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Monday, April 27, 2015

Letters

Letters

WestportNow welcomes letters from readers on matters pertaining to Westport and Westporters. Those of 300 words or less are given preference. Letters are edited for grammar, clarity, and accuracy. Publication shall be at the sole discretion of WestportNow. Third-party or anonymous letters, those signed with a pseudonym, or letters appearing in other publications are not published.

A postal address, e-mail address if available, and day and evening telephone numbers are required for verificiation purposes, although this information is not published. Letters may be submitted by e-mail to , via fax at (203) 286-2099, or by mail to 150 North Ave., Westport, CT 06880.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Coalition Applaus RTM P&Z Committee Action

To the Editor:

The Coalition for Westport (CFW) applauds the decision this week of the RTM Planning & Zoning Committee to recommend overturning the P&Z Commission’s decision to zone Baron’s South as dedicated open space.

The Coalition appreciates that the committee agreed with the Coalition and other petitioners that the process of reaching this decision was seriously flawed and the decision impacted negatively, not only on the potential use of the 22-acre property but also, on the future needs of the heavily utilized Senior Center.

The Coalition urges RTM members to follow the Committee’s recommendation and overturn the decision so that an application for a revised proposal for senior housing on the site can be heard.

The Coalition strongly supports a compromise solution to this heated discussion with a senior housing complex created on 3.3+/- acres and the remaining 18+/- acres be devoted to safe and accessible municipal space.

Denise Torve
Chairperson, Coalition for Westport

Posted 10:41 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Coalition for Westport on RTM P&Z Committee Meeting

To the Editor:

The first of two meetings of the Representative Town Meeting’s Planning & Zoning Committee was held on April 6 to determine if the committee should recommend that the RTM overturn the P&Z decision to rezone Baron’s South property as open space. Amid considerable misinformation the need for correction and clarification is necessary.

Chip Stephens, P&Z chairman, made numerous unsubstantiated statements claiming, for example that it was “certain” that if Baron’s South was not designated open space, the senior housing project would continue to be debated for another 10 years. Sheer speculation or a veiled threat to withhold action on the senior housing proposal?

Without even having heard or seen the revised housing plan he characterized it as “half baked.” Neither the Baron’s South Committee nor the developer was given the opportunity to make a presentation of the plan.

Although Stephens argued that senior housing would remove “all open space” from Baron’s South, every petitioner made the point that a compromise was available, namely 3.3 acres for housing and 16+/- acres for open space on the 22-acre site. 

More "Coalition for Westport on RTM P&Z Committee Meeting"

Posted 12:31 PM
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Friday, April 03, 2015

Restore Transit District Funding

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Westport Citizens Transit Committee (CTC), I would like to strongly encourage the restoration of the Westport Transit District (WTD) funds initially requested in the First Selectman’s 2015 budget request. Our Committee feels that these funds are essential to enabling the Transit Directors to fulfill their mission and the promise of safe, affordable, effective and convenient transportation within and around Westport.

WTD is not simply about shuttle buses but about addressing the chronic and critical transportation issues of traffic congestion, limited parking, pedestrian safety, air pollution and even business and citizen productivity in and around Westport. In a CTC Interim Transportation Report issued in January, 2013, the CTC highlighted these issues and our recommendations specifically called for dedicating town resources and funding for transportation-expertise and marketing. We stand by these recommendations.

We applaud First Selectman Marpe’s committed efforts to work with our Transit Directors to address the day to day town transportation challenges, discuss transportation policies and for his support for the WTD during this budget process. As a town, we need to build on his transportation leadership and vision.

Transportation in Westport is a 24/7 reality that directly affects our daily quality of life and business in and around Westport. Our town needs the skilled and full time attention of a transportation professional and funds to effectively communicate and engage with Westport’s diverse community of administrators, citizens and businesses as well as Federal, State and Transit agencies who provide grants, services and funding for transportation systems like the one in Westport.

Let’s make a smart and continued investment of our resources and budget to address the growing challenge of transportation in Westport and in our surrounding region. Restoring the WTD funds is an important step in the right direction. Restore the WTD funds.

Jim Ross
Westport Citizens Transit Committee

Posted 05:06 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Coalition for Westport Critical of P&Z

To the Editor:

The Coalition for Westport fears that the senior housing project on Baron’s South is on life support and may not survive if the P&Z Commission has its way. 

At last Thursday’s commission meeting, the P&Z scheduled a hearing on its text amendment 687 to rezone Baron’s South as dedicated Open Space and Recreation District. Should this be approved, the property will no longer be available for development of any kind and the eight-year project to establish senior housing on the site will be over. 

This is happening even though a revised application for the senior housing project was submitted by the developers just last month and has not yet had a public hearing. 

The Coalition questions the decision on the timing of the open space proposal even as a pre-application review for senior housing on that space has been submitted and is pending. Why is the P&Z rushing ahead with its open space initiative? What’s the hurry?

