Make-Believe,” that “It’s clear that Pelto doesn’t have much of a heart or a conscience, or the courage to actually try to create a better future for children in Hartford, miles away from his secluded, wooded home,” that I’m a “yellow journalist,” and “a cowardly, washed-up politician.” You said that “Jon Pelto is not a teacher. He’s not a principal. He’s not an office assistant or paraprofessional. Pelto was a state legislator back in the early ’90s. Remember when “The Cosby Show” was on network television? That’s when Jon Pelto was relevant.” And you say, “Jonathan Pelto — an out-of-work politician-turned-blogger, resident of a pricey secluded home in a largely white and well-off suburb.”
To back up your claims you cite a few examples, including
“A few weeks ago, when ol’ Jonny boy was putting the Pelto on Paul Vallas — another hard-working, innovative educator like Perry — he said the “cost for [Vallas’] type of plan would be expected to run about $10,000 – $12,000” to pay through June.
How did he arrive at that figure? What algorithm did the not-quite-doctor Pelto use to come up with such a high number? What sources did he speak to? What documents did he uncover?
The Connecticut Post reported that it actually would only cost the district $1,700.”
Pelto doesn’t like Paul Vallas so he makes up how much the superintendent’s health care will cost.
In fact, as I explained my post, that cost must be the monthly rate, not the total. $1,700 time Feb, March, April, May, June and July = $10,200. Perhaps we could call the Bridgeport Board of Education to confirm. If I’m wrong I will certainly apologize and correct my blog.
Second you also add:
And even more idiotic, Pelto doesn’t like Steve Perry so he makes up how much Perry’s Tweets cost the district.
As a public service, will somebody please let Pelto know that Twitter is free? Eh, don’t bother. Pelto doesn’t care about facts anyway.
As you know, having read my post that I arrived at that figure by noting that Perry has Tweeted about 33,000 Tweets. I review indicates about half of those were sent during school hours. While Twitter is free, the time we pay him to work is not. A conservative calculation based on his salary and the number of Tweets translated to about $12,500 in public funds that he was paid when he was Tweeting instead of working. A number of those Tweets were to promote his private business which means that activity was actually illegal.
I’ll be happy share the “algorithm” and you can modify it all you want but the bottom line is tax payers have paid Mr. Perry a significant amount of money for work hours that were devoted instead to Tweeting.
While I recognize that you haven’t spent that much time in Connecticut, leaving New Jersey after the May 17th graduation at your school and starting your Bridgeport blog only three weeks later, it seems like your allies are providing you with a pretty limited picture of my background.
Considering I’m 53 old, I’ve been active in politics and government for a very long time. I spent nearly 5 years learning the ropes as Chris Dodd’s errand boy and campaign youth coordinator when Dodd was still a Congressman from 1975-1980. I was #2 in Sam Gejdenson’s historic primary and General Election in 1980 when, as the most liberal candidate in the field, he came from 5th place to win in the Regan landslide of 1980. In 1981 I become the youngest Democratic Town Chairman in Connecticut history, serving in that position for 6 years. I worked on multiple campaigns at the federal, state and local level including working in Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign. From 1986-1992 I served as the Political Director for the Democratic Party, a time we developed the first computer-based voter contact system in the state.
When I left the General Assembly, I had one of the highest AFL-CIO labor ratings of any legislators and had a 100% voting record with all the liberal and progressive advocacy groups.
From 1993 – 2010, I developed Connecticut’s first stand-alone grassroots lobbying firm with the vast majority of my clients being from the progressive side of the Party and political debate.
While my company was very successful, in 2011 I decided I wanted to try something new and began my blog as part of a broad effort to learn about how to use social media as an effective organization tool.
I honestly believe and can certainly explain why, in my opinion, I am taking the more liberal and progressive side in the education reform debate.
Finally, to suggest that I don’t care about the children of Connecticut is beyond insulting. Ask your sources to explain my role in the Education Enhancement Act and the development of the Education Cost Sharing formula (before it was corrupted by the Republicans and conservative Democrats). Also for ten years in the Legislature and 15 years through my company Impact Strategies Inc., I led or coordinated numerous efforts to increase funding for our public institutions of higher education and especially our community colleges. From a policy standpoint, my professional life’s work has been to support and increase opportunities for children to have a public education system that provides them with the knowledge and tools to succeed in this increasing complex world.
Your suggestion that I don’t understand or oppose educational opportunities is beyond insulting.
Finally, of all the bad developments in American politics over the past fifty years is the belief that an individual’s family and private life are fair game for political attacks. If you feel the need to attack my politics that is your right, but your references to my children is beyond the pale.
In a recent post you said “shame on you” – meaning me – I’ll tell you – no matter what you say about me, I would never, ever attack your family or your private life.
Despite it being a common strategy in today’s political world, there is no lower form of bullying and abuse.
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