Truth is Hard to Come by for the “Truth Squad” by Tom Fodi

Despotism 9Many hand selected registered democrats received a letter today from the political action committee for Jane and Mike Braunlich, Jim and Sue Viscusi, and Lynn Heffley which operates under the pseudonym the “Truth Squad.”  This letter, which Liberty in Bellevue would prefer all be welcome to read, makes many claims under the guise of truth.

1) The “truth squad” calls into question the worthiness of relatively new names to the political scene in Bellevue. 

2) The “truth squad” challenges the patriotism of independently thinking individuals not bound to toting the party line in their political philosophy and leadership.

3) The “truth squad” states explicitly that Paul Cusick served as the chairman of the Republican party before switching parties to run for mayor as a democrat.

Let’s consider each of these so called “truths” one at a time, shall we?

1) The “truth squad” calls into question the worthiness of relatively new names to the political scene in Bellevue.

On its surface, it seems a worthwhile concern to be cautious of “new comers.” People have a natural inclination to fear individuals they do not already know or recognize. However, when it comes to Bellevue politics, I have to call into question the validity of such fear. Throughout the past 20+ years, Bellevue has experienced one thing and one thing only: DECLINE! And, when you compare the same time frame with the list of those who have been in leadership in our borough, it is fascinating to discover the same names over and over again (whether actually in office or propping up individuals for office). Some individuals have come and gone, but if you dig deep enough, what you discover is the same old people making the same old decisions leading to the same old results: DECLINE!

The letter from the so called “Truth Squad” challenges those who desire to serve their community not yet molded and tainted by the “old guard.’ The “Truth Squad” wants you to believe that supporting the same old people for another term is the best option because they’ve been around the longest and they know best. Names like Vencent Menosky, Matthew Sevinsky and Michael Sendro are relatively new to the political culture of Bellevue, but it is my conviction that fresher is better given the track record of those who we’ve trusted to lead us into the pit from which we’re desperately attempting to dig ourselves out.

2) The “truth squad” challenges the patriotism of independently thinking individuals not bound to toting the party line in their political philosophy and leadership.

I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Socialist, Libertarian, or whatever political persuasion under the sun, if you cannot think for yourself and blindly tote the party line you’re not fit for local, state, or national leadership in my opinion. By using a short quote from George Washington, the “Truth Squad” calls into question the patriotism of those who think for themselves and lead based on conviction and logical reasoning. Let us use the “Truth Squad’s” reference and explore George Washington’s thoughts on the dangers of blindly following a political faction or party:

The domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual, and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty. 

A failure to follow one’s convictions and blindly follow a political party, especially at the local level, according to George Washington, is a “frightful despotism” and “ruins public liberty.” Want a frightening example of this despotism Washington speaks of that’s a bit too close to home? Let us reconsider who is responsible for endorsing the so called “endorsed Democrats:”

Your endorsed candidates: Jane and Mike Braunlich, Jim and Sue Viscusi, Lynn Heffley
Endorsed by: Jane and Mike Braunlich, Jim and Sue Viscusi, and Joe Heffley (Lynn’s son).
Click here to see the entire list of endorsed candidates and those responsible for their party endorsement. If this does not look frighteningly like “despotism” to you, I’m not sure what will…

3) The “truth squad” states explicitly that Paul Cusick served as the chairman of the Republican party before switching parties to run for mayor as a democrat.  

Simply put, this claim is nothing more than a desperate attempt to discredit Paul’s candidacy and salvage the seemingly failed candidacy of his opponent Jane Braunlich. After no more than five minutes of  research I’ve been able to ascertain that Paul Cusick has never served as the chairman of the Republican Party. Rather than attempting to challenge Paul’s leadership capabilities, proven track record of community service, and passion for all things Bellevue, the “Truth Squad” resorts to outright lies to scare potential voters into supporting Braunlich.

Bellevue, this Tuesday is your first chance to begin creating a Bellevue with an opportunity to enjoy the renaissance the rest of the Pittsburgh region is enjoying today. By considering the real causes of our borough’s ongoing decline and supporting candidates who not part of the “old guard” status quo, we can build a community with a prosperous business district, ever increasing property values, and stellar school district. Every journey begins with a first step in the right direction, our first step towards a more prosperous and enjoyable Bellevue in which to “live, worship, shop” is to vote against the despotism and cronyism of the past. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is, in fact, the definition of insanity. I trust Bellevue voters are anything BUT insane. 