More "Coalition for Westport Critical of P&Z"

Posted 11:32 PM
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Monday, March 02, 2015

SBAC Testing and Your Parental Rights

To the Editor:

As you are aware, SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) testing will begin in the Westport Public Schools later this month.  This letter is not to debate the appropriateness of this testing or to influence your personal decision, but to inform you of your rights as parents. 

Despite Connecticut superintendents having been warned to stop harassing parents who seek to fulfill their constitutionally guaranteed right to protect their children, last week an email was sent to Westport School District parents from our superintendent stating the following:

“CONNECTICUT GENERAL STATUTES (Section 10-14n) REQUIRE EVERY STUDENT TO PARTICIPATE IN STATE STANDARDIZED TESTS.
THERE IS NO PROCESS FOR OPTING OUT OF THE TESTING.”

This email was both forceful and misleading.  To be clear: There is no federal or state law, regulation or policy that prohibits a parent or guardian from opting his or her children out of these tests.  The former Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, on March 14, 2014 stated in a videotaped hearing in Hartford that there is no consequence to students if they opt-out of SBAC testing. 

More "SBAC Testing and Your Parental Rights"

Posted 10:14 PM
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Give Where You Live with Fairfield County Giving Day

To the Editor:

March 5 is Fairfield County’s second-annual online Giving Day, and I’m writing to encourage my neighbors and friends to participate. The goal is to raise $1 million in 24 hours through online donations for approximately 400 local nonprofit organizations.

Presented by Fairfield County Community Foundation with Bank of America as the lead sponsor, Giving Day encourages us all to “give where you live.” Last year, more than 9,000 people donated over $750,000 to 267 nonprofits serving Fairfield County – in 24 hours! This year, we can do even better.

Whether you give $10, $100 or even $1,000, you’ll be helping to support the work of organizations making a real difference in the community – and helping them compete for cash prizes and matching funds. Giving is fast and easy through the secure website http://www.fcgives.org, and anyone age 18 or older may donate between 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on March 5.

Our local nonprofits feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give books to children, train the unemployed for new jobs, protect our environment, and more. But they need our support to continue strengthening the communities we call home.

Whatever your favorite cause, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Fairfield County Giving Day 2015!

Michael Lubell
Mortgage Loan Specialist, Bank of America,
Westport

Posted 03:05 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Coalition for Westport Supports New Baron’s South Plan

To The Editor:

The Coalition for Westport strongly supports the new plan for senior housing on the Baron’s South property. 

The plan is still at an early stage, but it’s vital that it go forward, especially because it provides for 60 percent affordability in its residential units and advances the Town’s points to prevent more 8-30g projects. 

Because the new proposal provides more open space than the original did, we strongly urge the Planning & Zoning Commission to delay its plan to make the entire property open space until our Town boards have had an opportunity to consider the new proposal.

Denise Torve, Chairperson,
Coalition for Westport

Posted 04:15 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

‘Fabulous Job’ on Snow Cleanup

To the Editor:

I would like to congratulate the Town of Westport and everyone involved in the snow cleanup.

By yesterday afternoon the roads were completely clear!!! I could even drive down side roads with no problem.

They did a fabulous job and should know that we appreciate all their efforts, especially considering the conditions under which they were working.

Andree Brooks,
Westport

Posted 01:46 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Thanks From Probate Judge

To the Editor:

Dear Fellow Westporter,

Thank you so much for coming out in such high numbers to give me your vote of confidence as your Probate Judge. I so appreciate it.

Please stop by on a Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall in Westport, Room 100, to learn a little about an area of law that we cover in our court. I love to teach, and it gives me a good excuse to meet you.

If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, just send me an email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

I am extremely grateful and humbled by your support. I will do my best to earn the trust you have placed in me.

Thank you again.

Lisa Wexler
Probate Judge
Westport

Posted 11:56 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Proud Member of Compo ‘Flash Mob’

To the Editor:

In the Westport News recent article announcing the review of proposals for Compo Beach, they reported that committee member, Skip Lane, referred to the vocal, outspoken Westporters who do not agree with some of the proposals as “the same flash mob” who sometimes disrupted the committee workshops.

I am a proud member of that “flash mob” and I resent being labelled this way. Mr. Lane should realize we are part of an active, intelligent, community minded group who turn out to let our views be known before definite lines are drawn which don’t necessarily represent the majority will of our Westport community.

We do not want our parking on the beach disturbed. We like our small town beach and its foibles and imperfections. Do we want bathrooms on South Beach - yes we do. Do we want a little shade pavilion, with seating for shade (and no other frills) yes we do. Do we want our committee members to listen to us and respond intelligently, even if they are not in accord with us, yes we do. 

