An October surprise

Oct 19, 2022

A quick newsletter about a sad turn of events – an October surprise if you will.  It’s loathsome, but I wanted you to hear about it from me before you were surprised by something in the paper.

Why I’m writing

Last Wednesday, my town council colleague Jessica Chambers sent a long memo to the rest of the council and some senior town staff.  Entitled “Memo for the public record Schechter,” it was 4.5 pages of innuendo, falsehoods, hearsay, and ill-will about me.

To the best of my knowledge, no one knew it was coming.  Shortly thereafter, though, it reached the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

The next night, she sent a similarly-themed email to the leadership of the Teton County Democratic Party.  I don’t know if the paper received a copy.

Because there will likely be a story about this in tomorrow’s (October 19’s) News&Guide, here’s what I shared with the paper:

The recent slew of emails is the latest installment in Councilmember Chambers’ years-long effort to force me out of the office to which I was elected.

I am proud of my 30+ year record of service to the Jackson Hole community: personally, professionally, and as an elected official.  Going forward, I will continue to focus my time and attention where they should be – on bringing the community together, and working with all those interested in making Jackson Hole a better place for us all, both now and in the future.

I don’t believe Jackson voters want to see our community and its government debased by the politics of personal destruction.  Instead, I believe we are a community committed to civility, a place laser-focused on the serious issues confronting us – from a lack of affordable housing to a rapidly changing economy; from transportation challenges to imperiled water quality.  My goal is to work together to sustain what matters, and I welcome the support of all those who share that goal.

Today, I learned the story may focus on Charture, the 501(c)3 I run.  If so, it will likely include allegations made about an ad in a 2018 journal I published called Mosaic.

Here’s what I shared with the paper on that matter:

In 2018, I published Mosaic.  I did this because I was no longer collaborating with the News&Guide, and a number of people were urging me to focus a publication on the area’s environment.

Mosaic was funded by 1% for the Tetons, and every ad in it highlighted a 1% member.  This included Jim Roscoe, who was running for the Wyoming House.  When another candidate for office asked me about an ad, I told him all he needed to do was be a 1% member.  He demurred.

I felt I was meeting IRS rules.  Until last week, no one has ever suggested otherwise.

Other than that, I will not dignify the political attacks levied against me.

How the paper will handle the story is something we’ll find out Wednesday.

My read of the situation

This is just the latest effort in Chambers’ ongoing campaign against me.  Many of you will remember she asked me to resign my town council seat in July 2020, subsequently providing the News&Guide with our email exchange about my non-resignation.  I don’t understand why the paper found this newsworthy, but it did, publishing a front-page story to the effect of “Schechter not resigning.”

She’s pulled similar shenanigans – with even uglier undertones – against town councilor Jim Rooks and former Mayor Sara Flitner.  In their cases, her public attacks went beyond the mere political to the Politics of Personal Destruction.  That’s where I’ve found myself in the last few days.

I have faith in Jackson’s voters.  They’re smart and will see through Chambers’ desperate attempt to help the campaign of her good friend, Devon Viehman.

I want to win, but that’s not why I hope Chambers’ effort fails.  It’s because the Politics of Personal Destruction is dark, ugly, and corrosive.  It leads to dysfunctional government and an angry, fearful populace.  It threatens to replace our sense of community with a culture of tribalism.

That’s not who Jackson Hole is, and that’s why I believe voters will reject the Politics of Personal Destruction.

What can you do?

If the spirit moves you, please consider any or all of these:

  • Join my list of supporters
    • If the link doesn’t work, please respond to this newsletter and I’ll take care of it manually
  • Put up a yard sign (we’ll deliver!)
    • Give me a call or respond to this newsletter.
  • Contribute (all donations will go to ads highlighting our supporters and our shared effort to Sustain What Matters.)

Especially now, thank you for your support.  It means the world to me.