See you at the polls!



Update, 5:18pm, 17 May 2013:

Vencent Menosky contacted Liberty in Bellevue to factually deny ever registering as a Republican.


43 Responses to “Truth is Hard to Come by for the “Truth Squad” by Tom Fodi”

  1. and just for the sake of transparency, I should note as an addendum that this blog is written by me, a registered Democrat.

  2. My favorite part is that none of those people C Leindecker, J.R.Foster or Carlie Moser have never voted in Bellevue either…i just checked…

    How’s that for Truth!!

    Honestly, there is no record of any of those names even living in Bellevue….

    Sounds like a bunch of hypocrites to me….

    Then again….if anyone believes that those are the real names of those people that are behind the truth squad then you need to guess again….

  3. Tom–Thanks for that. The same letter was delivered to our home today, and I was immediately concerned. The whole truth squad thing seems a bit shady . There was no “Paid for by” line, it contained at least one grammatical error, and seemed amateurish and hastily put together. Your discovery of there being no record of Paul serving as GOP Chair confirms that this is a cheap attempt to keep the incumbents in office. The power of truth squad’s letter is in galvanizing the notion that Bellevue needs new, fresh leadership now!

  4. And how about the fact that the people the letter “endorses” are Braunlich, the Viscuais, and two others I’m unfamiliar with. I have a feeling as to who’s behind the letters, but I’m not gonna speculate since no one knows. In my opinion though, there is absolutely nothing with realizing that one party or another may not necessarily line with what you believe, because there’s always going to be people in the party that will screw up the party’s original viewpoints for their own advancement.

  5. Henry Lenard was at the candidate forum…his petition was signed by Jane and Mike Braunlich and Linda Woshner…

    Lynn Heffley is a 3rd ward candidate who was endorsed because she is the only democrat running in ward 3 and it doesnt hurt that her son is the chair of the bellevue democrat committee…

    Were those the two you were speaking about?

  6. Yes, I was at the candidate forum and expressed my views on the vision of Bellevue and what needs to be done. If any of you were not at the forum, I suggest you view the link that is posted on this site. Jane and Mike are neighbors of mine, which is why I had them sign my petition. All of my signers were neighbors. I also had former councilman Joe Kovacs sign, as well as his wife, and Jan Kunst, the wife of Bellevue’s former mayor. Linda Wosher did not sign it, but I would have been proud if she had. Any other questions?

  7. Sorry for the mistake on Linda, Henry. It was Connie Rankin.

    Leigh, You can also read Henry’s bio on our site. Lynn did not provide one.

    Henry, Could you please outline the vetting process that the Bellevue Democratic Committee used in order to support the endorsements?

    I understand that invitations were mailed out and that there were one or two candidates that did not receive them. Is this how you received your invitation?

  8. Happy to, Mark. I received a letter inviting me to the Democratic Committee endorsement at Bayne Library. In addition to those ultimately endorsed, Matt Senvisky also attended. Paul Cusick sent information but did not attend. We were told that Vencent Menosky and Michael Sendro also received letters and I have no reason to doubt that. All candidates were asked to speak to their qualifications and were then asked questions by the committee. Those of us not on the committee were then asked to leave and a vote was taken. After not hearing anything for a couple of days I contacted the committee and learned I was endorsed.

    • Henry – one more question. You said the non-committee members were asked to leave to vote on the endorsements. I can only assume that meant Jim and Sue Viscusi and Jane Braunlich were more than welcome to vote for their own endorsement. Am I correct?

  9. Henry, Thank you for the correction. It is too time consuming to address all the wrong information posted on this site. I try but they challenge every word and I just cannot keep up with it. I know there is nothing I can say that would be correct in their minds. Nothing I do is significant enough. Their views are the only correct ones that matter. All of us on council are doing our best and want to see Bellevue prosper. There are many views on how to accomplish that. We need to respects others opinions and views. Council has made changes to ordinances because of the input from our residents. We need to work together. There is no reason to degrade our borough in the process.

    Good luck in your campaign.

    • Linda – what correction did Henry provide other than to confirm that your friends have highjacked the entire democratic process in this election? They voted to endorse themselves leaving little to no chance for other Democrat Candidates to get a word in edge wise with their own party!! C-mon, Linda, the voters are not as dumb as you think they are. This is cronyism at its worst and borderline despotism here!

