Letters: More readers’ views on Nov. 3 election
Tymniak the best man for first selectman
Electing a first selectman to a four-year term is relatively new phenomenon for Fairfield voters. Before the 2007 election, the top spot term had been limited to two years. This November will be the third time we will vote to entrust that top seat to one individual for four years. And I will be voting for Chris Tymniak.
First and foremost, Mr. Tymniak has invested in Fairfield for the long term. Chris owns a house here in town — just like I do. He can't just let the lease expire on his one-bedroom apartment and move out of town in short order as the incumbent can. There is nothing wrong with renting in town, but I want a guy in the top spot who is here for the long run.
Secondly, I still remember the arguments favoring the change from a two-year to a four-year term for the town's top spot. The primary argument was that the top guy would have a better chance to get things done in four years instead of two. Tetreau has had his chance in four years and a little more, and it is time to let his contract expire.
Chris has shown by past performance that he has no problem leading from the front. Tetreau leads from behind. Watching town operations under Tetreau's tutelage has been like watching amoebae under the microscope move around and grow. Chris wants the chance to lead from the front, and I want to give him that chance.
Finally, for clarity, I am not the Jim Brown running for the Board of Finance. That board is outdated, redundant and, not to mention, rather boring. If Chris wins election, and I sure hope he does, I would challenge him to take a hard look at our town's governing charter — both organizationally and procedurally. Fairfield's town government organization and processes may have made sense in 1947; they make no sense to most anyone but political insiders today.
Good luck, Chris, and may you, the best man, win, and step up to do the job.
Republican plans to vote for Tetreau
As this election cycle comes to a close I find myself, more than ever, questioning, whether my party still represents me on the issues that face the town that I love so much. During the last two campaign cycles I have watched my party move from a party of consensus and principles to a party of division and lack of integrity.
For me the writing was on wall when my party allowed far right wing interests and money to flow into our gubernatorial primary. Thus, leading to the nomination of Tom Foley (having previously lost to Dannel Malloy) for governor over our John McKinney. John McKinney was tossed aside even though he had the best track record for fiscal policy and the ability to get it done by reaching across the aisle to his fellow state senators. When Republicans say to me look at what Gov. Malloy has done to our state, I proudly say you have no one to blame but our own Republican Party. Had we nominated John McKinney as our candidate there is no doubt in my mind the he would have won and things would now be vastly different. Instead we let national money and far right wing interest influence our local politics and we have paid the price.
I now find myself in the same position this year in our town elections, I watched my party throw aside Kevin Kiley at the behest of the far right-wing interest in our party. If you had seen the RTC debate between Mr. Kiley and Ms. McArdle, as I did, you would have walked away thinking that Mr. Kiley won hands down. Why you ask? Good question, because Ms. McArdle’s response to every question was we will have to see when we win. I had flash backs to Nancy Pelosi saying we need to pass it to find out what’s in it. We all know how that turned out. Kevin Kiley; has served this town since 1997, ended no-bid contracts, stabilized our pension funds, initiated and improved or senior tax program, stabilized our contingency accounts, exposed the mismanagement of the Mertro train station project and in 2012 won the RTC nomination for selectman by a 37-3 margin. What has changed? The far right has taken over the leadership of our party.
So, this year I will vote for James Walsh-R and James Brown-R for Board of Finance, as they have been guided by intellect, principles and conscience. I will vote for Anthony Calabrese-R and Trish Pytko-R, Phil Dwyer-D, Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly-D and Jessica Gerber-D for Board of Education as they best represent what is needed to guide our education system into the future.
I will not vote for the top of the Republican ticket as I believe they are not qualified to hold the office, are puppets of the far right, do not represent the values and principles of Fairfield and will do and say anything to get elected.
As a protest vote to my Republican Party I will check the write in box for selectman on my ballot and write in Kevin Kiley.
I will support Mike Tetreau for first selectman as I believe that he has guided this town in a manner that continues to allow Fairfield to meet the challenges of the future without divisive policies and in fiscally prudent manner.
GOP RTM members do effective job
I feel the Fairfield Republican Representative Town Meeting members who are running this year have done a very good job representing their constituents. I did want to highlight a few that I have worked with on issues that have been particularly helpful to constituents and the town this past year.
A relative newcomer, Bill Perugini has proven to be an effective representative. Whenever I'm contacted by someone from the beach area on a local issue, Bill responds quickly, researches the issue, works with residents and finds solutions. Bill has worked to establish consistency in permit parking throughout the beach area. Bill also worked with beach residents and Fairfield police to initiate traffic calming strategies including having signs posted to eliminate misdirected Jennings Beach traffic and to stop beach parking at Sherman School. Bill is an active member of the Fairfield Beach Residents Association and a very responsive representative for the beach area.
