Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Brickload Explodes

Public Record Of The Day

Lady Brickload Of Lady Brickload And The Pretenders,
aka Lynne Brickley

Leo Paul [first selectman, town of Litchfield]

Cc: Martha Bernstein, Ernie Bunnell, Bill Dranginis [members, board of selectmen], Wendy Kuhne [chair, Historic District Commission]

Subject: Andy Thibault

November 20, 2007


Please go to and then click on "Authentic Connecticut Republican."

Click on illustration and see a photo of a Nazi woman labeled "Wendy Kuhne."

This is the most vicious of Andy Thibault's continual dissemination of bigoted, hateful blogs about people and events in Litchfield. I was his victim during the Chandler Saint mess, but that was mild compared to this. Wendy is Jewish and portraying her in a porn-like Nazi photo is too much for all of us to let happen without comment. This type of attack is hurtful and only damages the whole town.

I would like to request that at your next BOS meeting, as a Republican, you will comment against this "Republican's" blog and against Andy Thibault for disseminating it. No one in Litchfield, including the Lubavitch gain by this kind of vile attack. People should know Andy is behind this and make him take a public stand to support his actions. He has gotten away [sic] these vicious attacks for far too long. His writings stir up national press coverage on Litchfield, always making the whole town look bad.

Do we want Andy Thibault to be the public voice for Litchfield? I hope you will speak out about this bigotry and general meanness of spirit not being acceptable.

Thank you, Lynne Brickley

Editor's Note:

As I told The Litchfield County Times this week, the photo is not actually on my blog. But, my blog links to a site called Authentic Connecticut Republican that posted it.

For Kuhne and other officials who have a history of violating or threatening property rights and wasting taxpayer money, certainly a little parody is not out of line.

Journalists interested in a really good story -- which will require some research -- ought to examine the legal bills generated by the Historic District Commission over the past 10 or 15 years and talk with property owners who have been harassed by the commission.

Further, it is noteworthy that the Star of David on the Methodist Church nearby the new synagogue never bothered anyone, but the Star of David at the synagogue was made an issue by Kuhne.

Finally, Brickload would do well to go back to elementary school for study of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Andy Thibault
p.s. Keep those cards and letters coming.

From Law & Justice In Everyday Life
Chapter 9
Interesting People I Have Met

Lady Brickload And The Pretenders

Up the road a ways from the Litchfield town green, about 190 years ago, there lived a precocious and free-thinking girl who would make history.

She grew up to write the first American protest novel. "She is as odd as she is intelligent and studious," wrote her father, the renowned preacher, Lyman Beecher. "I would give a hundred dollars if she was a boy ..."

Harriet Beecher was 11 years old. Today, control over the legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe is fought on a fierce battleground; it's a mini civil war in a small New England town governed by town meeting. The combatants reveal the underside of small town politics. Money, influence and government by whisper of the Power Elite are lined up on one side against an upstart band of preservationists.

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," shocked the reading public with its portrayal of Negroes as intelligent and caring individuals. Worse than that, the book dramatized damage done by slavery to souls of masters. It also sold an unprecedented 10,000 copies during its first week of publication, maintaining a solid pace with 300,000 sales by the end of 1852. In the entire 19th century, only the Bible sold more copies. Upon meeting Stowe, President Lincoln said, "So this is the little lady who made this big war."

"She spoke for motherhood and the flag and apple pie, but made her readers uncomfortable eating that pie unless others were eating it too," wrote Stowe's biographer, Joan Hedrick of Trinity College. This message is too much for some to take.

Stowe's childhood house, used for many years as a dormitory at a private school, was slated for demolition last year. The local Historical Society and anyone who pretended to be interested in history missed the opportunity of a lifetime to buy the Beecher House for $1. An antiques dealer and restorer stepped forward to fill the breach.

He meticulously dismantled and preserved the structure, earning tributes from experts in the field. But alas, he was a newcomer, and not on anyone's A-List of the socially acceptable. In an unintended tribute to George Orwell, prominent keepers of taste would use Historic District regulations to try to keep the house out of the center of town. Now they are spitting bullets and blood because Chandler Saint is not part of their tribe, he does not welcome busybodies, he does not kow-tow.

Leading the charge against Saint is Lynne Brickley of the Litchfield Historical Society and Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust. Brickley denies "sour grapes" on behalf of the society, but says: "It should be turned over to an impartial group of professional experts who would determine how the house would best be used." Translation: Power To My People; We Can Still Get It Back; Never Mind His Property Rights. The Hartford Courant calls Brickley a "Grande Dame." Saint's supporters call her "Lady Brickload."

Push came to shove this month when a Superior Court judge granted intervenor status to supporters of Saint's lawsuit against the board of selectmen. Selectmen had denied a petition for a town meeting. The town's legal counsel said the petition -- a proposal to acquire town land -- was legitimate. "I'm not sure they say that now, though," First Selectman Jerry Zinn told me. The town meeting, however, was a legitimate device when it acquired the land in question.

