Moderator Tells Barron His Behavior "Inappropriate"
The undercard at last night's Debate as the Slate was the County Controller position being sought by long-time Hanover Township Steve Salvesen and incumbent Steve Barron. Although Barron was way ahead on substance, he ended up losing the debate when he decided, unnecessarily to go dark on Salvesen. It actually reached the point that the moderator had to step in and tell him his behavior was "inappropriate."
What's this all about?
Steve Salvesen, although retired from Ingersoll Rand, decided to own and operate two gas stations. It's tough for a little guy to compete against juggernauts like WaWa and Scheetz, and Salvesen soon found that both businesses were in trouble and sold them. As you might have guessed, there were some judgments.
Without even attempting to get Salvesen's side of the story, Jonathan Geeting took information supplied to hm by Democratic operatives and proceeded to do a hatchet job on Patch. In one of the poorest journalistic efforts I've ever seen, until he did the same thing to Simao, Geeting plastered Salvesen's financial woes on the Internet with absoltely no attempt to determine if the information was even true.
Amazingly, Patch paid him to do it, with unchecked information supplied by Democratic operatives.
Last night, Barron was ahead on substance. He's the incumbent, and knows how that office functions a little better than Salvesen. But when Salvesen mentioned Barron's "veiled threat" to T-Mobile, a nonunion company, Barron must have been irritated.
On top of that, Salvesen was ahead on style. He is urbane, well-spoken, and has a deep baritone voice that commands attention.
Now that may be unimportant to you, but the debate was a little too close for Barron. So he decided to muddy him up with the same information that had been provided to Geeting, and accused Salvesen of being unable to balance his own checkbook. But unlike what happened on Patch, this time Salvesen was allowed to answer the charges, and he did.
"I'm not sure, but I've heard rumblings that Mr. Barron is out to get me. He's done a lot of research and through that research, he's found out some personal information. I'm sure that will be in a flyer at everybody's doorstep before Election Day.
"One of the things is that I declared bankruptcy in 2000. What a blog has said is that it's a neat way to avoid paying what's due. But the blogger [Geeting] didn't say, and probably what Mr. Barron doesn't know, is that I didn't proceed with the bankruptcy. I paid all of my debts.
"When you have a business, and I don't know if Mr. Barron has ever had a private business, it sometimes gets very sticky. I owned two gas stations. Not a good time to own gas stations when all the big guys are moving in - WaWa, Scheetz, etc., etc. It was time for me to get out.
"I owed taxes to the IRS. I owed taxes to the state. They were all paid, in full.
"I owe no money to anyone, other than current taxes that are due at the end of this year.
"I'm not sure what he means by my checkbook. I don't have any bounced checks.
"That's my answer."
Unsatisfied with Salvesen's explanation, Barron proceeded to insist that Salvesen did have a bounced check to Jaspar Transmissions for $1,600. "I called Jaspar and they still say you owe them money," accused Barron.
At this point, the moderator stopped the debate.
"I'm going to interject here, Mr. Barron. ... I'm in private business also, and I know there can be a lot of reasons why bills may not be aid because of performance issues on one side or the other. ... I really don't think that was appropriate here because we don't know."
Although the moderator had just told him he was out of line, Barron offered to show his documentation to everyone after the debate.
"I have the documentation if anyone would like to look at it."
After the debate, Salvesen told me that the Jaspar check was fraudulently written by an emplyee, who then tried to cover it up by promising to make the payments. He never authorized the check, and no judgment was ever entered against him. In fact, it's a 2001 lawsuit that was never pursued. In other words, it's a bullshit charge.
Another distinguished person who Barron attempted to smear is County Executive John Stoffa. According to Barron, the Executive told him at lunch one day to stay mum on the asbestos problem because it might have an impact on the sale of Gracedale.
Unfortunately, Stoffa was not at the debate. But his first concern has always been the safety and welfare of the people who work for the County, so I find this accusation highly improbable.