RTM member Ray Neuberger is passionate about public service and is active in our community. Ray volunteers for many causes, including a food drive to benefit Operation Hope and working with me to clean up and add new plants to the McKinley School adopt a spot for the Whitewood Knoll Open Space on Black Rock Turnpike. Ray Neuberger is fairly new to public service and brings energy, dedication and a fresh perspective to the Representative Town Meeting.
Pam Iacono, the RTM's moderator has done a very professional job of keeping the RTM on track and moving forward. I appreciate Rep. Iacono's, Rep. Michael Herley's and Rep. Joe Palmer's help in picking up an issue I have been working on for over a year that was languishing. Last July I met with the Police Department to develop a transient merchant ordinance after being contacted by residents.
Fairfield wanted a stronger ordinance to protect residents, especially seniors from strangers constantly knocking on their doors harassing them to buy items they didn't want or to switch from their local haulers or cable company. I had originally reached out to a handful of reps from various districts, including one of my own RTM members Liz Zezima. Unfortunately, none of them followed through and the issue was stalled for many months. Reps. Iacono, Herley and Palmer stepped up and worked on the language with Deputy Chief Lyddy, the town attorney and me and the ordinance is finally coming before the RTM this month for a vote.
These are just a few examples of how helpful a local RTM representative can be to improving the quality of life in our community. I hope you'll support these fine people and the rest of the Republican RTM members who are running to represent you.
132nd District, Fairfield
Tetreau leadership has made Fairfield better
Under Mike Tetreau’s leadership I have been impressed by ability to lead and thankful for his service.
He has played an integral role in reviving Fairfield and making it a top community to live.
Fairfield can’t afford inexperience, dishonesty and lack leadership in the first selectman’s office, all things in question with the Republican team. I urge you to look into their voting records on many issues they are standing behind, specifically Penfield Pavilion, as well as everything Chris Tymniak is saying about what Mike hasn’t done regarding GE. The Tymniak commentary is disingenuous at best.
The group running for BOE, including Patricia Donovan and Laura Bernaschina want to undo our education system and need to be stopped. I urge you to look into their agenda before casting your vote. Vote Dwyer, Kennelly, Gerber, Calabrese and Pytko.
You are either part of a solution or part of a problem; Tymniak/McArdle and the Republican RTM and BOE candidates are not part of any solution for Fairfield.
Keep Fairfield great.
Bipartisan slate best for school board
Regarding the upcoming vote for the Board of Education, we want to let people know about our thoughts on voting, due to the somewhat confusing nature of how the members of the Board of Education are chosen and possible repercussions of this election.
It is important to note that there are five open positions on the Board of Education and residents can vote for up to five candidates. However, the town charter dictates that when there are five seats open, it has to be a three/two split so in the end, three Democrats and two Republicans will be elected, or vice versa.
We believe that especially in the current fiscal environment, it is critical to spend our education dollars wisely. Neither side, Republican or Democrat, has all the answers. We need to have the best ideas from both sides of the aisle put forth and seriously considered by all members of the board.
What is happening now is some of our elected BOE members are acting disrespectfully toward one another and lobbing bombs, in the hope of total stagnation, like Congress today. Their agenda is to cut funding and wrest control away from the professional educators and administrators, who currently run Fairfield’s public schools with the board’s oversight, to run the school system themselves. A worse scenario cannot be imagined.
Therefore, it is vital that we elect member from both sides of the aisle who want to help strengthen Fairfield’s education system — not destroy it from within. If you agree that it is necessary for the members of the BOE to work together as adults to solve the difficult challenges of the day and to ensure the excellence of Fairfield schools, then it is crucial to elect the best people from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
We urge you to vote for the following candidates: Jessica Gerber(D), Anthony Calabrese (R), Philip Dwyer (D), Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly (D), and Trisha Pytko (R).
Chris and Cindy Leighton
Urges voters to back Kennelly for school board
I give my strongest support to Jen Kennelly for re-election to Fairfield’s Board of Education. Jen has truly been an extraordinary leader for our children while on the board.
Jen Kennelly is extremely bright, dedicated, wise and experienced with an exceptional common sense and balance so often absent from those in political office. Jen has a truly exceptional background which would make her ideal to continue to her provide unique value to our school board. Jen currently teaches English literature at Greenwich High School, providing her with the personal know how to prepare students to successfully compete from one of the most advanced public high schools in Connecticut. We need Jen Kennelly’s real life experience for our children in Fairfield.
