Hamden politician criticized for ‘liking’ disparaging comments on social media
HAMDEN — A town representative is being criticized for seemingly encouraging derogatory comments made about the southern part of town on social media.
A resident captured a screenshot of at-large Councilwoman Marjorie Bonadies having “liked” and “thanked” comments calling southern Hamden a “ghetto” on the Nextdoor app, a social networking platform for local communities.
Bonadies said the responses to her interaction on the app have been misinterpreted
“I try to hit ‘thank’ even when we’re disagreeing — thanking them for putting it out there and making it part of the conversation,” Bonadies said, adding that she was thanking the poster for the part of his post that criticized the pension and taxes.
One comment Bonadies “liked” said the “southern section of Hamden is a ghetto ... i don’t go down to that area unless i am armed.” On that comment, she said, she mistakenly hit “like” instead of “thank,” which are next to each other.
Another read, “Unfortunately, I hate to say it but you are all dreaming, HALF the town is a ghetto and the other half is turning into a ‘college party town!!!”
A screenshot captured Bonadies initially “thanking” the comment, but it later changed to a “sad” reaction.
The West Woods area in which Bonadies lives is Hamden’s largest geographic district, bordering Cheshire and Bethany. The southern part of Hamden that borders New Haven begins at lower Dixwell Avenue.
Bonadies responded on the app, saying, “I would never refer to our town as ‘ghettos’. I Only try to provide accurate information to those looking for it.” Bonadies also said it’s not her responsibility to police others’ speech. “I can only control what comes out of my own mouth.
“I wish for the town to be one HAMDEN, but there are many who persist in pitting northern HAMDEN against southern HAMDEN. That’s not a winning solution. Policies that are good for the town are good for the whole town, the same goes when the policy is bad,” she said on the app.
Bonadies said people want her to have admonished the commenters for their opinions, but she doesn’t like to engage in name-calling.
“I let people live and die by their comments, but maybe I should have said something,” she said. Bonadies said she thinks the comments are horrible and prejudiced and she’s sensitive to hateful comments.
Bonadies said she’s going to think twice about sharing and engaging on social media now that people are calling her racist, and feels that sharing the comments with the press was a personal attack.
“I will have to learn how to be more of a moderator on social media because you’re being judged on what other people’s comments are,” Bonadies said. She said while she doesn’t assume people’s motives, she’s learning she needs to be more of a moderator and call for unity and not division. “I believe in one Hamden. I’m going to work harder to create that message more than I did. I will be better advocate for all of Hamden.”