President of the Republicans of Kent Respond to Their Ouster at Farmer’s Market

As President of the Republicans of Kent (ROK) and a former trial judge in Philadelphia for sixteen years, I was quite surprised to read your article on the alleged “incident” at the Farmers Market last Saturday. Surprised because no one from your publication contacted me or anyone from the ROK before posting an article about us and by implication, me, without seeking our version of the events. I thought basic journalistic ethics and fairness required as much. However, the damage is done.

Thus, we are providing our explanation of how things came about. First, the banner was indeed inappropriate for the event. We didn’t know we had been approved for the Market until Friday night so while gathering supplies up quickly, it was included inadvertently in the tent supplies. The offending language was immediately covered up after a market goer complained, which was not reported.

The Kent County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) and the ROK are separate entities but we do work together. Neither organization received any Market rules and we were unaware that face masks were a Market requirement, although the workers felt they were observing social distancing. The Market Manager, Julie King, said she approached the booth because of some workers not wearing masks and spoke to a by-stander seated on the curb at the rear of the tent. Apparently the conversation became somewhat argumentative. We do regret that happened. This person was not associated with the KCRCC or the ROK. If the Market Manager had asked who was in charge and had spoken to either group’s president that was there, they would have complied. Neither of them were aware of her presence or this argumentative discussion. Julie King’s statement in the Kent Pilot’s article that booth workers would not comply and began yelling at her and that the ROK was THEN expelled from participation in the Market is totally false! No one from either group engaged in a shouting match with her. The notification that the clubs were no longer welcome at the Market came the following day after the incident, not at the time of the incident. Please know that the KCRCC and the ROK will be in compliance with mask wearing at our headquarters in the future.

It was also mentioned in the article that we were selling merchandise which could not be sold under a registration category of non-profits. We don’t disagree. Again, we never received a copy of the Market rules so we’re not aware of this.

We appreciate Mayor Chris Cerino’s having to allow us to represent our party. No political party will be represented in the Farmers Market in the future we suspect not just because of this incident but because of a history of contention between the two parties as mentioned in the article.

Again, we are regretful of what occurred at the Farmers Market last weekend and hope to put this behind us, moving forward with a mutually respectful coexistence with our neighboring Party’s headquarters staff.

Gary Di Vito
ROK President

6 comments

  1. Mr. Di Vito,

    Thanks for reading and writing. Please note that in our original story we did reach out to the Chair of the Republican Central Committee in Kent and she did tell us things got heated at the booth. She did agree the profanity was inappropriate. She was there and also made some of the same points you have made here. We also spoke with witnesses who confirmed what Julie King told the Kent Pilot. We are satisfied that we aired the facts through proper reporting. We have given you ample room to clarify the facts as you see them As always, please feel welcome to comment.

    The Kent Pilot

  2. Thank you for posting my response and your comment. Please note Ms. Croissette has no role in ROK and does not speak for us. Suffice it to say we have witnesses who will contradict both her and Ms. King, but as they sat there are three sides to every story.

    We are grateful for the opportunity to be heard. People will believe what they will. I believe it is time to put this to rest. We will be at our regular HQ henceforth, supporting our party and welcoming all.

  3. Mr. DiVito:

    In my opinion, your response here mixes a Luke-Warm apology with defiance. You express regret over a campaign banner that uses profanity but no explanation for why the campaign would possess it yest alone use it. The defense of not realizing what language is printed on the banner is invalid. I would think your regret should be the Republicans of Kent (ROK) HAD said banner in its possession to be used as an official campaign banner.

    I have seen this banner flying on private property in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. I have observed it being sold by various vendors of Trump campaign material. The slogan is imprinted on banners, hats, visors, and T-Shirts. What astonishes me is the ROK feels this kind of language is suitable for Presidential campaign material.

    If we as citizens are to try and maintain decorum, debate and honest disagreement profanity has no place in a public forum. Display the banner on personal property. I won’t complain. But, please encourage those members of ROK to follow the Governor’s rules regarding public gatherings.

    And regarding the ROK not being aware of Governor Hogan’s COVID protocols for public gatherings, give me a break. Elementary school students know better.

  4. As a former trial judge- whether or not he personally ascribes to it – Mr. DiVito should be well aware of the ancient maxim “Ignoratia jurus non excusat”.

    The fact is that his group, the Republicans of Kent County, as well as the Kent County Republican Central Committee , were equally responsible for learning and complying with the rules of participation in the Chestertown Farmers market before they set up their tent. Furthermore, they would have had to have been blind not to notice that every other vendor in the market was wearing a mask.

    The bottom line here is that there’s just no valid excuse for both ROKs and KCRCC’s abject failure to learn about and comply with Chestertown Market participation requirements. All of Mr. DiVito’s statements to the contrary are pure BS. His feeble attempt to justify his groups’ inexcusable negligence and behavior is disappointingly disingenuous at best.

  5. As posted a few minutes ago on the Chestertown Life FB page also, but with an addendum at the bottom here:

    The Gov’s order effective Fri., 7/31, REQUIRES, not merely recommends, that all over age 5 must wear masks when outdoors in public spaces when others might be nearby and social distancing cannot be maintained. This would certainly apply to the market. See pp. 9-10 re masking. There are exceptions for members of one’s own household and for “a BONA FIDE disability or medical condition,” plus several others. Interestingly, local jurisdictions are authorized to issue more restrictive orders if it seems necessary and reasonable to do so.
    https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Gatherings-10th-AMENDED-7.29.20.pdf
    This was well publicized via all types of media throughout Md.
    On 8/3 a slightly revised version of the above was issued (and publicized). The section re masking (again pp. 9-10) does not seem to have been altered.
    https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-08-03-11-08.pdf
    ———————
    I had an unsettling experience last Saturday at the only stand I visited, to buy veggies. I selected what I wanted and got into a short line to pay at the table. I stayed at least 6-7 ft. behind the person in front of me while she was at the table. Turning a little sideways because I sensed that someone was too close behind me, to ask to please give me more space, I suddenly realized as I turned around more fully that the man was wearing no mask and blurted out, “Where’s your mask?” The reply: “They don’t work.” I said “We’re all supposed to wear masks outdoors in public places where others might be nearby.” The reply again was “They don’t work,” accompanied by a smug expression. I thought to myself that this guy was a hopeless, self-entitled jerk that I wanted to get away from asap, so just moved ahead to the table when the person ahead of me was finished there. Later, I sort of regretted that I didn’t say something additional along these lines: “You think you’re entitled to wear no mask because you believe they don’t work, but you’re not entitled to infect me” and/or “So are you a scientist who has studied the effectiveness of masks (or not) and, if so, just what studies have you done or even just read?” I have, in fact, read several papers that studied droplet and aerosol distribution of virus particle under different conditions, including outdoors, and evaluated the effectiveness of various types of masks to protect from them. The degree of effectiveness varied among mask types, but virtually all were deemed effective to one extent or another.
    When I got to the table, the always properly masked woman taking payment and I talked sotto voce while she expressed not only sympathy for my situation but indicated that he was hardly the first to shop there maskless, that she was uncomfortable with such people being quite near her (as is inevitable when taking payments), and that she wished something could be done about it. I certainly hope so too, not only for myself and other shoppers but also for the safety of those working at the market.

  6. As a vendor at the market I am in agreement, I ask people to pull up their masks sometimes, I have not had anyone with no mask, I would ask them to move along if they have no mask. I wish there was a way to enforce the regulations other than having it fall on us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *