Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Lessons for Westport? How Darien Elected a Democratic Leader

Darien is one of the most Republican towns in the state and just voted in a Democratic first selectman. GOP supporters were at a loss to understand why, according to todays The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk.

The reportҒs findings while strictly focused on the race in Darien will no doubt interest Westport and similar-sized suburban communities in Connecticut and elsewhere.

Of course, Westport has elected several Democratic leaders—including its current one—despite Democrats being outnumbered by Republicans. And unlike Darien, unaffiliated voters in Westport outnumber both Republicans and Democrats.

Robert Harrel Jr., Darien’s 67-year-old first selectman, told the newspaper most of the mayors and first selectmen in the area called him to ask what happened. He said he did not know what to tell them.

The 212-vote victory by Evonne Klein, a 45-year-old mother of three, over Harrel marks the first time in 14 years that a Democrat has been elected to the town’s top post.

Of the 11,159 registered voters in Darien, 6,325 are Republicans, or 56.5 percent, compared to 1,699 Democrats, or 15.2 percent. The remaining 28 percent are unaffiliated.

Klein said her success despite the numerical disadvantage was due to a number of factors, including getting her campaign off to an early start, going door-to-door and targeting younger voters, the report said.

But the most important factor in her campaign’s success may have been that she de-emphasized her party affiliation and focused on quality-of-life issues that transcend traditional political boundaries.

“I don’t think there are any party ideologies in traffic safety . . . or revitalizing the downtown, or preserving open space,” Klein told the newspaper.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Thursday, November 6, 2003

1:45 p.m. – Kings Highway Elementary School – Curriculum Center – K-12 Language Arts Review Committee

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Martha Stewart ABC Interview: Sometimes I Have a Bad Temper

Westporter Martha Stewart says she sometimes has a bad temper. But in an ABC News interview airing Friday she insists she is innocent and should not be lumped with corporate fraud cases like Enron and WorldCom.
“What I did was not against the rules,” Stewart told ABC’s Barbara Walters in a “20/20” interview, excerpts of which were released by the network today.

Martha Stewart chats with Barbara Walters. ABCNews.com photo

Asked whether she ever thought she would be considered a corporate criminal, mentioned in the same breath as Enron and WorldCom, Stewart said: “Absolutely not, and I certainly don’t belong in that category.”
Stewart goes on trial Jan. 12 on charges she obstructed justice and lied to investigators about her sale of ImClone Systems stock on Dec. 27, 2001.
In the interview, Stewart said she “sometimes, but not always” has a bad temper and can occasionally be insensitive and driven. But she said she does not know why some of the public does not like her.
“Those traits and that behavior, if it were applied to a man, would be admirable. Applied to a woman, you know, she’s a ‘beetch,”’ Stewart said, according to the ABC transcript.
“The people you think hate me don’t know me,” she tells Walters, “I don’t know why people don’t like me. I’m not perfect.
“The perception that I am perfect I think got kind of mixed up with the idea that what we’re trying to teach is the best possible standard out there. So, if we’re going to make a cake, Barbara, my cake can’t be a flop. People won’t watch my show if I make a flop. I’m not a comedy show. I’m a how-to show.”
The excerpts were released as Manhattan federal prosecutors filed court papers urging the judge overseeing the case to preserve all five counts in the criminal indictment of Stewart returned in June.
Stewart had asked U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to dismiss an obstruction-of-justice charge and a securities fraud charge that accused Stewart of deceiving her shareholders when she spoke about the investigation last year.
The prosecutors said Stewart’s motion to dismiss the securities fraud count was “frivolous,” was without legal precedent and “flies in the face of common sense.”

Westporter Bursts into Tears at Rosie ODonnell Trial

A Westport cancer survivor burst into tears in a New York courtroom today when she testified that Rosie O’Donnell had suggested she was lying about goings-on at her now-defunct magazine and told her that liars get cancer.

Cindy Spengler, a Hillspoint Road resident who was head of marketing at the glossy monthly, said O’Donnell made the remark after a meeting to discuss the magazine’s problems, according to an AP report.

Spengler said O’Donnell called and told her that her silence in the meeting was tantamount to lying.

“You know what happens to people who lie,” the witness quoted O’Donnell as saying. “They get sick and they get cancer. If they keep lying, they get it again.”

Spengler testified in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court, where O’Donnell and “Rosie” publisher Gruner+Jahr USA are suing each other for breach of contract.

She told O’Donnell, “Your mother died of breast cancer. Was she lying?”

“Yes,” Spengler quoted the entertainer as replying.

O’Donnell said her mother had lied about a “childhood incident” involving the entertainer, according to the testimony.

O’Donnell’s publicist, Cindi Berger, said Spengler was talking about lies the actress’ mother told about O’Donnell being molested by a male relative as a child. She refused to give details, but said the incident is in “Find Me,” her autobiography.

Berger said O’Donnell later apologized for the remark to Spengler, who testified that she herself had survived breast cancer. Spengler is now a G+J marketing vice president.

Town Clerk Offers Recount in RTM District 4 Race

With only 13 votes separating a winning and losing candidate in the District 4 race for Representative Town Meeting, Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss said today she has scheduled a recount for Monday.

Freshman member George Franciscovich had 166 votes while newcomer Valerie Fischel had 179 votes.

Strauss said under Connecticut election laws, any winning margin of 20 votes or less requires a recount unless the losing candidate agrees to waive the process.

“I spoke to Mr. Franciscovich and he prefers to let the process play out,” she said, meaning he would not agree to forego the procedure.

So next Monday at 10 a.m. at the Greens Farms School, Strauss will gather with a recanvass team to inspect the machines used in the election as well as the absentee ballots.

She said the team would be comprised of herself, the two registrars of voters, the polling place moderator, two absentee ballot workers, and two checkers.

She said she last conducted such a recanvass in a Board of Finance race four years ago when two candidates were initially separated by three votes. A recount increased the winning margin of one candidate to five votes.

The RTM race was the only contest in Westport’s municipal election that had a winning margin of less than 20 votes.

Error Found in District 8 RTM Write-in Count But Does Not Affect Outcome

An error has been found in the vote total for a winning write-in candidate in the District 8 Representative Town Meeting (RTM) race, but it does not affect the contest outcome, Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss said today.

She said Jonathan Steinbergs machine total should have been listed as 114 votes instead of the previously reported 144 votes. He also had four absentee votes for a corrected total of 118 intead of 148. The next highest candidate had 67 write in votes.

Strauss said she would file an amended report with the Secretary of the StateҒs office.

Surprise: I-95 Traffic Accidents Up Sharply in Fairfield County

Traffic accidents were up sharply along Interstate 95 in lower Fairfield County last year, but the number of fatalities was down, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The statistics appear to bolster safety concerns local leaders have voiced about the $36 million median replacement project begun last spring, according to a report in todays The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk.

“It doesn’t surprise me one bit,” Darien First Selectman Bob Harrel told the newspaper. His town’s 3.7-mile stretch of the highway has become known as “Death Valley.” Darien had the highest percentage increase in I-95 traffic accidents in the state.

Accident data show 599 more traffic accidents occurred on I-95 between Stamford and Westport in 2002 than the previous year, a 30 percent increase, the report said.

By comparison, traffic accidents increased just 5 percent for the 22 other state communities bisected by the thruway.

Despite the sharp increase in accidents, fatal accidents dropped significantly during that same period, from six to one, according to the statistics, the report said.