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Re: Yapping from the Sidelines A Response To Frank Santarpia

October 26, 2011

Recently Frank Santarpia lead organizer of the “Staten Island Tea Party” group sent our this message to his group. The email details a conflict between his group and another tea party group called Staten Island LiberTea which was started by the former staff of the Staten Island Tea Party.

Read coverage of the split here.

Here is my response to Mr. Santarpia’s email charges which can be read here.

Santarpia: Leader of SI Tea Party on GOP Payroll.

“As you may or may not be aware, some time ago a small group of individuals “resigned” their memberships in the Staten Island Tea Party”

I find this quite amusing that Frank describes it as a “small group.” He of course leaves out that the small group was the entire staff. Those who know Frank and Lorraine best and worked the closest with them. As opposed to those who just read the emails and attend a rally once every few months. A “small group” of Frank’s confidants resigned.

“basically for two reasons: first, I had taken a part-time job as a legislative assistant to Councilman James Oddo; second, because they believed that the decision to ask SITP members to “get in the game” by running for seats on the Republican County Committee was in some way selling out our tea party principles.”

Two straw men arguments. Was it because he took the job for Oddo? Did any of them have a problem with Frank trying to affect change from inside the system? No. Not at all, it was the fact that he didn’t turn over the reins to the watchdog organization to avoid a conflict of interest, or at least the APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest.

Had Frank turned over leadership to Lorraine, or to a committee of the leadership, I think they would have been proud that Frank would have influence over legislation, at least in theory.

New GOP Chair "wasn't" endorsed by Santarpia

The other was the county committee issue. The problem was not the tea party becoming members of the county committee; the problem was allowing a GOP insider and good old boy Bob Scamardella to use the tea party to become the next Chair. Now had the tea party been trained by a disinterested 3rd party to run for county committee I don’t think the staff would have been so offended.

Rep. Grimm "didn't" receive an endorsements either.


Was this really a surprise? Frank had already “not” endorsed Grimm, giving him top billing and attention through his whole campaign while continuing to pretend that the tea party doesn’t endorse candidates. Ask any rank and file member of the tea party and they will tell you: The tea party endorsed Grimm.

“Suffice it to say that none of their dire predictions of have come true – as I knew they would not. Nowhere on the horizon is the conflict of interest that they feared, nor have those engaged members of the Staten Island Tea Party in any way, shape or form “sold out” to the “Republican establishment.” 

The SITP hasn’t sold out to the GOP establishment? I have no doubt that rank and file members are still loyal to their principles, the leadership on the other hand tells our congressman that it’s ok to violate tea party principles, and his oath to the Constitution because “we will vote for him anyway” because he is better than a democrat.

“These resignees, to whom I will give the benefit of the doubt as to their motivations, have effectively taken themselves out of the game.”

If they aren’t involved in the SITP that means they are out of the game? How misleading to the SITP members reading that email.

God forbid anyone else represents tea party values in the media Frank and Lorraine demonize them as if they are the only two who get to be the public face of the tea party movement on Staten Island. Who appointed them King and Queen of the tea party movement?

While these other LiberTea party leaders may have differing opinions on who the President should be, the criticism of Frank is his lack of principles, or at least the unwillingness to stand by them uncompromisingly in public; not his choice for president.

“This small group apparently believe that Lorraine Scanni and I somehow have the powers of political pied-pipers, and are capable of leading you, the mindless, off a cliff and into political irrelevancy.” 

While I don’t think Frank can cast anyone but himself and the SITP brand name into irrelevancy, he does act as a gate keeper controlling the flow of information to the rank and file who don’t pay attention to politics on a daily basis.

Unfortunately people live daily lives, and most of them rely on information the tea party provides through the email list. The LiberTea group was not attacking the backbone of the tea party, they were merely pointing out the truth that the rank and file are extremely busy living their daily lives and a good portion of them rely on tea party communications to stay informed. Isn’t that the reason Frank sends out his emails? To “educate” his members?

Franks use of straw men and misdirection disgusts me. He can try to demonize LiberTea or my tea party group, but I have a feeling this was a desperate attempt to plug the flow of members from his group to theirs. People are starting to see through the SITP thinly veiled GOP establishment agenda.

Danny Panzella
Staten Island Tea Party Patriots

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