Officials also seem to forget that they don't own the land -- citizens own it. Another lawsuit looms, this one a civil rights action in federal court over denial of voter rights. After the petition was denied, Zinn was reported to have said, "We really stuck it to 'em."

"A lot of things are going around," Zinn said. "I don't know. It's not something I would have normally said."

Black Santa: Back Of The Bus

Symbols are important. Santa Claus, statues of military heroes, Columbus -- they all say something about the values of our society.

The day Black Santa came to virtually all-white Litchfield, values and fears were played out in a most curious way. It all started when Paul Mordecai Rosenberg, a self-described Jewish atheist, brought a plastic, three-foot-high, black Santa Claus to town hall. Rosenberg said he was giving the town a chance to show it was not bigoted. Top officials had been under fire because they refused to allow a town meeting on a proposal that would honor the great abolitionist and best-selling author of the 19th century, Litchfield's own Harriet Beecher Stowe. There seemed to be a methodical attempt in town to downplay Stowe. Stowe was rarely, if ever, honored by the local historical society or town officials. Some owners of the big mansions talked openly about the prospect of declining property values should the Stowe house be restored in a prime downtown location. Others whispered and trembled at the possibility that busloads of black kids would be coming to town to see the childhood home of the woman who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

For two days, Black Santa sat happily under a Christmas tree. Then he disappeared.

It seems a few people were quite upset. "Everyone knows Jesus was white," one town official was reported to have said.

Someone handed First Selectman Jerry Zinn a memo complaining that this Santa was, well, "inappropriate." No one ever explained how or why.

And so Black Santa stayed tucked away in the back of Jerry Zinn's office for Christmas. Connecticut's TV stations came to see. Even CNN ran a story. Zinn said he liked being on TV.

I asked Zinn for a copy of the memo. He told others he tore it up.

Because this memo -- from one town employee to another -- was a public record, I asked Zinn to produce it or reconstruct it in accordance with Connecticut's Freedom of Information law. The FOI Commission advised me that destruction of public records is a serious criminal offense, a Class A misdemeanor, Sec. 1-240, and that the State's Attorney should be informed. Penalties include fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. The State's Attorney's office advised me to report such an incident to the state police, and I did.

I also asked Town Assessor Harold Doucey if he had written the memo or if it came from his computer. Doucey responded, "I don't know the source of it. It could have been computer-generated. It didn't come from my computer." When Doucey was told by a citizen that Zinn had given him up to others as the author of the memo, Doucey stated, "I believe in putting everything in writing."

Tourism is the top priority in Litchfield's plan of development. Some communities would be proud to have the Stowe House. How can this Board of Selectmen turn their backs on a no-brainer?

"It would be nice," said Dorothea DiCecco, a University of Connecticut biology professor and a local proponent of the Beecher House, "to show the world that Litchfield is not racist, that Litchfield welcomes everyone."

DiCecco is right. It would be a shame to let Litchfield get away with this.

  • Find the Book:
    Law & Justice In Everyday Life by Andy Thibault at

    Barnes & Noble


  • Hysterical Leader Kuhne Bows Out

  • Notes From A Reader Re; Brickload Photo Analysis


    Unknown said...

    andy andy andy there you go being NAUGHTY again!

    (careful sounds like the load o' bricks wants to have you tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail)

    Don Pesci said...

    Maybe a little corn plaster might help the complaintant. It's always important in these matter to know who stepped on who's foot first. However sharp his metaphors, Mr. Thibault at least did not seek to rob anyone on the Historic Commission of the use of their property. Who controls the use of property controls the property; that ought always to be the property owner. The jews in Litchfield are not going to make a bomb factory in their temple. They have not come to kill Ceasar, but to pray for him.

    Anonymous said...

    The other comment I would make is that the governance of historic districts in Connecticut is awful. Frequently, they make determinations using highly subjective standards.

    Often, the commissions are populated with historians but have no architects appointed to them. Because of that, there is often a tendency to attempt to hermetically preserve the streetscape.

    What architects bring to the table is a sense of dynamic tradition that few people understand.

    Ultimately, the historic districts are a tax game, as much as anything. There are massive tax credits associated with living in a historic district in part to offset the regulatory burden.

    Connecticut Man1 said...

    I think my "Blackwater Rebrands Itself" parody from a little over a month ago (and highly appropriate given the historical context) would likely make her wig out. Just don't tell her you are linked to my Blog too!

    I won't link to the post because I do not want to get you in more trouble. Though, I will say that a couple of people that thought it might be borderline offensive understood clearly the significance of the historical context.

    Anonymous said...

    You're my hero Andy and so humble too. How come you never announced that the people of Litchfield had surrendered thier 1st Amendment rights to you, and the townspeople offical spokesperson and solitary voice. If you continue on with this kind of civil discourse, you may end up taking over the world.