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Anonymous mailer targets council candidate

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - Updated: 10:21 AM


Registered voters in Amsterdam's 4th Ward may have received an anonymous postcard in the mail Monday bashing Common Council candidate Diane Hatzenbuhler.

The postcard, which touts "untruths," according to Hatzenbuhler, encourages recipients to make the "smart choice" and not vote for her in the upcoming election in which she will face incumbent David Dybas.

Hatzenbuhler made it clear Tuesday that she doesn't believe Dybas is responsible for it.

Dybas, a Democrat, said the mailer was "absolutely" not from him nor anyone working on his behalf.

"One thing people need to remember is that they can say anything they want about an elected official," Dybas said. "Unfortunately, that does not accrue to Diane. She is not an elected official. That could be considered libelous."

According to the mailer, Hatzenbuhler, a Republican, only "shows support when and if it means something against her desires, has spoken little about good ideas for Amsterdam moving forward, but volumes of criticism about Amsterdam," and has "failed to provide any details about how she would change Amsterdam."

Though the card is anonymous, the ZIP code listed on the postage stamp is 10017, New York City, which Hatzenbuhler also noted on her campaign's Facebook page. She also indicated that she may know who is responsible for it but didn't name anyone in particular.

"For those of you that [received] the lovely postcard in your mailbox from NYC this morning, I am truly sorry," Hatzenbuhler wrote. "The gentleman that sent this lives in NYC and did the same thing two years ago, only a smaller card.

"Unfortunately, there are people that are afraid I will put a stop to all this craziness on the part of the mayor," she continued on her Facebook page, "and not let her spend any more money. It is time for someone to take actions to protect our city and the taxpayers from the ruin she is bringing us to."

The postcard accuses Hatzenbuhler of taking biased legal advice, being unable to work with others and "rejecting a multi-million-dollar residential investment in Amsterdam that would have yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue."

Hatzenbuhler said the person who sent it is "obviously very threatened" by her candidacy.

"Somebody is really concerned that I'm going to do a good job," Hatzenbuhler said, "and I intend to do a great job when I'm elected."

Hatzenbuhler said she wouldn't call the charges listed in the mailer lies, but said the criticisms put a negative spin on her beliefs.

She said the mailer is correct in its claim that she was against the multimillion-dollar project, referring to a developer's failed plan to renovate the former Chalmers knitting mills complex into apartments.

However, Hatzenbuhler took issue with a claim stating she is "aggressively against city beautification projects."

Hatzenbuhler said that is false because she was on the Amsterdam Beautification Committee. What she is against, she said, is Mayor Ann Thane's use of the funds raised by the committee to paint murals throughout the city, which Hatzenbuhler called "graffiti."

Following a meeting at City Hall Tuesday, Hatzenbuhler said she did not know who sent it and then attributed the mailer to "female pettiness" because some of the accusations -- like "spreads misinformation, lies and fear on the radio and on the Internet" -- are similar to criticisms she's received from the mayor.

Thane said she had nothing to do with it and knew nothing of the postcards until she read about it on Facebook.

"I don't do anything anonymously," Thane said. "It's a point of honor for me."

Dybas said it's unfortunate that the postcards were mailed.

"Shame on that person," Dybas said. "Whoever is responsible for that, if it's not true, and if she finds out who did it, I would certainly sue the person to high heaven. It's unfortunate that things like that happen."

This is Hatzenbuhler's third attempt at securing a council seat. Her first go, which was unsuccessful, was in 2005. She then ran for mayor in 2007, also unsuccessfully. She again ran for a seat on the council in 2011 against Dybas.

Hatzenbuhler is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.


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