As a young professional administrator, Jen turned around a parochial school in New York’s “Hell’s Kitchen” achieving significantly raised academic performance, increasing enrollment, reversing fiscal deficits creating financial stability, and as coach of the basketball team, turning around a failed program into state champs.
Jen and her husband have three children attending Fairfield public schools and are dedicated to our community with many years serving with PTA activities, a member of the Board of Education Cultural Diversity Task Force and achieving a gold medal performance as coach of the Stratfield Elementary School’s fifth-grade International Odyssey of the Mind Competition.
Jen believes in excellence for our children and she has demonstrated that she brings out the excellence in our children. Please vote for Jen Kennelly for Board of Education on Election Day.
Former state representative
Hypocrite Tymniak voted no on Penfield funding
Mr. Tymniak criticizes Mike Tetreau for not rebuilding Penfield fast enough and yet as an RTM member he voted no to rebuild now.
This is the epitome of hypocrisy. I can only imagine the amount of scrutiny our First Selectman Mike Tetreau would have been under had he rebuilt Penfield without the insurance and FEMA money in place thereby burdening the citizens of our town and increasing taxes.
But that's not what Mike did. Mike was responsible and allowed the process to unfold and encouraged community involvement and consensus — the true sign of a leader. These things take time and it is clear Mr. Tymniak has no sense of how FEMA works.
When Penfield is rebuilt it will be done right and without impacting our taxes. Tymniak owes the voters an explanation as to why he voted no to fund the rebuilding of Penfield.
Return Maxon-Kennelly to school board
I am writing to strongly support the re-election of Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly to the Fairfield Board of Education.
I have had the pleasure of working with Jen for the last eight years. From the very first days Jen spent as an English teacher at Greenwich High School, she has demonstrated her passion and dedication to our profession. She is deeply committed to improving education for all students. Jen has been instrumental in her work on the department committee to align our curriculum with the common core standards. Her thoughtful and collaborative approach made her an asset to the group and ensured the successful completion of a daunting project.
Further, Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly has the unique perspective as a parent of school-aged children, an educator and an experienced school and community leader. She has drawn on that perspective in her role as chairperson of the Board of Education’s Policy Committee and has created an open and collaborative forum in which to address the complex needs of the Fairfield public schools. Under Jen’s leadership, the Policy Committee has been able to work together professionally and constructively to support the needs of the educational community. It is not surprising that Jen is strongly endorsed by the Fairfield Education Association and a large number of parent volunteer leaders from schools throughout the district. Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly is a dedicated advocate for quality education. She has a proven track record of constructive collaboration and a mission of quality education for all students. Jen is a clear choice as a member of the Fairfield Board of Education.
I hope you will join me in supporting Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly on Nov. 3.
Mary Beth Smith
Reject Tymniak’s ‘failed methodology’
This is the most important municipal election in recent memory, not because we are struggling but because under Mike Tetreau’s leadership we are thriving. Chris Tymniak is a threat to all that Mike has achieved.
Chris lacks the experience required to serve as our CEO. For almost two years he held the job of chief administrator in Ansonia, which in that time has become the second most distressed town in Connecticut. He wants to bring that same failed methodology to Fairfield.
Chris demonstrates no understanding of long-term fiscal stewardship or capacity for effective leadership. As a member of the RTM, he failed to show up for the 2014/15 budget vote.
Chris seems unaware of the responsibilities of first selectman, claiming he can influence state matters and the commercial decisions of local businesses. More troubling is the suggestion he can fast track processes mandated by our Town Charter. This is either dangerously naive or a sign he does not believe in a system of checks and balances.
Chris has expressed disdain for community involvement in recent projects, which leaves me to conclude he will rule without regard to Fairfield’s residents.
As a member of the RTM, I have been repeatedly censored and ultimately blocked by Chris on his Facebook page, demonstrating his intolerance for dissenting opinion and an unwillingness to have a transparent administration with thoughtful bipartisan dialogue.
The choice could not be any clearer. We need to re-elect success and support Mike Tetreau and Sheila Marmion on Nov. 3.
RTM, District 6
Aysseh backed for RTM
On Nov. 3, residents of District 9 have the opportunity to elect a candidate who will help shape the future of Fairfield. This candidate will have to tackle issues such as skyrocketing taxes and town spending which the current administration has had years to reform but has no plans of fixing.
