Conservation clarification

There has been much written in the papers about the Metro North train station project, and yet very little is written to explain how the station plans approved by the Conservation Commission were not being followed by the developer, Blackrock Realty.

A lot of time and energy had been spent by the Conservation Department to make sure that the plans were done right, and that the developer who was presenting them was following the proper course. I was a member of the commission when this project was introduced and I was chairman during the time the project was before the commission.

I tried to deal with the application with a fair mind. I wanted to make sure that it was handled properly and that the staff was thorough in dealing with this complicated application. There is no doubt in my mind that all the members of the commission felt likewise. In being thorough, the members of the commission were simply doing their duty. There was never a time when I, as chairman, or the other members were attempting to put up road blocks or slow the project.

On the other hand, I was extremely disappointed to see the Flatto administration take a step that gave special treatment to a single developer, Blackrock Realty, when it removed the Conservation Department from oversight of the project, something that had never been done for any other developer in the past. I was especially disappointed because there was no valid reason for this action which sullied the reputation of the hard working people in the Conservation Department who were just doing their duty under the charter.

It is regrettable that the first selectman has chosen to resort to name-calling when he tries to defend this action because such tactics reflect poorly on the town and the administration. I urge the townspeople to look at the facts and not be swayed to the posture of the administration.

Philip Meiman

Fairfield

At long last

The finish line is in sight and members of the business community and the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce couldn't be happier. The chamber, a long- time proponent of a third train station (going all the way back to Jackie Durrell, the originator of the idea), is very excited to see that the town is moving forward and taking the lead on this very important project.

Our government leaders have put politics aside, including Senators Christopher Dodd (D) and Joseph Lieberman (I); as well as Congressman Jim Himes (D); Gov. M. Jodi Rell, (R); and state Sen. John McKinney (R), just to name a few. All agree that the new station will help bring in needed revenue, create a green beltway, clean up a dirty, long vacated brownfield, and revitalize that part of town. Most importantly, it will provide additional commuter parking spaces, thus helping to alleviate some of the parking and traffic problems in downtown Fairfield.

Patricia L. Ritchie,

President and CEO,

Fairfield Chamber of Commerce

`Stick with Westport'

"People need the ability to work with people who are not like them. These are the kinds of people who are more successful in the business world." As quoted in a local media source, this, says Fairfield's curriculum leader for grades 7--12, is why Fairfield's middle schools will no longer group students according to ability in English.

This blasé attitude toward academic excellence is, no doubt, surprising from someone in charge of curriculum in our schools. However, I cannot decide what is more troubling about it: its assumption that academic studies are only valuable insofar as they prepare students for careers in business, or its assumption that intellectual distinction is irrelevant in the business world. It would fail to explain the business world's enduring interest in recruiting outstanding students from America's top colleges and graduate programs.

It has been quite a while since my middle-school days, but I suspect that the pressure to socialize there remains as intense as I remember it. I doubt, then, whether an academic subject as important as English needs to be set aside for that task, at least not until the CMT, SAT and AP exams begin to test for sociability in addition to aptitude in English.

House-hunters beware: for public schools committed to academic excellence, stick with Westport.

Griffin Reidy

Fairfield