    • Linda you keep saying your time is too valuable to post on this site. You are just as negative as you continue to claim we are. You complained about the negative so I started writing positive posts and have invited you to comment. It’s been we’ll over a week now. I know you are too busy in campaign mode for Jane so you would rather try and bash LiB instead of making some positive comments in some of the ideas I proposed? Is it because you have no ideas or because you think you are too good for us? You keep saying residents contact you for these changes…so what you are saying is that these are residents ideas and not Jane’s as you and the citizen (janes official campign newsletter) keep saying?

      It’s great how you refuse to answer my questions or engage in a conversation about ideas.
      If you really don’t have time then why bother posting? Or even reading for that matter?

  10. Hi, this is 2nd Ward Candidate Matt Senvisky. I assume most people who read this realize the letter from the so called “truth squad” is absolute nonsense.

    For the record I registered as a Democrat when I was 18 years old and have voted that way in most elections since that time. When I moved to PA. a couple years ago I switched to the Green Party although I would definitely consider myself a true Independent. After doing some research on our current council and the Democratic party in Bellevue I decided I should run for Council and would be able to make the biggest impact as a Democrat. I am glad I switched back to party I have been affiliated with for the majority of my life because the Democrats representing this town are a prime example of why people like me are becoming disenfranchised with the two party system.

    Win or lose I would prefer it happens based off facts, credentials, and hopefully ability. I attended the Democratic Committee Endorsement meeting and can honestly say this committee is a joke and is doing a huge disservice to the Democratic party as a whole. While I didn’t go in expecting to get the endorsement what transpired was almost unbelievable. During the meeting each candidate had to share their backgrounds and what qualifies them for office. I believe one of my strengths is my lengthy experience reading, writing, and interpreting policy/ordinance. Mr. Viscusi openly stated in the meeting that he is not that great at understanding policy and relies on the others (Mrs. Viscusi, Jane, and Linda) to help him. For any rational thinking person that is basically stating that you aren’t qualified to be on council, let alone attain the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

    After waiting for a week to be informed who was endorsed and not getting any feedback I reached out to the Chair of the Committee who apologized for not letting me know they were endorsing the Viscusi’s. I was not surprised but obviously very disappointed that the Democratic Committee in this town is so out of touch with reality and completely lacks the foresight to shake things up in the best interest of the party.

    Basically I am sickened by the cheap attempt being made by the so called Truth Squad to discredit who I am based on party lines and not living in Bellevue long enough. What ever happened to credentials? education? morals?

    As a Democrat I would like to take this opportunity to formally endorse myself since that basically carries as much weight as the endorsement the Viscusi’s and their friends gave themselves.

    I love Bellevue and hope Democratic voters in the 2nd ward will allow me to represent you.


    Matt Senvisky

  11. I received my letter in the mail today. Right away I thought these people are crazy. I hope the address for the Truth Squad is correct because I will send them a letter telling them to take me off their mailing list! There is nothing worse than getting junk mail! I’m in the medical field, not a lawyer. So i’m wondering, are saying all these things about people and especially talking trash thru a letter that comes in the US Postal mail, considered slander and libel?? Could one pursue a civil lawsuit? These actions are very personal and deceitful.

    If EVERYONE, Council, Lib, School Board, and others took as much time & energy to deal w/ the reals issues Bellevue-Avalon would be a great place. Get off your high horse and look out for your community. Stop thinking the world is all about you!!!

  12. Where to start? I am Vencent Menosky, a democratic candidate in Ward 2. I have started my move in this election by attending and watching a few meetings and wasn’t sure that what I saw could represent the people with morals and values. I then made a independent decision to run.
    I have met some good hearted people in this town. I have walked door to door spreading my worth and the ‘truth’. And not spreading anything against anyone. Many people already have their own opinions and some are paying attention.
    Just by chance I ran into a women that got one of the letters today from the Truth Squad. They had informed her that I might have been switching parties or never voting in Bellevue.
    She did like me up till today. She is not sure what to think about my party affiliation for I didn’t put democratic on my flyer and then receive this letter. She did respect me for telling her that I never voted. I didn’t think to put Democrat on my flyer due to everyone running in Ward 2 is Democrat. Ok, I overlooked not everyone knew that. I’m sorry for that. Sincerely I overlooked that.
    I will tell you nothing but the truth. I was always a registered Democrat and I never voted.
    I believe you need to be a good human that contributes with strong values and morals before you become anything else in this world…..Dr. Cop,Priest, teacher, or politician.