That’s why, on Nov. 3, I plan to support Nick Aysseh and Team Tymniak. Nick is an admired local business leader who has a proven record of success after owning several small businesses. He values and understands the importance of a great education with a son who will enter the public school system in the coming years. But perhaps his greatest attribute is knowing fiscal responsibility is the foundation of a successful future. With Nick’s support in our district we can be assured we will have someone with a plan to reform our spending and keep Fairfield a great community where both residents and businesses can thrive.
Penfield saga, without political rhetoric
In a recent letter to the editor, Fairfield resident John Mitola accused Fairfield first selectman candidate Chris Tymniak of producing a "piece of campaign literature" regarding Penfield Pavilion that was "misleading, sad, and laughable.” Unfortunately, much like campaign rhetoric in politics, Mr. Mitola's allegations were grossly misleading and inaccurate.
Let me set the stage by offering full disclosure: I am a member of the Penfield Building Committee (PBC), and my comments in this letter are my own, not to be deemed representative of the full PBC. One of my stated goals of serving on the PBC is to make sure no one pulls the wool over the eyes of Fairfield residents on this project as politicians have done in the past.
Mr. Mitola alleges that Mr. Tymniak voted "against funding for Penfield Pavilion" at the RTM meeting, and that "if Mr Tymniak had his way, Penfield would be closed for many more years.” That statement and allegation is about as far from accurate as anyone could imagine. Here is the Real Truth: In preparation for the PBC presentation to the RTM, the PBC was instructed by the current administration to "present only one option.” Despite the fact that the PBC had several options that were viable, we were told: “the RTM vote will be an up or down vote.” which means the RTM could either vote for the one option proposed, or against it. If the vote was against, the PBC would need to go back to the drawing board and come up with another option. I for one, voiced my opinion that this would not be how the "real world" would approach a situation like this, and that we should present several of our options in full, to the RTM so they could see the comparisons and hear our views on why one may have been more desirable than another. Again, we (PBC) were told this is not how we should present to the RTM.
So, those members of the RTM who voted against the one option presented, were not saying they didn't want a pavilion at Penfield Beach, they were simply saying they didn't want the one that was presented by the PBC.
There have been many misleading statements and published articles about the Penfield Pavilion. If we stick to the facts, everyone would realize that the pavilion was only open for one year as a "year-round banquet facility.” This is in sharp contrast to those who allege "it has been there for 100 years.” Yes, the former building was there a long time ... but not as a year-round banquet facility. Other than that one year after the new pavilion was built, it was used only in the summer, and the rentals were smaller venues that usually had very little impact on the surrounding neighborhood. It is in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and parties for the full year of year-round operation were allowed to go on until 12 a.m., seven days a week, according to published documents from the town. So I would like to ask you: How would you feel if you lived in a nice residential neighborhood, and all of a sudden you were in the middle of a banquet hall business ?
Rental of the banquet hall is by a "lottery system.” which means there are no guarantees that any resident will be able to book it for their event. And another fact: approximately 20-25 percent of rentals have been to non-residents of Fairfield.
Other misleading statements refer to the "revenue stream" of the pavilion, where it has been shown that certain operating expenses have not been properly accounted for, and in the case of the option as presented to the RTM, alternative options had been made to look less attractive from a cost and operations perspective.
Receiving a grant from the state of Connecticut, or from FEMA, is not "free money.” Where do you think this money comes from? Our current taxes, our future taxes, and the taxes our children will have to pay.
The last fact I would like to share in this letter is this: On three separate occasions, the town of Fairfield has asked for input from citizens and taxpayers of our fine town, on what they think we should do about Penfield Pavilion. The first occasion was a well publicized town-wide meeting that was held at Ludlowe High School. Several hundred residents attended, listened to a presentation by the First Selectman and Architectural consultants. During the public comment session, the overwhelming majority of residents were in favor of a smaller, less-expensive Penfield Pavilion. It was recorded on FairTV. The second occasion was a well publicized request from the first selectman's office to residents of Fairfield to email our suggestions and opinions on the Penfield Pavilion project. I have copies of all the emails that were submitted to the first selectman's office. The responses were a margin of 3 to 1 in favor of a smaller and less-expensive pavilion. The third occasion was a publicized meeting of the PBC (all our meetings are open to the public, but this one in particular was publicized). The majority of people who spoke at the meeting were in favor of a smaller, less-expensive pavilion.
I take no position on who I am, or not, supporting for the upcoming election for first selectman, I only want to make sure the facts about the Penfield Pavilion project are made known to the public, and not influenced by political rhetoric.