If Mr Lane does not like the heat, he should stay out of the kitchen. His inappropriate comments make this “flash mob” member wonder at his fitness to be on this important committee.  I hope all interested and vocal “flash mobbers” and other Westporters will attend the Sept. 29 Town Hall meeting to express their views. I think this is called democracy in action, is it not?

Doris Forest
Westport

Posted 03:29 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Coalition for Westport Outlines Compo Views

To the Editor:

The Coalition For Westport (CFW) has been following the debate over Compo Beach, and CFW members have attended the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee planning meetings held so far. Since the project is in the planning stage and the Committee is still actively seeking public comment, now is an excellent opportunity for all to submit opinions and suggestions.

The planning forecast calls for spending at least $6 million with improvements in three phases.

The first phase will cover improvements to the entrance way pavilion and drop off area, a new restroom pavilion at South Beach, a pedestrian walkway along the parking lot area of the beach, and redesign of the bathhouse and picnic pavilion. This will be followed by bathhouse and pavilion construction and finally shoreline stabilization, vehicle circulation, and parking enhancements.

There is much that residents can support. Even those who have urged abandonment of the plan begrudgingly list a number of improvements that could be made. The fact is that Compo Beach is one of our town’s jewels and is sorely in need of repair. Unlike many of our specialized facilities like golf, tennis and boating, Compo is enjoyed by vast numbers of residents of all ages not only in the summer, but all year round.

More "Coalition for Westport Outlines Compo Views"

Posted 09:51 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Royce Tribute An ‘Eloquent Elegy’

To the Editor:

When Linda Hall came from Westport to the City to write for New York Magazine, I wrote [she] “may be the smartest and most talented young woman to hit town since the young Joan Didion.”

And her eloquent elegy to David Royce (“Guest Opinion,” WestportNow, April 17, 2014) underscores my prescience.

Noel E. Parmentel Jr.
Greenfield Hill
Fairfield, Conn.

Posted 09:07 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Police Captain Responds to FOI Story

To the Editor:

With regards to the story “Survey Grades Westport Police ‘F’ on FOI Compliance” (WestportNow, March 19, 2013), we have conducted an investigation as to what may have occurred. It appears that our emergency dispatchers were approached by someone during a busy time asking for an arrest log. Our dispatcher told them to wait until they could clear the emergency calls. The requester did not wait.

Our records system is computerized and an arrest log must be generated from our computer system. It is not a hard copy written log. Our records clerks were not approached and asked for this information. Had our clerks been approached they would have been able to obtain it for the requester. Our clerks and personnel receive FOIA training and we take our responsibility of complying with the law seriously.

As you pointed out in your story “The newspaper’s F grade to Westport came despite frequent distribution –- usually weekly but often several times a week—to local media of a complete list of all arrests, including motor vehicle infractions, with additional details provided in a synopsis of all criminal arrests.” We appreciate you pointing this out in your story. We make every effort to cooperate with the media and the public in providing information as required by FOIA.  Our daily arrest log is available by e-mail to those who request it.

Thank you.

Capt.  John A. Calka
Staff Commander
Westport Police Department

Posted 10:17 PM
(2) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Applauds Save Westport Now Stance

To the Editor:

At last night’s Planning & Zoning Commission hearing, Save Westport Now embellished its long-standing standing reputation in the community by showing flexibility and by suggesting modifications to proposed Amendment No. 672.

The amendment, put forward by the P&Z Commission itself, is designed to help preserve Westport’s small-town character—a goal that SWN supports. But SWN also recognized that some of the proposed language needed to be refined in order to avoid some illogical and unfair results.

By suggesting specific modifications that would allow for commercial development, while still protecting the scale and character of our Downtown, SWN once again demonstrated its integrity and commitment to doing what is best for Westport.

SWN’s proposed refinements will enable the Commission to move forward with the amendment to the satisfaction of both the public’s interests and the needs of downtown owners and tenants. We should applaud SWN for its proactive role and input on this important issue.

Janet and Howard Rubel
Westport

Posted 03:52 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Promoting Fairfield County Giving Day March 7

To the Editor:

I’m writing to encourage my neighbors and friends to join in supporting the first-ever Fairfield County Giving Day on Friday, March 7. Whether you give $10, or $100 or even $1,000, you’ll be helping to support the work of local nonprofits making a real difference in the community – and helping them compete for prizes and matching funds.

Giving is fast and easy through the secure website http://www.fcgives.org, and you may donate anytime between 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on March 7.

Our local nonprofits feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, strengthen our schools and arts and cultural programs, protect our environment, train the unemployed for new jobs, and more. But they need our support to continue strengthening the community we call home.

Whatever your favorite cause, I hope you’ll join in helping Fairfield Giving Day – presented by Fairfield County Community Foundation in cooperation with Bank of America – reach the goal of raising $1 million to benefit hundreds of local nonprofit organizations in only 24 hours! 

Michael Lubell
Westport
Mortgage Loan Specialist, Bank of America

Posted 01:01 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink
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