    Secondly one has to be careful of their sources. One good source I know of is The League of Women Voters. On their site they list bio’s of candidates so that the people can do their research. I am not currently on there. Point being, they have a way for anyone to contact them to ask questions and are visible to all parties. The Truth Squad has no contact info besides a PO Box. I did not know who this people were, so I did not respond. I did response to the question from Connie Rankin who ask me if I ever voted before she publish it.

    Lastly, I might have left out the word democrat on my flyer, but I did leave all the citizens no matter who you are, this on the very bottom in a Blue box with white letters


    That means that for the whole 4 years I am elected you can contact me. I might be new at this but unlike the present in Ward 2, all you have is a name along with,

  13. I’m a lifelong Democrat who rarely if ever votes Republican because, frankly I share little of their world view on practically anything. But I received a Truth Squad letter in the mail today. I for one find the unsubstantiated accusations, namecalling, and slander found in the letter and in many posts on this site (on both sides) to be more than a little disturbing. I guess this is what passes for political discussion these days. I will say that I lived next door to Paul Cusick for long enough to know that he’s a standup guy who is dedicated to this town, and that is a lot more important to me than whether he’s a Democrat or Republican–I really don’t care about that and in fact we never ever discussed politics in all the time we were neighbors. Anonymous partisan and personal attacks bother me, and so do candidates who endorse themselves in their other guise of party committee member. Since the Truth Squad saw fit to send me a letter I would like to know if the people whose names are at the top really exist, and if so what their relationship is to the candidates they promote.The answers will go a long way toward determining who I will be voting for on Tuesday.

    • Hi Scott We have made multiple efforts to find out who they are so we could contact them but as it stands right now there is no listing for any of those names as living in Bellevue nor are they on the voters lists from any of the past 4 elections.
      If we do track them down we will let you know.

      • Good luck with that, I have a feeling that they are phantoms. This is classic negative political campaigning–run a negative ad only days before an election and it will have its effect before anyone has a chance to fact-check and find out who is behind it. As Veronica says below, just remember John Kerry and the Swift Boat ads. By the way, I thought your “Vision” series was a thoughtful and positive contribution and its ideas deserve to be considered and discussed.

    • Hi Scott We have made multiple efforts to find out who they are so we could contact them but as it stands right now there is no listing for any of those names as living in Bellevue nor are they on the voters lists from any of the past 4 elections.
      If we do track them down we will let you know.

  14. I also received this letter and was appalled with its content. I have been a registered democrat for 36 years and have never come across this behavior. The Truth Squad reminds me of those “swift boaters” from several elections ago. As for my vote it’s going to be…anybody but a Braunlich!

  15. wow.. I can’t believe what I’m reading. First you bash my son, now accuse my husband of stealing. As a Real Estate agent , I don’t think I would recomend people to buy in Bellevue!

  16. Markie,
    As someone who lives on Dave Fodi’s mail route, I can assure you that he delivered “The Truth Squad’s” load of crap. My neighbors received the ledger and said it looked like he had others for nearby residences ready to deliver. You should seriously stop wasting your time spreading lies about people. Liable and slander are serious issues….

  17. I never payed much attention to local politics until I started hearing stories from business owners about how dysfunctional the Bellevue council is. Then I started watching the videos. As a Bellevue resident, I feel I’m being manipulated. There’s not enough information about Jane Braunlisch to make an informative decision, her website is useless, I would like to know more about her background, work experience and education. At least Mr.Cusick shows up to events and will talk to you personally. Vincent ask me personally what I think Bellevue needs to succeed. All we get from the incumbents is a stupid uninformed letter. This is local politics, I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat. I don’t care who you gave money to. I don’t care if you are endorsed by the official Democratic Party or the friend of the second cousin of the neighbor of the sister of a former mayor. What can you do to make Bellevue a better (and safer )place to live? Markie, I get it , you are mad about the trees, so why do the residents of Bellevue have to suffer because you have a personal vendetta. It scares me to read that you looking into everyone’s family’s voting records and spying on our yards. OMG! my dad may have voted for a republican in the 1980’s, I guess I can’t run for office in Bellevue now!

