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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Footnote: Westport News Avoids Mention

Footnote: Westport News Avoids Mention of Freedman Opposition to Bridge Bill
Todays Westport News has a small front-page story (that continues inside) on last weekҒs state Senate passage of a bill naming the Post Road Bridge in honor of Ruth Steinkraus Cohen.

But the newspaper curiously makes no mention that Westport Sen. Judith G. Freedman unsuccessfully attempted to block it (See WestportNow May 22, 2003).

It quotes the sponsor of the bill, state Rep. G. Kenneth Bernhard, a fellow Republican, as saying, The process which resulted in the overwhelming support of WestportӒs legislative body for legislation I submitted, was fair, open and thorough.

The only reference to opposition to the bill in the story is in a paragraph saying that Bernhard was confident that the governor would sign the legislation ԓdespite some opposition including local residents who don֒t like the United Nations, a cause Cohen fervently supported during her lifetime.

During Senate debate on her attempt to eliminate the Westport section of the overall transportation bill, Freedman said she had a problem with the “process that took place in the town of Westport” in naming the bridge, a process she called “just not fair.”

The Hour of Norwalk, the only daily newspaper which regularly covers Westport, has made no mention of Senate passage of the bill, including Freedman’s opposition.

Update: Westport Minuteman, Westport’s other local newspaper, in its May 29, 2003, edition—the first since passage of the bill on May 22—made no mention of the legislation.

But Fairfield County Weekly in its May 29 edition did cover the issue, mentioning Freedman’s failed attempt to block the naming. It also noted that Bernhard’s law firm, Cohen and Wolf, was founded by Steinkraus Cohen’s late husband.

Additionally, it criticized the Moderator of the Representative Town Meeting—the editor of this publication—for not permitting extensive debate about the United Nations at the April 1 RTM meeting that endorsed the naming proposal 26-5.

The Hour of Norwalk in its May 30, 2003 edition—eight days after the Senate action—carried a full story on the matter, including the Freedman opposition and updated quotes from all those involved.

A letter to the Westport News on June 6, 2003, refuted an accusation that the April 1 RTM debate did not permit discussion of Steinkraus Cohen’s work with the United Nations.



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