Thursday, November 19, 2015
Himes Backs Bill Tightening Controls on Syrian Refugees
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) was among House Democrats today who defied President Obama and voted for legislislation aimed at tightening controls on refugees from Syria and Iraq.
U.S. Rep Jim Himes (addressing Y’s Men last week): shares concerns that Congress must do all in its power to prevent a U.S. attack. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
The vote was 289 to 137. Besides 47 Democrats, 242 Republicans voted for the bill. Opposing it were 135 Democrats and two Republicans.
The bill’s fate, however, is uncertain after President Obama delivered a veto threat and key senators said they are more concerned about security vulnerabilities other than the refugee program.
Himes, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement that “after the horrifying terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris, I share the concerns of my constituents and the American people that Congress must do all in our power to prevent a similar attack in the United States.”
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Steinberg: Budget Issues Reflect ‘A Crisis in the State’
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136) tonight said Connecticut’s ongoing financial problems reflect “a crisis in the state.” Addressing a meeting of the Westport Democratic Town Committee in the Town Hall auditorium, Steinberg said he expected the legislature to be called into a special session next month to deal with growing projected deficits. He said he envisioned “a lot of people in our community” being affected by additional budget cuts that are partially the result of “overly optimistic revenue projections.” Commenting on calls by some to limit Syrian refugees coming to the United States, Steinberg praised Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for saying Connecticut would continue to welcome such refugees. “I’m very proud of the governor for saying the right things,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Malloy Defends Accepting Refugees on MSNBC
By Mark Pazniokaswww.ctmirror.org
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy mixed two volatile issues tonight on MSNBC as he defended accepting Syrian refugees in Connecticut, saying the security threat posed by refugees pales in comparison to the danger of domestic gun violence.
About 30,000 gun deaths can be anticipated in the next year, while U.S. vetting procedures ensure that a well-screened trickle of Syrian refugees are likely to arrive in the same period, Malloy said on “All In with Chris Hayes.”
“And yet, those same governors who came out today and said we shouldn’t take refugees are the same governors who oppose common sense gun control laws in America,” Malloy said, repeating a line he used in Hartford.
Malloy, one of 34 governors to participate in nearly a 90-minute conference call with senior White House officials earlier today, said that the federal government is closely reviewing refugees seeking to relocate to the U.S.
Click here for more of story
Monday, November 16, 2015
51 Drawn and Sworn to Town Service
By James Lomuscio
For Westport’s 51 elected officials sworn in tonight, it was a community event and family affair that nearly filled the Town Hall auditorium with well wishers, family and friends, not to mention children who joined their parents on stage when they took their oaths.
It was a family affair tonight as Board of Education members Paul Block, Michael Gordon, and Mark Mathias took the oath of office from First Selectman Jim Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Robin Fellows for WestportNow.com
Adding to the fanfare were balloons, Police and Fire Department honor guards and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by the Staples High School Orphenians’s men’s quartet..
“On behalf of the Town of Westport, I want to offer congratulations to the newly sworn officials,” said First Selectman Jim Marpe. “This is a significant moment for all of you who worked hard to be elected to public office in Westport, and you and your families should be proud.”
Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, who co-administered the oaths with Marpe, said that 37 of the inaugurated were returning to their same posts, two were returning to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) after hiatuses, three had moved to other boards and “nine are taking the oath for the first time.”
Three New Faces on Board of Finance
Three new members of the Board of Finance and one returning member took the oath of office tonight at a Westport Town Hall ceremony. They are (l-r) John Hartwell, Clarissa Moore, Michael Rea (returning member) and Sheri Gordon (with daughter Chloe). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Robin Fellows for WestportNow.com
Westport Swearing In Gallery
Scenes from tonight’s swearing in ceremony for newly elected Westport town officials. Robin Fellows for WestportNow.com
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Zoning Board of Appeals Candidate Sought
The Westport Zoning Board of Appeals is looking for those interested in filling the unexpired term of an elected member, according to Jim Ezzes, chair.
To be considered, candidates must be residents of Westport and a registered Democrat, he said.