  18. Sorry Vincent, my last post looked like I was asking you a question.I meant to say That Vincent asked me personally about improving Bellevue. He took the time to talk to me and get my input even though I don’t live in his ward.

    • Hi WK
      To try and fill in the gaps for you

      Jane has not listed her qualifications regarding education or work experience because as I understand it she was a stay at home mom which is admirable. I have heard through talking with folks that she does not have any post secondary education or possibly did not graduate from high school. This is only speculation. She is welcome to post on here clarifying that information or she can submit a bio which we would post as we have done with the majority of candidates.

    • And also, regarding Mark Purcell, he has told us that he had accomplished everything he set out to accomplish over the last three years and no longer has a vested interest in this election. For some reason though he just will not stop and continues to claim lies are being spread. One “lie” that jumped out at me was the citizen article indicating Jane braunlich is a volunteer with the friends of Bayne library group. As a member since 2008 and current Vice President of that group, Janes name does not appear on any current or former member list and in the last 5 years I have never seen her at a meeting or an event. She is trying to beef up the appearance of community involvement which makes me question everything else that she claims to be involved with.

      • I also see that Jane is taking credit for some of the new gas lines and sidewalks provided by Columbia Gas.

  19. The letter is laughable at best. If the “truth squad” (and we all know who you are…lol), honestly felt that their letter would sway anyone’s voting – they were sorely mistaken. How pathetic!
    Furthermore, as a lifelong registered democrat, I have every intention of contacting the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and turning copies of the letter I received and other info that I’ve come across, over to them. I believe they’d be interested in this little group calling themselves the Bellevue Democrat Committee.
    Keep it up folks…. I’m a firm believer in the old adage ” give them enough rope they’ll hang themselves every time!

  20. the trouble with the “truth squad” is that they are not telling the truth, Paul Cusick never was a leader in the Republican Party, get the facts and know he did nothing but good for the Borough

    • Gina,

      Paul told me several times he was the Chair of the Bellevue Republican party. I don’t consider Paul a liar.

      • And we have provided multiple ideas and offers to help save money but you don’t listen to us? Why do you feel that you can pick and choose what you listen to? Aren’t you and Jane here for ALL residents? I am assuming you believe that after campaigning for her from the presidents chair in the borough hall? Do you not understand the reason for LiB is because there is a constituency in Bellevue that doesn’t feel like their elected officials are listening to them?
        Quit the nonsense Linda.

      • I have never told Linda that I was “Chair of the Bellevue Republican party”. I never was. I am responding to correct the record.

  21. Just an FYI.
    The above post is not from the candidate, Mike Braunlich. As a member of the Democratic Committee, I do not know who is responsible for the Truth Squad. In fact, I received two letters. After reading the letter, I do not see untruths in the letter.

  22. Paul,

    Let me set the record straight. I know what you told me. I guess you were lying to me? Unbelievable. I would like to believe you forgot what you told me.

    • Funny how the information you seem to have is always the same as the truth squad. Like you said above…Unbelievable.

      I thought you didn’t have time to post on our site and share your positive ideas for the future?

      While I was typing this a commercial came on for a city in New York State wanna know what it was about? It was for the town advertising the fact that they are business friendly and listed 4 things they have done to attract business. At the end it even stated that they want your business.

      What are the 4 things that you have lead in order to do this for Bellevue? Like I said your job isn’t to ensure successful businesses its to create a more friendly environment for them.

    • I will find out if we can moderate new postings better to see how we can stop the false name posts.

  23. This makes sense: No record of Paul being Chair of the Republican Committee
    Paul states he never was the Chair
    Therefore, Paul was not the Chair

    This does not make sense: Linda & The Truth Squad’s unverifiable nonsense

  24. Linda,
    You are wrong. I remember our conversation distinctly. Call me and I will refresh your memory. However, When I asked you if Jane was running for Mayor, you said that you did not know. I have viewed her petition and it has your signature on it dated over a week before I had asked you. I do not lie. I’m not good at it.

    • Paul,
      I did not lie. At the time, I did not know. Jane was undecided when I talked to her about her political aspirations. She had two petitions which I signed depending on her decision. Additionally, it is not my place to announce Jane’s political plans.

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