The opening is caused by the election of member Sheri Gordon to the Board of Finance.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Himes: ‘Burst of Productivity’ Following Leadership Change
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4) told the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today that recent changes in the House leadership have led to a “burst of productivity that we’re not necessarily used to.” This included passing the federal budget and a three-year transportation bill he called “important for Fairfield County,” though members postponed consideration of the debt ceiling, which he called “manifest silliness.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Call for LWV to Examine State Election Process
Marla Cowden, Westport Democratic registrar of voters, today called for a nonpartisan examination of the state’s election process. Addressing the League of Women Voters of Westport post-election coffee at the Westport Library, she said the LWV is the organization to spearhead such an effort. “Why do I say that,” she asked. “Because the piecemeal approach to changing our election system is failing Connecticut voters and Connecticut municipalities.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
We Interrupt This Meeting….
Guests at a League of Women Voters of Westport post-election coffee at the Westport Library today mill outside after a fire alarm sounded. They were allowed to return to the building a short time later when it was determined to be a false alarm. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
New Sewage Pipe Won’t Increase Development
Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM), in the last session for 10 of its members, tonight unanimously approved $200,000 for an engineering design to replace a more than 40-year-old sewer pipe running under the Saugatuck River from the Black Duck Cafe to the west bank.
Tonight’s RTM meeting was the last for 10 of its 36 members. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The reason: the 10-inch wide pipe buried eight feet under sediment is “very old, tired and subject to failure,” said Public Works Director Stephen Edwards.
“We got this on a high priority,” said Edwards, adding that the actual project, which would require burrowing through bedrock beneath the river, would cost $1.2 million.
After the design, the permit process and government approvals, Edwards said the pipe replacement should be completed by the spring of 2017.
Farewell to Retiring RTMers
The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight honored 10 members of the 36-member legislative body who either were not re-elected on Nov. 3, are moving on to other elected offices, or chose not to run again. Posing with their letters of appreciation were eight of the retirees: (l-r) Peter Knight, Rick Weber, Clarissa Moore, Arthur Ashman, Lois Schine, Paul Lebowitz,(Deputy Moderator Velma Heller, who was re-elected), Paul Rossi, and David Floyd. With them are RTM Moderator Eileen Flug, who was re-elected, and First Selectman Jim Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Lois Schine to RTM Members: Remain Nonpartisan
Among those bidding farewell to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight was Lois Schine, 88, an 18-year member from District 8 who was not re-elected on Nov. 3. She shares being the longest serving member along with Jack Klinge, District 7, who was re-elected. “I will miss you all,” she said after receiving a certificate of appreciation. Earlier, delivering the invocation, she made a fervent plea to RTM members to be true to the nonpartisan nature of the legislative body. She said: “If we’re to continue the small town character of Westport, which so many people claim they want, we must stick to the format which the town fathers gave us and legislate in a nonpartisan manner – not being influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interests or policies of any particular party.” Looking on is RTM Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, November 06, 2015
Thank You From Coalition for Westport
To the Editor:
The Coalition for Westport wishes to congratulate all the successful candidates in the Nov. 3 election. CFW is pleased that Paul Lebowitz secured a seat on the P&Z, and is confident that he will bring a diverse and intelligent voice adding balance and moderation to the Commission’s deliberations.
All of the candidates for all offices, both those who won and those who lost, are owed our gratitude. Being a public servant is no easy task and their willingness to devote their time to the future of Westport is to be applauded.
The Coalition looks forward to hearing of, and contributing to, the ideas and plans for charting Westport’s future.
Coalition For Westport
Thursday, November 05, 2015
P&Z Postpones Hearing Open Space Amendment
By James Lomuscio
Saying he hoped Westport’s new Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) will be “as strong, as nonpartisan and non-confrontational as this group,” Republican P&Z Chairman Chip Stephens tonight congratulated the Democratic “loyal opposition on their win” Tuesday.
P&Z Chair Chip Stephens (l) congratulates the Democratic “loyal opposition” on their victory in Tuesday’s election. Vice Chair Jack Whittle is at right. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Robin Fellows for WestportNow.com
Democrat Paul Lebowitz defeated incumbent Republican Al Gratrix. returning the Democrats to a 4 to 3 majority on the commission for the first time since 2011.
Leibowitz, who will be sworn in on Nov. 16, watched tonight’s proceedings from the back of the Town Hall auditorium.
“I do want to say this one thing,” said Stephens, chairman for the past two years, as he opened the meeting.